Lifestyle This former Manchester United footballer swapped his fast-paced city life to set up a quaint packaging-free supermarket by the sea

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Former Manchester United footballer Richard Eckersley and wife Nicola are now focusing their efforts on saving the planet.

Earth food love play

Earth food love

(Instagram/earthfoodlove)
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Former footballer Richard Eckersley has had somewhat of a career change.

Born in Salford, Greater Manchester, he began his career as a fullback at Manchester United in 2004, before joining Burnley in 2009 under a four-year contract, and eventually going on to Toronto FC.

Now, he has turned his hand to saving the planet.

Richard, along with wife Nicola and 15-month-old daughter Willow, have set up a quaint packaging-free supermarket, called the Earth.Food.Love, in Totnes, Devon.

"We have a 15-month-old daughter, Willow, and I have woken up and become vegan. I became more conscious about how much we consume and how we can tread more lightly on the planet," he said in a quote carried by The Times.

The couple said goodbye to their hectic urban lifestyle.

"Not so long ago, living a fast-paced city life in an apartment block that had no recycling facilities we soon began to notice the accumulation of recycling we (as a family of 2) created each week," Nicola wrote on Earth.Food.Love's website. "It was during these trips to and from the recycling plant that we thought 'there must be another way?'"

But the inspiration for Earth.Food.Love actually came about during a trip to Berlin, where they visited Unperfekthaus, a German "zero waste" store, the couple said.

The concept is simple, customers bring their own pots and jars to purchase the shop's organic-only produce.

They sell everything from sugar and spices...

...to raw and vegan chocolate.

"Nothing comes through the door here unless it’s unpackaged and organic. We sell everything that’s dried, so you’ve got grains, beans, pulses, legumes, rice, seeds, flours, sugars, seaweed and spaghetti, yeast flakes and stock," Richard told The Times.

They also sell all sorts of "liquid foods," including vinegars and syrups.

As well as food, the shop stocks an array of organic and packaging-free toiletry products, including bamboo toothbrushes, and wooden dish brushes.

Handmade toothpaste in spearmint or fennel flavours, dispensed from large masons jars with pump lids, is also available.

These get returned and refilled personally by the maker, GreenWyse cosmetics. Customers can either bring their own containers or opt to buy one of the small pots they sell.

Earth.Food.Love often posts advice and recipes for homemade and organic alternatives to packaged goods, via its Instagram account.

Below is Nicola's recipe for "coffee body scrub."

They also advocate the use of organic and reusable baby goods, including nappies.

DAY 25 of #plasticfreejuly and it's cloth nappies! This tip isn't going to apply to everyone but if you're going to have a baby, or know someone who is, then now is the time to get clued up on cloth vs disposable. If you've already had a baby then you know just how many nappy changes you do in one day Imagine after each change, that nappy goes in the BIN (and some people even put a dirty nappy in a smaller plastic bag, which then goes inside the large bin bag!) Environmental damage to the side, the cost should be enough to scare anyone off! We've been tricked my advertising companies to believe we NEED certain products, especially disposable products because that's where the money is! They need you to keep buying more. The cost of cloth can seem higher as it's an up front cost but over time you save so much money and better still, you can sell them on again afterwards. I LOVE my cloth nappies and hanging them out in the sun is such a pleasure Pictured is Richard hanging out Willows nappies and then some infographics I pulled off the internet. There are lots of nappy libraries/advisors out there and some councils do a trial scheme... I know South Devon council do. Is there any cloth nappy support near you? Have you been converted to cloth? #zerowaste #ditchdisposable #plasticsucks #plasticfree

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Richard and Nicola have even taken their campaign to the beaches, cleaning up on Boxing Day.