Whether you’re doing your weekly shop or just picking up some fruit and veg, shopping shouldn’t cost the earth. Shops that are plastic-free, zero-waste and doing their bit for the environment are popping up all over the city. Selling everything from plastic-wrapping-free produce to DIY beauty products, here are the best places to shop more sustainably.
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You’ll find everything from turmeric to toilet cleaner at this Australian-owned plastic-free haven. Highlights include kombucha on tap, a flour mill for all kinds of grains (rice, spelt, buckwheat, oats, barley and more) and a nut-butter machine, which makes made-to-order creations (from trusty peanut butter to macadamia nut butter). As well as a massive selection of kitchen supplies, it stocks household essentials including fig handwash, biodegradable plasters and washing-up liquid – because it’s not just the food in your kitchen cupboards that could benefit from a green overhaul.
There’s way more than just packaging-free eggs and loose grains on offer at Bulk Market (though you can get those, ofc). At this Hackney spot’s zero-waste beauty bar, you can make your own cosmetics from a selection of essential oils, dried flower petals, bath salts and natural wax – bring along an old cosmetic container for extra green points. The shop also boasts a zero-waste freezer section where you can load up on loose, frozen fruit and veg without the pesky plastic bags.
Hetu is a one-stop-shop for the busy eco-warriors who don’t have the time to visit five different places to do their bit for the planet. Products include shampoo bars, spices, loose grains, pasta and lentils – and you won’t find any unnecessary plastic packaging on the fruit and veg. You can fill up any kind of container (apparently someone once filled up an old pillowcase with pasta) but if you forget your glass jars, there’s a jar donation station where you can pick up one for free.
Based in Tooting Market, this little shop makes big change easy. Alongside kitchen essentials it also stocks bamboo toothbrushes, reusable make-up rounds and wax food-wrap, which is like cling film but long-lasting enough for several uses and biodegradable. All its products are vegan, too.
This vegan bulk shop is nestled in Wood Green’s Blue House Yard, a carpark-turned-creative-hub – but it’s soon due to move to a much larger space just down the road. Keep your eyes peeled for more zero-waste goodness, but meanwhile head to the yellow house in this community space for everything from paprika to plant-based washing up sponges.
This new enterprise is already making big moves. It stocks six different types of flour, different types of pasta, and probably the most local honey you’re going to find. It comes from Merton Park, which is just down the road, meaning its carbon footprint is close to nothing. Sweet!
Earth Natural Foods is a two-minute walk from Kentish Town tube station, which makes carrying your jars of loose leaf tea, cashews, and dish soap a lot easier. Though not exclusively zero-waste, this space in Kentish Town is doing its bit for the environment, and even stocks biodegradable nappies, because no turtle should have to look at one of those bobbing around in the sea for ever.
Thanks to the Channel 4 doc, we’ve all followed the success of The People’s Supermarket, a co-operative in Bloomsbury, that fought off Tesco for a site. Although anyone can shop at the store, full membership (which scores you a 10 percent discount and a say in how the shop is run) will cost you £25 and four hours per month working in the store. What you get is fresh, locally sourced (when possible) supermarket fare, which is affordable and airfreight free.
Jarr Market in Herne Hill hopes to put a lid on wasteful shopping with a small but well curated selection of grains, cereals, pasta and household products. As they settle into the new space, the south London store hopes to run pop-ups, events and workshops on sustainable living.
As well as ticking all the sustainable boxes, Gather prides itself on being a welcoming, inclusive store. The shop is vegan-friendly but not exclusively plant-based, and they aim to minimise plastic, but you might find smidges of it here and there. In other words, you can rock up to refill your pantry essentials, and you won’t be judged if you’re not dressed entirely in hessian.
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