From Manchester United footballer to zero-waste shopkeeper

Lucy Purdy

Richard Eckersley, along with his wife Nicola, runs the UK’s first dedicated zero-waste shop. Before launching Earth.Food.Love he played football for Manchester United. What prompted the career switch?

“I grew up in the world of football, where making more and more money was the priority,” says Richard. “But I started steering away from that mindset; reading certain books and watching documentaries that opened my eyes to the problem of us taking from the Earth but not giving back.

“In the football world, people are quite bothered about what car they have and what clothes they wear, and I couldn’t care less. Trying to turn people on to environmentalism was a no-go. ‘Get out of this changing room!’ It was a wake-up call: I knew I was ready to leave. But everyone has been really supportive of me since; no one’s said a bad word about my new career.

It was a big shift, but I’m really happy

“If you had told me I would quit football when I was 27 and become a shopkeeper, I’d have said: ‘What are you talking about?! I’m going to be driving around Alderley Edge in a Ferrari!’ But I’m happy I’m not. It was a big shift, but I’m really happy. I’ve gone down a different path that’s much more nourishing for my soul.”

Read more: Zero heroes: the couple behind the UK’s first zero-waste shop


PEOPLE v PLASTIC SPECIAL

This article is part of a special focus on zero-waste pioneers, which also features in Positive News magazine. Subscribe now to get the magazine delivered to your door each quarter.

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