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Zero Waste Shops

Zero waste shops are booming. Here's everything you need to know.

34 of the UK's best zero waste stores

Plastic Free Shopping: 100+ Best Zero Waste Stores in UK

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Zero waste shops have become important community hubs and a way to support local producers and plastic free or ethical brands.

What is a zero waste shop?

Simply put. a zero waste shop is one that operates to reduce packaging waste and single use plastic in all the goods it sells.

A zero waste shop lets you:

  • Weigh out dry goods and take them home in your own containers.
  • Refill things like shampoo and washing up liquid.
  • Find plastic free or zero waste skincare, homewares, and cleaning brands as well as food and drink.
  • Take your own containers or buy resuable containers to put goods in.
  • It might also be a community hub where you can find out more info on workshops, events and courses to do with zero waste, sustainable living or permaculture.

How do zero waste shops help the environment?

Zero waste shops help the environment in a number of ways:

  • They reduce plastic packaging on single items like rice, washing up liquid and shampoo.
  • They support sustainable, ethical and zero waste brands.
  • They support local supply chains, which are shorter and less complex than global ones. This means there is more accountability and traceability between how the product is made and you, as the end consumer.
  • They support local farms, growers, producers and makers - which makes it easier for you to shop local. This brings down the air miles used to transport food and goods to you and strengthens your local economy - which means more stable jobs.
  • They can withstand global shocks more easily because they have strong relationships with local suppliers and farmers.
  • Their food is more likely to be organic and sustainably grown and their products are eco-friendly and more likely to be plant-based.

How do I go zero waste?

There are so many ways to embrace zero waste living at home, no matter what your situation, but it's important to remember that zero waste is more of a mindset and a journey rather than something tangible that is achieveable.

This isn't about either getting your rubbish in a jar or not trying at all, it's about reducing your overconsumption and your reliance on plastic. Think about how you can reduce your waste when it comes to:

Reduce, reuse and recycle

The 3 R's can play a big part in helping you to shop zero waste, especially if you're looking to go zero waste on a budget.

  • Reduce: Can you reduce the amount of things you buy in plastic by bulk buying or filling up on staples from a zero waste shop?
  • Reuse: Reuse packaging not just at the zero waste shop, but to post anything. Can you reuse single use plastic like breadbags instead of using freezer bags? Can you swap to reusable beeswax wraps instead of using cling film?
  • Recycle: Recycling is important but it's your last form of defense. Remember to stay up to date with what your local area recycles, wash out your items before putting them out for recycling (it does have an impact) and look for local recycling points for things like Tetrapaks.

Is zero waste cheaper?

Zero waste shopping can be cheaper because you are not paying for the packaging and often complex transporation that are involved in supermarkets.

You can also buy just the amounts you actually need rather than a big packet.

However, organic or ethically sourced items might cost more than budget brands or versions in supermarkets because you're paying the real cost rather than an articifically subsidised price. It's important to make sure that farmers, growers, producers and so on are fairly paid.

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