Supermarkets are full of plastic packaging; it’s wrapped around food, toiletries and cleaning products come in single-use bottles and containers, and the bags to carry the groceries home are made of plastic too. Bulk and zero-waste stores are on a mission to change all that by selling unpackaged products that you purchase by weight using your own reusable containers. Not only are the shops packaging free, most of the produce and brands they stock are organic and eco-friendly. Here are our fave places to do plastic-free shopping in London…
Plastic-free refill shop BYO in Nunhead has expanded into BYO Household and BYO Grocery. The household side stocks sustainable home, bath and beauty products from brands like Who Gives a Crap, Organicup, Fill, Eco Leaf, Faith in Nature, Wild Sage and Suneeta Cosmetics. There’s a large pantry selection on the grocery side as well as frozen goods, nut butter machines and London’s first plant-based milk machine from Minor Figures.
147 Evelina Road, London, SE15 3HB
Re:Store, set up by Megan Adams, who herself made a resolution to use less plastic, is located in Hackney Downs Studios with no single-use packaging on site. You can bring your own containers or buy some in the shop, and fill up on wholefoods, nuts & seeds, herbs & spices, tea, coffee, oils, vinegars, household cleaning products and lifestyle products like Elephant Box food containers, Chilly’s water bottles and Georganics dental items.
Hackney Downs Studios, 17 Amhurst Terrace, London, E8 2BT
Set up by Ingrid Caldironi and Bruna Martins, Hackney’s Bulk Market stocks a range of packaging-free dried goods, bakery items, eggs, and fresh fruit & veg, most of which is organic and comes from within a 50 mile radius of the shop. You can also bring in containers to refill with natural and organic cosmetic products, like mineral clays, essential oils, natural waxes and dried flowers, at the DIY Beauty Bar. All these ingredients can be mixed to create a range of beauty products.
6 Bohemia Place, Hackney, London E8 1DU
This organic refill market in Parsons Green aims to make zero-waste shopping as simple and seamless an experience as possible. It’s stocked with organic fresh and dried produce, herbs, spices, nut butters (there’s also a machine in the shop that makes them on the spot) oils and vinegars as well as a range of unpackaged toiletries and home cleaning refills.
795 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5HD
Meaning ‘purpose’ in Hindi, Hetu is all about putting the health and wellbeing of the planet and the people on it front and centre. It’s a vegan zero-waste store, so as well as no packaging, there are no animal products in store – all the food is unprocessed and unrefined, and there’s no palm oil in any items either.
201 St. Johns Hill, London, SW11 1TH
If you’re in North London but can’t get out to a zero-waste shop, let it come to you instead. Fair-Well is a mobile refill service that takes zero-waste products to the people on converted milk float Charlie. They sell Fair Trade and organic dried goods, BioD cleaning products and Faith in Nature toiletries. To shop, you just book Charlie (make sure you’re in the catchment area) and have your containers at the ready.
Herne Hill’s Jarr Market is packed with packaging-free grains, pastas, nuts, condiments, coffee, tea, toiletries and cleaning supplies as well as reusable containers for you to use in the shop. Founder Jess prioritises suppliers with closed-loop systems and she pays extra to have everything properly recycled by First Mile.
19 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London, SE24 9JU
Shop online and have your zero-waste groceries delivered right to your door with EcoRefill. All the food, household items and toiletries are refillable, they’re packed up in repurposed containers and delivered across the country. You then repack your shopping in your own time and either pop the containers back in the post via a pre-paid return or have them picked up on your next delivery.
The Source Bulk Foods
The Source Bulk Foods, which has branches in Battersea and Chiswick, stocks over 450 bulk foods so you really are spoilt for choice. If you can’t head in-store to shop you can also order online and have waste-free shopping delivered to your door.
99 St John’s Road, London, SW11 1QY
24 Turnham Green Terrace, London, W4 1QP
SWOP, aka Shop WithOut Packaging, was set up by Jess and Claire after they became fed up with the amount of plastic litter they kept seeing. Everything in the shop is veggie or vegan and they aim to stock as much Fairtrade, organic and local produce as possible.
7 Burnt Ash Road, Lee Green, London SE12 8RG
Refill @ The Grange
This Grange Park refill store has all the dried foods, herbs, spices, oils, tea and coffee you’d expect, as well as household cleaning products, toiletries and even plastic-free pet care goodies. If you haven’t got time to browse in store, they run a click & collect service too.
22 The Grangeway, London N21 2HG
This South London-based start-up is all about making zero-waste shopping as easy and accessible as possible. You order your groceries online; they get delivered via bike in sustainable, reusable packaging; your refills arrive automatically and your empty bags get picked up ready to be reused.
Weigh and Pay
Weigh and Pay is the first zero-waste shop in Brixton Village, selling organic and plant-based wholefoods, household goods and cosmetics. The shop is stocking products from local businesses like natural deodorant maker Elsa’s Organic and skincare company Suneeta London.
Unit 33, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8PS
Fin and Earth
Run by Seda and Bert, Fin and Earth in Dalston stocks a range of plastic-free products from groceries and food to cleaning refills and lifestyle items. They also support environmental organisations like 1% For The Planet and Coral Guardian who are fighting to make the world a better place.
30 Shacklewell Ln, Dalston, London E8 2EZ