Local Teen Entrepreneur Making War on Waste

Gets grant funding for eco business run from Ravenscourt Park

Lysander Bickham
Lysander Bickham

A young entrepreneur isn’t letting the pandemic deter him from his mission to fight the war on waste.

Seventeen-year-old Lysander Bickham is busy studying in his final year of A levels. He hopes to study international relations at university.

And when he’s not preparing for the end of year tests, he is packing green products for his home subscription eco business Loving Earth’s Oceans (Leo’s Box).

The enterprising teen packs the recyclable boxes full of eco products such as toiletries and cleaning products at home in Ravenscourt Park.

He even cycles to deliver local orders and a courier handles orders further afield.

The Latymer Upper School pupil said: “You have to keep going really at the moment and that’s all you can do.”

He added that even in a pandemic where people are using more packaging they can make a difference.

“If we stop using plastic packaging with our one food order a week, that’s thousands of people stopping doing that and it shows companies and governments that we are not going to stand for it. You can see the bigger picture is huge.”

He won a £2,500 bursary to develop his business after a competitive pitch and is using his spare time to develop the boxes.

He said: “It’s amazing what you can do when you are driven by passion.”

He started the business after looking into the impacts of pollution and toxicity and plastic waste on the environment.

“Over consumption of plastic is having a devastating effect on our oceans and fragile ecosystems. I wanted to be part of the solution and set up Leo’s Box to bring use of plastics to a more sustainable level.

“We’re seeing a growing desire and take-up of eco-products, but to bring about real change, we need to make it easy and economical for consumers to make swaps. That’s what Leo’s Box sets out to do.”

He is keen to research products that have less environmental impact.

“I thought ‘why don’t I find the products that I love and sell them in a box format’.

“I am lucky to be able to support local communities and businesses.”

The company works with charity One Tree Planted to plant trees and also works with green group, Plastic Oceans.

Lysander believes his is one of the youngest companies to get the B Corp accreditation as a company meeting social and environmental standards.

He worked in local shops for three years before he set up his business and was a finalist as the greenest young person in Hammersmith as well as for the Hammersmith and Fulham civic awards in 2018.

The following year Hammersmith and Fulham council declared a climate emergency.

Before the pandemic he knocked on doors in his community to spread the word about his business and the products he sells.

“I learnt a lot. I know I have a connection to all of my products,” he said.

He was awarded the grant from insurer Zurich UK, following a competitive pitch and as part of the firm’s Youth Aasint Carbon initiative.

He said “Zurich’s funding and mentoring will help me take the business to the next level, drive greater uptake of eco-products and ultimately help save the planet. We have many exciting plans for 2021, including partnering with influencers to engage consumers through fun and informative content such as product testing and reviews.

“I also intend to use part of the funding to increase our support of Plastic Oceans and plant more trees – adding to the £300 we’ve donated and 500 trees we’ve planted since launch.”

Julia Gregory - Local Democracy Reporter

January 27, 2021