As people strive to waste less and reduce plastic in their lives, more and refill, plastic-free and bulk commodity shops and services are cropping up. Not only does this offer people a route to buy their weekly staples minus plastic, but it also offers the opportunity to explore new ingredients, ways of shopping and ultimately ways of consuming, which has to be a good thing.
With so much of our grocery shopping packaging currently coming in an unrecyclable form, it just seems like an extremely good idea to cut it out of our lives wherever possible. Ultimately to reduce plastic use and packaging is the best thing to do, to reuse is also a good thing to do if you can do it, but recycling will always be third on the list.
But what’s the cost? Well, speaking for my own local plastic-free shop, I am very happy to say that many of their products are in fact cheaper than those in the supermarkets by weight, certainly the branded products, and of course, much cheaper than a lot of the convenience products like microwave rice, so it should be an option that most people can at least consider. A quick example – Tescos are charging 53p per 100g of branded basmati rice, and at my local plastic free shop only charge 40p per 100g! Products do vary, but it’s not necessarily a luxury thing to do!
Want to know more about plastic-free options, then read on!
Check Out This Plastic-Free Map
This is a fantastic map produced by Beeswax Wraps UK listing all of the plastic-free stores they have heard about. And why not grab yourself some gorgeous beeswax wraps while you are checking out their website! You can eliminate the need for cling film and aluminum foil while you are at it by investing in some beeswax wraps. They are a far better option than cling film, and can be reused again and again!
They also have a map for milk refill stations, which is also good to know. But if there’s not a milk refill station, you may want to see if you have a milk delivery service or milkman near you. Check out our ‘Return of the Milkman’ blog post to find out why finding yourself a milkman and glass milk bottles is a really good thing to do.
There are probably some stores that have not made it on to the map yet, so get in touch and get them added if you come across any. We are all in this together, and should share what we know!
You can also get more information from this amazing guide by Zero Waster which gives you a more detailed idea of what is out there and available in your area by region.
The Online Option
And then there is always the online option. It may not be your first choice if you are keen on shopping ‘local’ but it is an option and arguably better than nothing. Some of the online stores have vast product ranges and often have some way of ‘giving back’. Check out zero-waste-club.com – they take back your packaging and plant a tree for every item sold! Or plasticfreepantry.co.uk who offer discounts in exchange for litter picking!
Do it Yourself
If you are struggling to find your perfect plastic-free shopping spot, there is always the option of doing it yourself! Most plastic free/zero waste shops have been set up by independent people who have a passion for making changes. That is certainly the case with Horsham-based company, Earthkind. They wanted to do their bit to reduce the amount of plastic in their area and have put their passion into action with their beautiful plastic-free shop. It sounds daunting, but there are a lot of people doing it, and a very supportive Facebook group to help you on your journey.
Of course setting up a shop isn’t for everybody, but you could consider forming a local co-operative and ordering certain items in bulk. Reducing food miles is really important, and to set one up in your area, can also help to achieve that goal. Have a look at online wholesaler, Suma to get an idea of what you might be able to supply to families in your local area.
Shopping for the Gear
If you want something that you can use for rice, flour, pasta, etc, there are lots of loose produce bags available online, or of course, you can use whatever you have lying around the house! For some retail therapy, you may want to check out these options! Many of the shops will undoubtedly have their own versions for sale as well.
You could, of course, make your own! Here’s a tutorial on how to make bags suitable for loose commodities. And here’s our own tutorial on how to make bags for loose produce out of an old t-shirt.
Refill Your Water Bottles
And finally, if all of that shopping makes you thirsty, download the Refill app to find out where you can refill your reusable water bottle for free!
We’d love to hear how you get on with your plastic-free shopping and please be sure to let us know of any new stores that you find!