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Plastic free shopping: 25 of the UK's best zero waste stores

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5 minute guide

Georgina Wilson-Powell

21 May 2018

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.

Plastic free shopping: 25 of the UK's best zero waste store

Earth.Food.Love, Totnes

Earth.Food.Love sells everything from dried goods to shampoos, you can grind your own peanut butter, pick up vegan chocolates and chat to Richard about all things permaculture. A real community hub for the latest wave of city-escapers to Devon.

Earth Pray Love zero Waste Shop in Totnes

Zero waste shops Earth Food Love has helped revitalise the independent shopping mecca of Totnes

The Clean Kilo, Birmingham

Birmingham’s first zero waste shop officially opens on 16 June 2018 and we’re just a little bit excited. Having run a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Clean Kilo has now set up shop in The Custard Factory in Digbeth and zero waste shoppers can look forward to plastic-free food, drink, toiletries and cleaning products. Take your own containers or pick up recycled ones in the store.

The Clean Kilo Zero Waste Shops

Birmingham will soon have its own zero waste store in Digbeth

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 milks. The store acts as real community hub, with the staff getting involved in other waste less, recycling and upcycling programmes.

Scoopaway, Bristol

One of independent Gloucester Road’s stalwarts, Scoopaway, offers a lot of its lines in loose bins so you can scoop and save on plastic. While it's not solely a zero waste shop, you can pop in for herbs, spices and dried goods you can weigh out plus plenty of dairy and gluten free options, Fairtrade and organic products.

(Don’t miss our upcoming pebble guide to Bristol - sign up here to be one of the first to use it).

The Nottingham Zero Waste Collective, Nottingham

Nottingham has a roving pop up zero waste collective for shoppers who want to go zero waste. The packaging-free store can be found at Think in Cobden Place and you can fill your jars and containers with an increasing range of quality wholefoods including rice, pasta, nuts, pulses, tea and coffee.

(Find it and other eco-friendly businesses in our pebble guide to Nottingham).

Bamboo Turtle, Herts 

Bamboo Turtle is the first zero waste shop in Herts but if the rate of openings carry on we can't see it being the last. While Bamboo Turtle only stocks dry goods for now, it also does a good line in plastic free toiletries like toilet rolls, shampoos, conditioners, make up removing face pads, bamboo straws and soaps.

Preserve Foods, Bristol

Zero waste shops might be a bit like buses in Bristol, the city now has several zero waste shopping options. Preserve is the latest packaging-free store to open in the city - it will open in June 2018 and will sell everything from natural suncream to store supplies, all plastic-free. Take along your own containers or pick up plastic free boxes and jars in the pretty shop.

Preserve Zero Waste Shops

Preserve will be opening its doors in Bristol this June

Locavore, Glasgow

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.

Refill Store, Truro, Cornwall

Refill Store opened in May 2018 in Truro’s Lemon Street Market and hasn't looked back. Head to Truro's Refill Store for food, toiletries and household and cleaning supplies and pick up a reusable cup, natural deodorant and other essentials for your zero waste out and about kit.

Hetu, London

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, 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.

Hetu Zero Waste Shops

North London's zero waste shoppers can head to Hetu

Loose, Stroud, Gloustershire

Stroud now has its own plastic free shop, Loose has a range of grains, pulses, seeds & nuts, dried fruit (either organic, Fairtrade or ethically sourced). The zero waste shop will even pack and weigh out your shopping list for you, using cloth bags, recycled containers and glass jars. Talk about zero effort!

Waste Not Want Not, Bridport, Dorset

Waste Not Want Not is Dorset's first zero waste shop. Go for plastic free shopping and buy organic, unpackaged, plant based whole foods as well as detergent refills, personal care refills and an expanding range of zero waste home and lifestyle products. Don't have your own plastic containers, pick up paper bags and organic cotton bags as well as glass jars. This new zero waste store is also planning a home delivery service.

Zero Green, Bristol

Bristolians are spoilt for choice when it comes to zero waste shopping. Zero Green in Bristol champions buying in bulk, buying plastic free ingredients and buying local. Pop in and weigh out dry ingredients, washing up liquid, shampoos and lots of other items. Many of their suppliers are local to Bristol and you can also pick up plastic free deodorants, water bottles, KeepCups, bamboo cutlery and stainless steel straws.

