Hi … I’m Max!

My name is Maxine Gaden (but I prefer Max). I lived in Caterham as a young child and moved to Reigate in my early teens where I grew up. I have always had a passion for animals and nature and am a Registered Veterinary Nurse. I live locally with my partner Kerryn and our 2 amazing daughters. We also have 2 cats who are very much part of our family.

My hobbies include; yoga, baking, arts/crafts and gardening (which includes tending to my vegetable patch) – As well as dining out, socialising and spending as much time as I can with my family.


I have always loved animals, wildlife and nature but this passion has grown far stronger since I became a mother. I began to think a lot more about the future, about my own and my family’s impact on the planet and the ongoing impact that we pose on it. The more I took notice and the more I learned, then the more I realized that we all need to do more to protect the future of our planet and the world that my children and my children’s children will have to live in.


In 2020 my partner and I made a New year’s resolution that we were going to really try hard to;

Minimize our food waste • Minimize our plastic waste • Start using reusable nappies • Try to buy things that were sustainable and plastic-free • Try not to buy things we don’t really need.

These really did work! We had made a massive reduction in our plastic and food waste and waste overall. But there was still too much in our eyes. Though still considerably less than the average household, we continued to look for ways to reduce our food waste and general waste wherever possible.


At the end of January 2020, one of my friends introduced me to a Zero Waste Shop. This was a concept I had not heard of but I knew straight away it was what I needed to satisfy myself I was doing enough. I fell in love with the Zero Waste Shop straight away – for such a small effort I could buy all of the same groceries that are only sold in plastic in the supermarket – but completely free of packaging and, above all, single-use plastic. This became my favourite excursion of the week – sometimes twice per week. The only single issue was that it was over 20 minutes drive away and my partner pointed out that this was counter-productive.


Straight away I thought that there are so many people locally who probably want to be kinder to the planet but who just don’t have the choice locally to make change their buying habits. After keeping myself a wake thinking about it for a week or so, I decided to tell my partner that I wanted to start my own Zero Waste Shop. I wasn’t sure how he’d react – he was quite shocked but very supportive and has been ever since. He also cares a great deal about the planet and doing whatever he can to help.


8 months later (hindered considerably by COVID19) we opened our shop doors to the public on 2nd October 2020. We cannot thank our friends, families, and colleagues enough for all of their help – without which this dream would not have become a reality.


Who knows? My passion for animals will always remain and I hope one day to return part-time to Veterinary Nursing, however, right now the Climate Crisis remains critical and I feel I now have a duty to try to help and encourage the masses to take their own steps to try and be more sustainable and reduce their own impact on our precious planet. Another New Leaf Zero Waste Shop would be amazing – hoping that New Leaf Reigate continues to appeal to locals as it has so far.

Thanks so much