Zero waste and Eco stores
A more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle
Sometimes when we ask ourselves how we can make a difference to the environment it can all seem a bit overwhelming! Trying to move towards a zero waste way of life is something that we can all strive towards, but is definitely a challenge. Saying no to plastic is a great way to start, and making sure you have your reusable flasks, cups and tote bags when you go out to the shops is one box ticked (for more tips on reducing your plastic use check out our previous blogs here and here)!
Supermarkets often use far too much packaging, and we all need to eat! This is one of the reasons that it is so encouraging that zero waste stores are popping up all over the country, as well as stores that are environmentally friendly and allow you to be zero waste. Below are six stores that we recommend from around the country – as more open we are hoping to make this a recurring feature, so please comment below if there is a shop that you think needs more people to know about it!
So, what is a zero waste store?
The goal of a zero waste store is that no rubbish is sent to either landfills or to be burnt. They encourage people to reuse their own containers, and sometimes have reusable containers available that you can take away and then refill when you return. In real terms this means that they usually sell loose vegetables, dry products (like pasta, beans, lentils and nuts) in bins or buckets which you can then scoop up into your container, and even vats with drinks or washing detergent in. The options are endless, as there is nothing that can be packed in plastic that can’t also be packed in reusable materials! You only buy what you need as well, so less food is wasted (anyone who’s ever shopped for one in a supermarket knows how difficult this can be)!
And what is an Eco store?
There are a number of shops that sell the above goods in a way that is zero waste, but that also sell goods that do use packaging. We wanted to give a good geographic spread of stores that allow you to make your own decision to reduce waste, so we’ve included some of these as well! By using these stores, we will allow them to broaden the range of goods that they offer that are zero waste. It’s a virtuous cycle that shows that individuals can make a difference to the world!
Location: 1.Space, 2b Triumph Road, Nottingham, NG7 2GA
Dash Vegan in Nottingham are a not-for-profit store run by Sam (who we love!), assisted by some part-time staff, helpers and volunteers. They support 24 small independent businesses by stocking their products (including ours!) as well as selling zero waste and gluten-free products, eco homewares, and, as the name would suggest, vegan foods!
Starting as a vegan and gluten-free food delivery service, they opened their loose food and eco store in Nottingham in April and are going strong! In addition to the shop they also have an online store, and trade at various events and festivals where Sam also does vegan and zero waste activism and mentoring. All of their profits are set to go to The Karass Sanctuary, an independent rescue for ex-farmed animals in Scotland.
The Green Grocers
Location: 2-4 Earlham House Shops, Earlham Road, Norwich, NR2 3PD
The Green Grocers in Norwich is a café, bakery, and shop. They have forty hoppers filled with organic cereals, seeds, rice, nuts and pulses. In addition they provide refills on soap and detergent. The café serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week, and they stay open late on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, offering homemade pizza and craft beers. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and they pride themselves on sourcing ingredients locally.
Location: 2b Chingford Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PJ
Over in the East End of London, Veg Hut market themselves as an ‘organic boutique’. The layout is like an old fashioned green grocer, with loads of fresh, organic produce. They also do refills and loose goods, so you can bring your own container and get what you need. Their range of vegan and vegetarian products is also excellent, and you can check out a lot of their products on their website (they also do delivery)!
The New Leaf Co-op
Location: 23 Argyle Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1JJ
Co-ops that are environmentally aware are popping up all over the country, as communities get together to do their bit for the world (as well as having stores that provide excellent produce that you can’t always find elsewhere). The New Leaf Co-op in Edinburgh has been getting rave reviews, and even if you aren’t a local we recommend you follow their Facebook page as it is full of ideas for reducing waste and links to local and national campaigns.
Location: 2 Mill Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon, EX11 1AD
A zero waste store down in Devon, Fillfull have gone fully plastic free! Started by husband and wife team Dan and Alice, Fillfull aim to provide all the every-day essentials, with minimal environmental impact. They also have a focus on gluten and dairy free products, and a real community focus.
Health & Food
Location: 8 Denbigh Street, Llanrwst, Conwy Valley, North Wales, LL26 0LL
With a focus on locally produced goods from the Conwy Valley and North Wales, as well as stocking wholefoods, herbs and spices, and natural beauty products, Health & Food have made themselves a hub for local artisanal products. They also have a great website with a blog full of recipes and information on their products.
Let's show our support
All of the above stores are worth a follow on social media, whether they are local to you or not. Whilst they are all focused on their local communities, we can all take on board some of the excellent advice and ideas that they have for reducing your environmental footprint.
Going zero waste is a challenge, and reducing your impact on the environment can take time. Remember not to be too hard on yourself if you forget to say no to plastic… Over time it will become a habit and we can all make a difference! Remember if you have any more recommendations that you think more people need to know about – comment below!