Zero Green Zero Waste Shops

Pop by Zero Green for plastic free deodorants, water bottles and bamboo cutlery

Harmless, London

North London has its own plastic-free, vegan shop in the form of Harmless. While this might be the smallest zero waste shop we’ve come across, it’s the only one you can have a beer at while you’re collecting and weighing out your zero waste shopping. There’s the obvious plant based dry goods but also household cleaning supplies and life’s little pleasures like vegan Parmesan.

Natural Weigh, Powys, Wales

Wales has its own zero waste shop in the form of Natural Weigh. It stocks organic and local dry goods that you can weigh out into your own containers as well as cleaning products and plastic free straws, as well as soapnuts and reusable containers. Find it in Crickhowell in Powys, Wales, in the beautifully old and staunchly independently spirited Corn Exchange.

Natural Weigh Zero Waste Shops

Wales has its own zero waste shop in Powys. Say hello to Natural Weigh

Waste Not, Brighton

Permanent market stall, Waste Not (formerly FoodShed), is Brighton’s zero waste shopping experience. Find it in Brighton Open Market, where local producers and suppliers can rent shelves in the shop - from honeys to homemade fudge, locally roasted coffee to raw milks - all without plastic.

Charlotte’s Cupboard, Sussex

Charlotte’s Cupboard is the first plastic free shop - on wheels. Acting like an old fashioned mobile store, the cute van offers dry goods, chocolate, tea, coffee, household essentials and lots more - most of them are organic with plans for that to be 100% very soon. Order zero waste deliveries to your door (in Sussex) or find the van at market days in Sussex including Haywards Heath, Brighton and Lewes.

Charlottes Cupboard Zero Waste Shops

Charlotte's Cupboard is the first plastic free shop on wheels

Waste Not, Burley in Wharfedale, West Yorkshire

Waste Not is a minimal waste shop that's just opened at the The Grange, Burley in Wharfedale. Going for reducing 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.

Waste Not Shop Zero Waste Shops

Discover this pop up zero waste shop in West Yorkshire - it's soon to be a permanent store

Unwrapped

People of Sheffield shouldn't feel left out when it comes to zero waste shops. Unwrapped opened recently in Crookes ares of the Green City and offers a range of vegan and vegetarian products, all plastic free. Pick up solid shampoo bars, vegan treats and make up and plastic free period items. 

Gillian's Larder

Cornwall isn't missed out on the zero waste shopping list, as Gillian's Larder is a packaging and plastic free groceries store. Herbs and spices, dry goods and more can be found here along with fantastic recipe sheets for things like Cornish saffron buns and Moroccan tagine.

Jarfull, Harrogate

Harrogate has its own packaging free and zero waste home delivery service, called Jarfull. Anyone can order non food items (like bamboo toothbrushes and water bottles) from this lovely store online - and purchase glass jars and cotton bags to buy goods in or Harrogate’s zero waste shoppers can find it at pop up events and order home delivery (if in HG1 postcode).

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.

Nourish of Topsham

The zero waste shopping revolution has reached Exeter and Devon. Zero waste shop Nourish of Topshsam opened in March 2018 and provides plastic free goods, weigh your own dry ingredients and there's a real focus on local ingredients - the store even has local milk on tap, you can make plant milks in store and there's plastic free cups, straws and even our plastic free oral care from Georganics.

Nourish Of Topsham Zero Waste Shops

Exeter has its own zero waste store in the shape of Nourish of Topsham

Zero Waste Club, online

Zero Waste Club are on a mission to make plastic free goods available for everyone and will deliver your plastic free and organic food essential right on your doorstep. They'll even take the packaging back off you and reuse it. For almost every item sold, a tree is planted to help keep the carbon footprint low.

No Plastic Shop, online

Don’t fret, if you’re not near a physical zero waste shop. No Plastic Shop is a one stop shop for kitchen, bathroom and toiletry supplies that are all plastic free. Think hard bar shampoos, beeswax wraps, make-up sponges and bamboo cutlery.

No Plastic Shop Zero Waste Shops

Shop online at plastic free store No Plastic Shop

Do you know of other zero waste shops we should be including? Let us know - editor@pebblemag.com.

For more plastic free swaps you can make at home - see our quick and easy five plastic free suggestions.

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