Most towns now have a zero waste shop, with dispensers to fill up with dried foods (only buy what you need). The Clean Kilo (Birmingham) is England’s largest zero waste shop, in the heart of the city. To shop at zero waste shops, you take your own containers. Wash these thoroughly after use in hot water with biodegradable non-scented washing up liquid, then rinse and dry (shops won’t be liable for food poisoning). Most shops also sell reusable containers, if you forget.
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing and medical conditions and keep essential oils, candles and xylitol (in some ‘natural’ gums and toothpastes) away from pets. Also see pet-toxic plants and houseplants to avoid.
- Earth Food Love (Devon) was England’s first zero waste shop. Set up by a former Man United footballer and his wife, he has also set up a plant-milk delivery service (in glass bottles) with plans to go nationwide.
- Unpackaged (London) offers a nationwide consultancy service, to offer reuse and refill systems for retail stores. Customers weigh food once, keep the label and then make repeat visits.
- The Refill Den (Essex) operates from a van to visit rural areas, selling pastas, rice, herbs and spices. ‘Pod’ is a fully-equipped catering trailer that’s been ‘beautifully wrapped and branded’ by a (local) vehicle signage company, easy to spot as it visits your community!
- Love Refills (Suffolk) is another mobile van that visits markets and village pop-ups. They can prepare orders in repurposed bottles (or shop online and if you live locally, they will deliver to your doorstep).
The Best Online Zero Waste Shops
- Forrist sells pantry essentials, personal care and cleaning goods, all in zero waste packaging (you get free gifts for regular orders and can return bags/pouches to compost or swap for glass jars). Sign up for subscription boxes to keep your pantry stocked.
- Zero Waste Bulk Foods delivers food and home essentials in reusable packaging that you return using the post box. Simply order online and return using a pre-paid post label. They are one of the only zero waste stores that are Organic Certified and you’ll also find a great range of homegrown ingredients.
- The Good Life sells staple groceries, with refill options. Range includes organic fruit/veggie boxes and bulk teas, oat milk and refillable eco-cleaning brands.