As I’ve been speaking about a fair bit on my stories recently, I’ve found myself becoming very invested in the zero waste movement. I recently asked whether any of my local Instagram followers know if there is a zero waste shop near me – and several people came back mentioning three in the area. So I thought I’d do a little more research and share the information with you guys.
Zero Waste Movement
To become part of the zero waste movement, you simply need to be dedicated to building an awareness of where single use plastic is being used, and how you can reduce your part in its perpetuation. If a growing number of people stop purchasing single use plastics then, over time, their manufacture should slow down. At least that’s the theory!
That makes it sound really straight forward, but the reality is it is and it’s not: yes, it’s that simple, but it’s not necessarily easy – plastic is everywhere.
And jumping on the bandwagon for #PlasticFreeJuly is a bit meaningless. There’s no point joining the movement less you’re committed to making a lifestyle change – forever.
Is It Realistic to Be Zero Waste?
For the sake of my conscience, I really, really want to eliminate plastic waste from my life. I know I can’t solve the problems this planet is facing, but I want to know I’m not contributing to them either.
That’s not to say my family has fully, 100% embraced banning plastic from our home; that’s actually not quite the point of sustainability – besides which, it feels impossible to achieve. If you have plastic in your home which serves an ongoing purpose, then that’s fine! It’s doing the job it was originally designed to do, and it’s serving a purpose. Reducing our purchases of single use plastic is what urgently needs addressing.
So how can you achieve this in everyday life?
Is There a Zero Waste Shop Near Me?
I decided to look into zero waste shops, and there are a surprising number of them around! And they only appear to be growing in popularity! If the BBC’s War on Plastic has affected everybody the same way it has me, then we’re about to undergo a huge shift in attitude; from turning a blind eye, to ambivalence – and hopefully soon – to indignation and action.
Here are twelve shops across Essex and surrounding areas where you can find dry produce with zero plastic, and shop using your own refillable containers:
1. Health Foods for You, Sudbury
They sell refillable dry foods, personal care items, and cleaning products, as well as typical health food shop items. You can even buy bamboo toothbrushes and vegetable brushes! Find them here.
2. Daily Bread Co-operative, Cambridge
Stocking refillable dry foods and environmentally friendly and cruelty free cleaning products, toiletries and cosmetics, there’s plenty of choice. A substantial part of their profit is invested in their chosen charities listed on their website. Find them here.
3. The Green Parrot, Swaffham, Suffolk
With more than 40 refillable items listed on their website, they have a huge range of dried foods to choose from! They also have a clinic for 16 different treatments/practices, including sports massage, acupuncture, yoga, and hypnotherapy. Find them here.
4. Bury Wholefoods, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
This shop looks amazing, another one I wish was closer to me! The have dried foods, honey, spreads and oils, drinks, personal care items, and eco-friendly household products! My favourite thing about this shop is that you can narrow your search by diet, easily filtering products suitable for vegans or dairy-free, etc. Find them here.
5. An Ethical Life, Great Bentley
Sells dry foods and snacks, refillable products, and personal care items. They have a second store opening in Colchester soon, and they also deliver locally. Find them here.
6. Colchester Food Coop, Colchester
Organic, ethical and affordable packaged and unpackaged food and other household items. Find them here.
7. Lathcoats Farm, Great Baddow
I’m literally updating this post less than an hour after originally publishing having just discovered this little gem practically on my doorstep! Looks like their website is yet to be updated to reflect the new refillable station, but eye spy on Facebook that they have a selection of dry foods including nuts and cereals, and even chocolatey items! Yum. I know where I’m going this weekend! Find them here.
8. REco, Tiptree
A converted shipping container(!) which unfortunately appears not to have a website, however you can find them here on Facebook. They sell environmentally friendly, refillable cleaning products, beauty products and dried foods, with plans to expand their ranges. Update: you can find them here.
9. The Refill Room, Leigh-on-Sea
Stocking dry foods, drinks, beauty products, and household goods, this is one I plan to visit myself soon! Find them here.
10. Bare Bazaar, Ashford, Kent
Their tagline is ‘food, but nude’. They stock a variety of dry foods, toiletries, and household products. They usually offer delivery, but the service is currently suspended as the lady who runs the shop has just delivered a baby! Find them here.
11. Unboxed, Canterbury
Selling fresh fruit and veg, refillable dried foods, oils, vinegars, tea, coffee, and cleaning products – I wish they were located closer to where I live! Find them here.
12. SILO Zero Waste, Maldon
Carrying eco groceries, toiletries, and cleaning products, I was so excited to find out about this new place which is not too far from me! Find them here.
13. REco, South Woodham Ferrers
REco have opened a new store – hurrah! They have a good selection of home and beauty products as well as plenty of refillable grocery items.
14. Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Colchester
Refillable dry foods and environmentally friendly cleaning products, as well as secondhand electricals. Services are available for repairing, or collecting items to be sold on or stripped down for recycling.
The link to this shop has broken so it seems either the website has not been maintained, or they may have closed their doors.
Sustainability is a massive learning curve when plastic is used in everything, and being zero waste can seem overwhelming and completely out of reach. But, if your carbon footprint is important to you, there are small steps you can take to start to start working towards being greener – if not 100% zero waste.
Even small changes are valid – it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being better.
I hope this post will help you if you’re based in Essex and have also been wondering if there’s a zero waste shop near me.
See more posts about living a more sustainable life here.