Environment Recycling & Waste New Online Store Guarantees Plastic-Free, Low-Emission Shipping By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Updated April 29, 2019 ©. Zwoice – Europe's first pollution- and plastic-free online shopping portal Share Twitter Pinterest Email Recycling & Waste Plastics Zero Waste Zwoice is an encouraging example of how shopping can be made green. Online shopping has given people access to more eco-friendly products than they've ever had before, but often the ways in which those products ship are less than sustainable. A new online marketplace called Zwoice hopes to change that. It is Europe's first plastic- and pollution-free online shopping portal, connecting conscientious shoppers with equally eco-minded producers. Just launched in March, Zwoice, whose name is a combination of 'zero waste + choice', was created by a French-Slovak couple living in Luxembourg. Philippe and Nika follow a zero-waste lifestyle themselves, but wanted to make it more widely available to others. They created the portal so that any producer or manufacturer can join, as long as they meet three basic criteria: 1) They sell a product made from natural and organic materials.2) It is manufactured in a sustainable way.3) They are willing to wrap, pack, seal, and ship it in a plastic-free way. Packaging must be "certified, zero waste, recycled, upcycled or post-consumer shipping boxes, containers and packing materials, all of them of just the right size and fully compostable and plastic free... Fragile orders ought to be carefully protected with paper or organic packing materials, such as hay, fabric scraps or dry popped popcorn." Boxes must be sealed with cotton string or paper tape with plant-based glue. Vendors can join for free, customize their shop, and ship directly to the customer. After a sale, Zwoice takes an industry-competitive commission in order to support operating costs. © Zwoice – Philippe and Nike, founders of Zwoice, with their son What sets Zwoice apart from other retailers is its refreshing emphasis on slow transportation. It urges buyers to remember that "good things take time," and to fight the "I need it right now" mentality. Express delivery is particularly frowned upon, as its environmental impact is 28 times higher than standard delivery. With the average commercial package travelling 10,340 kilometres and emitting 151 grams of CO2 per kilogram of weight, Zwoice (which is itself powered by 100 percent renewable energy) strives to "mitigate the negative impact of transportation by working with low emission transport companies, being transparent about the locations the products were made in and shipped from, and above all by strongly encouraging our customers to purchase in bulk and locally." A similar mentality applies to returns. Buyers are urged to be picky about purchases and regift items they cannot use, as an estimated 84 percent of returned goods end up in landfill or an incinerator, unable to be resold. Considering that it is a new site, Zwoice has a great lineup of items for men, women, kids, home, and beauty products so far. It's inspiring and hopeful to see online retail being shaped in this way, a sign of more good things to come.