The rise of the Zero Waste Shop
Walk down most UK high streets these days and chances are you'll happen across a zero waste shop. Exactly numbers aren't known but it's estimated that there are currently over 200 of these eco friendly stores scattered in cities, towns and even villages.
As consumers become more conscious of plastic packaging and food waste from shopping in supermarkets, these brilliant, independent Zero Waste Shops are revolutionising the way we shop.
Zero Waste Shops aren't a new concept as such, growing up I remember having a "weigh 'n' save" shop where produce was sold by weight, from large containers, where you bought only the amount you needed. Of course back then in the, *cough* 90's it was more about making food affordable for struggling families and supermarkets weren't the giants they are today. Where these did differ however was in the packaging, it was by no means plastic free and offerings were limited to dried food, pet food, some laundry products.
When these weighing shops died out, largely down to the convenience and price offered by a boom in supermarkets, the concept was given a revamp, where the eco conscious among us took the business model to the next level and now offer the ability to fill your own jars, containers and bottles and when they say zero waste, they really mean it.
These brilliant emporiums are a visual wonder and stepping into one, you immediately want to buy a little bit of everything but once you've gained your self control, you'll find every type of rice, flour, pulses and cereals as well as delicious cake mixes, baking ingredients herbs and spices along with natural shampoos, refills for shower gels, eco friendly cleaning and laundry products.
These Zero Waste shop epitomise eco friendly shopping; local shopping, ethical sourcing, zero waste and plastic free all while encouraging healthy eating and cooking from scratch.
Zero waste shopping is becoming a top priority for more people everyday and the rise of Zero Waste Shops is helping to promote more eco friendly shopping habits and make it far more accessible to the masses.
We can't name every Zero Waste Shop in the UK (because we don't know of them all) but here's a few well loved stores we've discovered.
9 Zero Waste Shops around the UK
Harvest Natural Foods, Bath.
A range of loose grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as well as unpackaged fruit and veg. They also sell laundry liquid and washing up liquid refills.
The Clean Kilo, Birmingham
Most items typically found in supermarkets including dry food, household products and toiletries. Their huge product range includes a frozen section, delicatessen counter, fruit and vegetables, orange juice/coffee machines and chilled milk dispensers.
Middle Farm, Sussex
A cider barn with a range of drinks available on draught. You can bring your own bottles or use one of their returnable kegs. They also have a farm shop selling unpackaged fruit and veg.
Natural wholesome foods and remedies. Including natural Food Supplements and natural body care. Organic and Fairtrade teas and coffee, herbs and spices as well as chilled and frozen convenience foods.
Waste Not Want Not, Bridport, Dorset.
Sells organic wholefoods, detergent and personal care refills and has an expanding Zero Waste home and lifestyle range.
New Leaf Co-Op, Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s friendly, hands-on wholefood store. Focusing on products that are fresh, local, organic, low packaging, and reasonably priced.
The Emporium of Worldly Goods, Fort William
Offers a selection of zero waste toiletries, including shampoo and conditioner refills, sanitary products and packaging-free soaps. They also do recycled fair trade crafts, a free book exchange and a small selection of loose dried fruits and nuts. You can bring your own receptacles or purchase reusable bags/bottles at the shop, which are made from recycled materials.
Alligator Wholefoods, York
Low Waste, Eco friendly shopping since 1972! Stock includes a wide range of organic grocery items, fresh organic fruit and veg, dairy products, locally baked sourdough bread and a variety of vegan foods as well as household cleaning. They also have a range of refills of shampoos, conditioners, hand wash and other body care products.
Thornton's Budgens, Haverstock Hill, London
Our final Zero Waste Shop is our local. A community supermarket with a huge difference, they've introduced plastic free zones dedicated to products packed in plastic free packaging and became the first UK supermarket (and only the second in the world) to launch plastic free zones, with over 1,800 plastic free products.
There's a fairly comprehensive directory over at Eco Thrifty Living if you want to check if there's a Zero Waste Shop near you.
When you next visit your local Zero Waste Shop you'll of course be needing awesome refillable containers, that's where we can help.
5 Refillable Products for Zero Waste Shopping
If you have a Zero Waste Shop near you let everyone know in the comments.