Plastic-free shopping: some of the UK’s best zero waste stores.
Zero waste shopping isn’t just for bulk-buying, lentil loving hippies. Aside from the growing problem with single use plastic and packaging, did you know a fifth of your shopping bill goes on packaging?
The UK has an ever growing number of independent zero waste shops – is there one near you?
Zero waste shops have become a real force for showing how conscious consumerism can change the way we buy and eat our food.
As well as cutting down on pointless plastics and single use packaging, zero waste shopping can help combat food waste as you only buy what you need and help you eat healthier ingredients. We’re talking organic veggies, nut butter ground in store, Fairtrade tea and coffee and most of the below stores also sell plastic free cleaning products, homewares (hello bamboo toothbrushes and steel lunchboxes).
They also tend to be independently owned and often stock local suppliers, so you’re putting more money back into your local economy and they’re becoming community centres for like minded people.
We know, they’re not everywhere, and not everyone can access them yet – but there are lots more opening and we’ve got some of this summer’s openings on our favourites lists. Read on to find your local zero waste shop.
Viva Organic, Cardiff
Viva Organic is a new zero waste shop in Cardiff that does a great line in plastic free cutlery, hard bar shampoos and essentials for your zero waste kit alongside the fruit, veg and dried goods.
Happy Planet Green Store, Pembrokeshire
Pembrokeshire has joined the zero waste shopping revolution with the recent opening of Happy Planet Green Store in Narbeth. This cute shop stocks dried goods you can scoop and weigh out, bring your own containers or use the recycled paper bags available. There are also organic and natural toiletries, cleaning supply refills and eco-friendly garden tools.
New Leaf Co-op, Edinburgh
New Leaf Co-op has been suggested by lots of pebble readers. For those that don’t know it, this hidden away gem in Argyle Place, Edinburgh sells loose dry goods that you weigh out into your own containers and plenty of gluten free, vegan and dairy free options, including some amazing plant mylks. The store acts as real community hub, with the staff getting involved in other waste less, recycling and upcycling programmes.
Scotland’s Locavore has a lot of lovers out there. Locavore is all about building a more resilient, sustainable food system – which includes a zero waste shop, veg box scheme, farm and a lot more. The social enterprise shop (which funnels profits into the other sections of its sustainable food system) sells not just organic dry goods but eco-friendly household cleaners, local honey, cheese and milk and a daily changing selection of locally made bread.
London & surrounds
Unpackaged at Planet Organic, London
The UK’s largest fully certified organic supermarket, Planet Organic are getting in on the zero waste act. Four of its stores now offer the Unpackaged zero waste way of buying legumes, grains, dry goods and so on with your own containers. Find them in Muswell Hill, Westbourne Grove, Islington and Torrington Place.
South London is no longer left out of the zero waste revolution. Hetu opened in 2017 with a mission to champion a zero waste lifestyle and conscious consumerism. It sells food that is as close to its original form as possible, mostly unprocessed and unrefined plant based ingredients. Other products have some form of social responsibility and the store reckons it can help you get to zero waste in two weeks.
Get Loose, London
Part of Hackney City Farm and a social enterprise, Get Loose opened this summer and sells organic pasta, fruit, nuts pulses, grains, mylks in glass bottles, cheese in compostable wrapping and lots more.
The Refill Larder, Teddington
Just outside London you’ll find The Refill Larder in Teddington. There are your usual dry goods but also a really lovely selection of plastic free bathroom items, with brands like Soap Daze and plenty of household plastic free swaps. Say hello to brown paper sandwich bags, copper pan scrubbers and vegan friendly food wraps. (They also sell online).
Coolest part of London, Tooting, just got cooler with the opening of BYO, a zero waste store within Tooting Market. Pop by for info on how to have a low impact lifestyle, chat all things zero waste and of course pick up your plastic free ingredients, toiletries and more.
The Source, London
The Source Bulk Foods have two stores in London, one in Battersea and one in Chiswick. They are owned by Patrick and Makayla, Australians who have made London home. The stores have over 500 different products ranging from staple pantry items, like nuts, grains, pastas as well as honey, oils, household cleaning products and a large range of amazing snacks. Also check out their website with zero waste tips, recipes, product benefits and blogs.
Naked Larder, London
Herne Hill’s own take on the zero waste shop is Naked Larder, which runs more like a click and collect service. Put your plastic free shopping order in online and then take your own containers to go and pick up your order.
Midlands & East of England
Everyday plastic free staples are what’s on offer at NADA in Leicester which opened this summer. Pop down for beeswax wraps, plastic free loo roll plus all the food stuffs you’d expect.
Nature’s Intentions, Bromsgrove
Find vegan-friendly, zero waste Nature’s Intentions in Bromsgrove in the Midlands. There’s a huge selection of food (like raw chocolate, vinegars, herbs, pulses) and non-food items including sustainable nappies, oils, soaps and so on. Don’t worry if you forget your jars and bags, the store keep a supply of secondhand glass jars for emergencies.
North of England
Waste Not, Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire
Waste Not is a minimal waste shop at the The Grange, Burley in Wharfedale. Helping you to reduce plastic consumption, the minimal waste shop is for dry goods, refills of cleaning products and homewares and hopes to get the local Yorkshire area moving to plastic free shopping.
Plentiful, Ramsbottom, Bury
Greater Manchester’s first zero waste shop has opened recently to much coverage including an unveiling by Mayor Andy Burnham. With 100 food stuffs (80% of them organic), and everything from plastic free loo roll to plastic free skincare to order, Plentiful should be a new favourite in no time.
The Paddock, Northumberland
This family run farm and veg box scheme is also a zero waste shop and has been selling plastic free toiletries, cleaning products and essentials for the last six years. Any food packaging is recycled, fruit and veg is loose and the team are super friendly to boot.
The above article by Georgina Wilson-Powell first published on pebblemag.com in 2018.