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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Collis

Shopping the zero waste way

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

As part of Plastic Free July I promised myself I would finally get down to my nearest eco friendly refill stores; All Good Things in Fareham and Pickle & Pea in Portchester, to see what they offer! 🙌💚

Buying your kitchen, bathroom and home staples from your local zero waste shop is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and plastic use. Some specialise in fresh, locally sourced produce, others are completely plastic free, and the vast majority stock plenty of vegetarian/vegan products! During lockdown I took a really hard look at the amount of food and products we buy and waste, so I now know where we can save and how. I switched to a local fruit and veg delivery which served us really well, but now I can get my daily stroll/cycle in and go choose our goodies, rather than having them delivered to my door.

Refills I’m super late to the party and only popped my refill cherry the other week (😮🤭🍒) but let me tell you, it’s easy once you know what’s available and how to use the scales. Here are a few handy tips:

- Find out what's on offer! Scout out the place online before, or pay a quick visit just to get your bearings. Then, the trick is in the planning....

- Make a list of the items you need at home. This is a biggie - wait until things have run out before replacing. Purging your cupboards of everything in plastic defeats the point! Your goal is to buy the amount of something you need (in a reusable container), when you need it. Maybe your first trip feels like it won't make a difference, but it will! These are just a few of the items you'll come across in a zero waste shop: Liquids; dish soap, juices, milks, shampoo, conditioner. Dry goods; cereals, baking ingredients, flour, pasta, rice, raisins, seeds, nuts, dried fruit. Fresh fruit; apples, citrus fruit (lemons, oranges and limes), bananas, plums. Fresh vegetables; onions, courgettes, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, chillies.

Bakery; bread, cake, biscuits, snacks.

Cleaning; dish soap, sponges, brushes, biodegradable bags. Bathroom; toothbrushes, tooth tabs, scrubbies, sanitary products, deodorant, lotions, potions, suncream.

Think about how each of these items are packaged in the supermarket. Even making one switch to refill, that's a LOT of single use plastic saved!

- Organise the storage you need to take. You don't need to rush out and buy a load of Kilner jars straight away, just use whatever you can! Clean, empty bags, jars, boxes, tins, bottles... plus it's worth taking a few extras, y'know, just in case 😆

- Weigh your storage, load up with goodies, pay at the till and you’re set! ✨ It can take a few tries to get to grips with taring your storage then filling your items in store, but that's what life is about - new experiences! No two zero waste shops are the exact same either, so if you need a little help just ask at the counter. I'll bet any worries will be washed away on a sea of handy advice, as indie business owners actually care about your experience as a customer!

Are you sold yet?

If the idea of saving a lifetime of plastic food packaging from going to landfill doesn't float your boat already, nothing beats supporting a local independent business. The money that you spend casts a vote for the kind of world you want to live in and that is HUGE. Yes, those big brands are easy to use, but so are refills if you do them right. The more of us that vote with our money, the louder and more effective our war cry. Last but not least, perhaps your local zero waste shop also serves as a community hub as well. Maybe they offer a plant swap and drop or display a local noticeboard? Chances are, you'll come away from it having met some fellow eco warriors, gathered inspiration for your next meal, or even planned your next plastic swap. I picked up this Earth Conscious deodorant in All Good Things - it’s made across the Solent, on the Isle of Wight and smells amazing! 🧡

The first steps are always the hardest, but there's a whole load of us in the same boat, trying to do our best out there! To find your nearest zero waste shop and join a community that doesn't cost the earth, visit or tap your location + zero waste into your search engine of choice eg. 'hampshire zero waste'. Charlie 🌿

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