Zero-waste shops, aka refill shops are springing up all over the UK and since it is plastic-free July, we wanted to share our favourite spots around the country. Going plastic-free can feel daunting. Therefore, instead of jumping in the deep end, we challenge you to do one zero-waste shop this month.
How does a zero-waste shop work?
Zero-waste shops sell unpackaged groceries, mostly dried goods such as pasta, grains, flour, dried fruit and cereals. In most shops, you can bring your own jars/containers/ bags or buy reusable glass jars in the store.
Most places will have a scale where you will need to weigh your containers first and write the weight on them. Then you can refill as you wish and in most cases your filled up jar gets reweighed at the till so you only pay for the zero-waste, unpackaged goodies inside.
Bygram - Fulham Road
A family-run store in the heart of Fulham, and they are due to open a second shop in Hampstead very soon! Bring your own containers or buy in-store to refill on dried goods, Swiss luxury chocolates, oils, soya sauce, organic maple syrup and household products such as shampoos, bath salts and non-toxic detergents. Oh and we’ve heard their own blend of chocolate hazelnut nut butter is a best seller, so don’t miss out.
Bulk market - Hackney Central
Founded by Ingrid Caldironi, Bulk Market is on a mission to end single-use plastic that is polluting our planet. After losing faith in the recycling system - a woman after our own heart - she went zero-waste. After finding out how hard it is to shop for everyday goods without single-use packaging, she tackled the problem head-on by opening her own shop. Order online or shop in-store for an abundance of unpacked goods.
Kilo- Holloway Road
Apart from being a zero-waste store with a variety of goods including gifts, pantry staples, herbs and spices etc, Kilo in North London also runs awesome earth-conscious workshops. From soy candle making to terrarium classes and plastic-free beginners guide. Not just a shop, but a community.
Jarr Market- Herne Hill
Jarr is a bulk and refill store in southeast London run by lovely Jess. Bring your own jars or buy in-store and choose from a variety of grains, pasta, cereals, nuts, coffee and condiments like oils. And they sell Minor Figures milk on refill which is a Spruce favourite.
BYO London - Tooting
According to the shop’s website, at 'BYO we are average people who, inspired by our experiences, are trying to be conscious about the way that we shop and live, with less waste and a lot less plastic. We hope that after hearing these statistics you ask yourself "Could I buy this in a more sustainable way?" when purchasing food and general household goods.' And that’s exactly what we love, small everyday changes that will make a massive difference.
Zero-Living - Mayfair
Zero-Living is the home of planet conscious brands. The store's aim is to help consumers make the right choices, without sacrificing good design. Zero-Living does not stock much food produce, but rather focus on household goods and clothing. 85% of brands are female-founded and, all of them are planet friendly and ethically made.
Refillable - Bath
Independent family business empowered by girl power. Yeah! Stamena Dimitrova runs the store with her daughter Leny and her sister Hrisi. Using all-natural materials and preserving the beautiful structure of the grade II listed building, this zero-waste store has an abundance of unpacked goods and personality. If you're in Bath, head over to support your local zero-waste store and female-run business.
Smaller FootPrints - Bristol, Clifton
A small and cosy store in Bristol serving you zero-waste goodness. Including peanut butter made fresh in-store and non-perishable beauty products and cleaning supplies. It is also located in a beautiful area of Bristol, where you can find other small and low-waste stores.
A very popular spot in the centre of Cardiff. They provide a usual variety of dried goods, but most importantly you can find a zero-waste freezer section which is filled with colourful fruit, berries and wait for it… croissants. Yes! Zero-waste pastry, fancy a joint trip to Cardiff anyone?
Hisbe Foods - Worthing
A very popular spot down in Sussex, who refer to themselves as supermarket rebels! They focus on sourcing only local produce whilst eliminating plastic waste. Honestly, we wish every supermarket looked like Hisbe.
The Clean Kilo - Birmingham
According to their website, the Clean Kilo is the largest zero-waste supermarket in the UK! Find a variety of dried goods, condiments and a very bright fresh fruit and veg section. The shop also sources local produce to reduce CO2 emissions
Nada - Leicester
“At NADA we sell a huge range of sustainable food items ranging from seeds, flours, pasta, nuts, vegan chocolate, cereals and spices - as well as loads more. All stock is sourced as locally as possible to reduce the emissions from long-distance haulage.”
Go Nada 2021. We're all about low emission and low packaging waste as well!
The Bishy Weigh - York
Located in the historic city of York which is 100% worth a weekend trip (our marketing guru is totally biased though because she went to uni there) this is a local and student favourite. Selling a great range of dried goods, like spices, grains, pasta, flour etc. They also occasionally sell home-baked goods which are delightful.
Lentils and Lather - Manchester
Apart from a great store name, Lentils and Lather is another store on a mission to end single-use plastic pollution. Lentils and Lather is an eco-friendly and ethical superstore that makes it simple and convenient to shop unpackaged.
The Refillery - Edinburgh
The Refillery is a plastic-free online and physical grocery and ethical goods store in Edinburgh. The store has over a thousand products available to shop that have been ethically sourced with zero plastic.
Sea no Waste - Aborath
Sea No Waste is a family-run zero-waste store based in Arbroath, Scotland by Sammy and Ian. Just like the good ol' times, you can buy most goods found in a supermarket but plastic-free. Does it get any better than that?
We know going one hundred percent zero-waste and plastic-free might not be easy, but we totally believe small adjustments can cut out a massive amount of unnecessary single-use waste of any kind. Just think about it, if the entire population of UK switched to refillable cleaning, over 300 million single-use plastic bottles can be prevented from polluting our oceans and landfills in just one year!
About time to try Spruce? Get started here:
Feeling a lot lighter? Well done!
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Words by Sofya Zakharova, Title Image by Polina Tankilevitch