Don’t get us wrong, we love all zero waste shops! These beautiful spaces are a labour of love, the product of wonderful people who are changing and improving the world bit by bit. When we travel to some other locations, we realise and appreciate even more how lucky we are to have these choices. Therefore, we wanted to put together a compact list of some of the zero waste shops that we are particularly fond of for various reasons.
Located under an arch on Bohemia Place just a few minutes walk from Hackney Central Station, is one of our go-to zero-waste shops Bulk Market. They have pretty much everything you need from legumes to grains, from nuts to dairy-free milk, from chocolate to coffee and tea, hygiene products to baked goods. We are excited about soon to arrive pet food, wine and beer on tap, as well as kombucha. In addition, they also operate as an official drop-off point for hard-to-recycle items in partnership with Terracycle.
Although their newer and frankly wonderful Battersea opening is now outperforming the Chiswick branch, this is the first zero waste shop from Source Bulk Foods in the UK and our favourite in the W postcode. You name it, they have it. All the essentials plus coconut oil, kombucha, cleaning products, eco-friendly merch, rather niche things like rice crackers, chocolate covered rose flavoured Turkish delight, different types of coffee beans, various types of organic, gluten-free pasta, selection of chocolate coated nuts, nut butters, maple syrup are all on offer here. Heavenly!
A short stroll from Clapham Junction Station, Hetu is a vegan zero waste shop with pre-dominantly organic produce - it’s well worth a visit solely for that! There’s coconut oil, virgin olive oil and maple syrup in bulk. The non-perishable food containers are in glass rather than the industry standard plastic. They do have the essentials like various grains, seeds, legumes, chocolate, dried fruits and spices. They have vegan cheese and yoghurt in glass jars as well as hazelnut and almond butter freshly made on the spot (depending on availability). They have cleaning products as well, which are mostly from Greenscents rather than Sesi that a lot of other zero waste shops use.
A short walk from Peckham and even a shorter one from Nunhead, BYO aka Bring Your Own provides for a lot of what you need despite not being a big space. Non-perishable foods and spices, check. White and red wine on tap, check. A selection of oils and vinegars, check. Shampoo, conditioner, castile soap, cleaning products, organic candles, check. Almond butter made on the spot, check! As it is located in a village surrounded by lots of other shops like a bakery, corner shop, coffee shop with loose beans and grocery store, a visit here can cover pretty much all your household needs. We are also fans of the colourful and playful interiors, which add to the shopping experience.
Having started trading in 2006, the Unpackaged team are the pioneers of the zero waste movement and have provided consultancy to a lot of companies big or small in the industry. If you are thinking of opening your zero waste shop one day, please do try their workshop. No longer operating from their individual premises, they are now located in four branches of Planet Organic, the UK’s largest organic supermarket. Westbourne Grove, Muswell Hill and Torrington Place all provide zero waste way of shopping via Unpackaged but our favourite spot is Islington. With the added plus of being surrounded with other organic produce, Unpackaged offers cereals, chocolate, dried fruit, grains, nuts, pulses, seed and pasta.
Please also check out the newly opened re:store in Hackney Wick, Get Loose in Hackney City Farm, Harm.Less in Wood Green, The Refill Larder in Teddington, SWOP in Lee Green, BYO in Tooting and Mission Green in Hither Green. Also worth mentioning 2 Girl’s Café in Peckham and Mother Earth in Highbury, which have small corners for zero waste shopping.