Ella Shone’s ‘Topup Truck’ started out 20 years ago delivering morning milk to bleary-eyed Londoners. Now, the vehicle’s got a new lease on life as an electric-powered zero-waste goods delivery truck.
After being furloughed from her sales job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Shone used savings to start her new business, delivering packaging-free food and home care products around London in a former ‘milk float’ — a small truck that was once a ubiquitous sight on British streets.
The idea behind Shone’s venture is to make it easier for people to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. The process is simple: consumers place an order for their desired products online and Shone brings it to them in her milk float. “The fact that I’m driving around in a milk float does a lot for raising awareness in the local area,” said Shone. “So now I’m operating at almost full capacity.”
Once customers have booked a visit from the ‘Topup Truck’, they then purchase goods such as lentils, pasta, olive oil, shampoo, or washing liquid using their own refillable containers, leaving no plastic waste behind.
Since she started her zero-waste business, Shone calculates that her service has saved more than 12,700 pieces of plastic from becoming waste. The entrepreneur now plans to retrofit her milk float to enable her to expand her zero-waste delivery to more communities, and inspire others to find creative ways to cut waste. “If we want to have real change, it has to be a collective effort,” she said.