Being passionate about sustainability, we do our best to implement environmentally friendly habits into our lives. Living a zero-waste lifestyle can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways of reducing your carbon footprint with grocery shopping alone and choosing shops that offer products without unnecessary plastic packaging.
Enter the zero-waste shops, which stock goods, such as pasta, grains, beans, nuts, spices, condiments, oils, various household and beauty items. The products are stored in bulk quantities in big glass jars or dispensers. You bring your own containers or buy reusable ones at the store, such as jars or bags and fill them with as much as you need. In addition to reducing your packaging waste, it also helps you to buy exactly the amount you need and avoid throwing unused or spoilt products away.
Yours filled up containers are then weighed again by the checkout and you’re ready to go!
The idea is not new, and it can give you the nostalgic feel of the old way of shopping at the same time, it's a modern and aesthetically pleasing experience. The shops are usually small and local, and the atmosphere is friendly.
Benefits of buying in a zero-waste shop:
- Helps to reduce your waste of plastic and unused/spoilt products
- Allows you to stock up on products you regularly need, reducing the frequency of grocery shopping trips and carbon emissions
- Helps you make healthier food choices. The stocked products are often organic and locally sourced without any processed or sugar-filled foods.
- You can support small local businesses, rather than big chain supermarkets
- Reducing the grocery shopping trips and controlling the amount you buy will ultimately turn out to be easier on your budget!
The first zero-waste store, Unpackaged, opened in London in 2007, and now there are around 200 throughout the UK.
Here are our favourite London zero waste shops:
1. BYO: 32 Nunhead Green, SE15 3HB
2. Gather: 121 Bellenden Road, SE15 4QY
4. Unpackaged at Planet Organic: various locations
5. Bulk Market: 6 Bohemia Place E8 1DU Hackney
6. Common: 17 The Pavement, SW4 0HY, Clapham