Do you use a zero waste shop?

I was really excited last week to hear we had a zero waste shop arriving in town.

zero waste shop

As I have seen elsewhere, I envisaged aisles of produce in bins, from dried fruits to lentils, spices to baking goods. I hoped to find bamboo toothbrushes, eco-friendly cosmetics and a huge refilling station for all of our cleaning products. We thought we could take in our own containers to make our purchases and leave with our cotton bags full of plastic free shopping.

Lots of enthusiasm

In reality, our zero waste shop had been introduced with a lot of enthusiasm but clearly no money. It did have a refilling point with four products, along with a few tubs containing large bags of nuts, but you seemed to have to buy the entire bag.

Other than that, it contained shelves full of reconditioned electrical products and lots of second hand vacuum cleaners at bargain prices.

I’m not knocking it. If my toaster blows, our zero waste shop is where I will be going to find a new one! After all, buying second hand is good for the environment and the wallet, as I said in last week’s post on buying second hand clothes.

I have to admit to being disappointed though. This zero waste shop is full of good intentions but only likely to attract those already committed to lowering their waste. I can’t see it inspiring and enabling the good people of the town to adopt a zero waste lifestyle.

Trying to avoid plastic

zero waste shop

It’s hard to avoid plastic if you use run of the mill supermarkets. Even the local market gives you plastic bags now. You have to take your own containers everywhere. How many of us are this organised?

I have found an amazing looking zero waste shop near where Mr S’s niece lives in Hertfordshire. Too far away to pop into regularly but I will definitely go next time we visit her. What do you think of Bamboo Turtle?

This is the kind of zero waste shop I dream of seeing here. Even better would be every other shop adopting a zero waste approach!

Do you aim for zero waste shopping? Can you recommend a zero waste shop near you?

13 thoughts on “Do you use a zero waste shop?

  1. Lovely to see my local zero waste shop Bamboo Turtle get a mention! It’s a great shop and lovely staff, well worth a visit. They are constantly introducing new products and are really responsive to customer feedback.

  2. I don’t know of any “Zero Waste” Shop per se. I guess our closest thing would be the chain called “Bulk Barn”. They sell most things loose – flours, sugars, cereals, nuts, all kinds of baking supplies, dried fruits, candies, coffee, tea, herbs & spices – those sorts of things. You can also make you own nut butters and there is a supply of cleaning products & dog/cat/bird food. They do supply plastic bags but you can take your own jars. I keep a supply in different sizes just for shopping here – you take everything to the counter when you enter and they inspect them (for cleanliness & chips) and weigh them and then you do your shopping.

    Our regular supermarkets don’t allow these sorts of containers but you can use your own mesh bags for produce – there’s no problem with that.

    If you are looking for household items & appliances you can go to the “Habitat for Humanity” shop and get items recycled from home renovations or demolitions. Not one stop shopping but it’s out there if you are willing to look.

  3. The only thing which concerns me is that all this food is exposed to everyone and therefore someone could contaminate the goods if they had an (awful) mind to. Also, unless biodegradable gloves are used to hold the scoops with which to fill containers, the handles of such scoops will become a breeding ground for bacteria. I might be worrying unnecessarily over this, and as we don’t have such a store locally it’s not a place I can frequent, but it is something worth bearing in mind, even though the idea behind such stores is a great one.
    Margaret P

      • Yes, Totnes not far away and I believe there is such a store there. But you have to be more prepared that I ever am, Jane, with baskets and containers. I have made a start by having trolley bags specially designed for supermarket trolleys so that we don’t need plastic bags in which to put our groceries.
        Margaret P

  4. The ReFill shop, Truro is good also brillant as does. GF item. If itnot stock and you request an item itthere with in aweek.

  5. That sort of hygiene doesn’t bother me – I’m sure I get more germs off of a shopping trolley/ basket handle!
    It’s almost impossible to find unwrapped produce in supermarkets now – or at least where I live. When I do find loose apples, onions etc I just put them straight into the trolley/basket bagless – I figure I’m going to be washing the apples with my hands when I get home anyway.

    I suppose the best option for plastic-free produce now are the all-purpose independent shops that display all their fruit and veg in plastic bowls – like in the old days – where they just tip them into your bag.

    The rest of the stuff – not a chance round here! We’re not in a hipster enough area!

  6. I’ve made my own ‘plastic’ bags for buying veg and fruit. I’m not a great sewer but I chopped up an old pillowcase into several long strips, folded them over and stitched them into little bags. Didn’t bother with a drawstring top or anything fancy like that. I leave them in my shopping bags so they’re always there when I go into the shops, if I pick up anything that gets them dirty then they just get thrown into the wash next time I put the machine on. As they’re thin cotton they’d don’t affect the weight of whatever I’m buying. Every time I use them someone, cashier on the till, other shoppers, always comments and says what a good idea.

Comments are closed.