5 Zero Waste Shops That'll Help Make Going Plastic-Free Way Less Daunting

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Ani Dimi / Stocksy

You want to do your bit for the environment but knowing where to begin can be a task in itself. Sustainability is a hot topic at the moment and demand is growing for more zero-waste products. Thankfully, there are now plenty of zero-waste shops in the UK, making it that bit easier to live a bit more sustainably.

Plastic is a really big problem. National Geographic estimates that 40 percent of all plastic created is in fact packaging that is only used once before being discarded. And your average high street shop in the UK are still big offenders when it comes to plastic production. Greenpeace say UK supermarkets generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging each year. And now the government are even making a stand and have put a ban on cotton ear buds, plastic straws, and stirrers, which will come in place in April 2020.

As consumers, it can feel like your back's up against a wall; you don't want to use any unnecessary plastic, but the big brands make it so difficult to avoid the stuff. Now zero-waste shops are popping up all over the UK meaning plastic doesn't even have to be a part of the equation when you shop. From swap shops to cosmetic stores and grocers, these stores are stepping back in time and taking a similar approach to how shopping used to be done with paper bags and glass jars. So, if you can, get your tote bag ready and dive in.

Bring Your Own, London

Bring Your Own is based in Nunhead, and provides organic pulses, seeds, and dried fruits along with other household products you might need. You simply use scales to weigh out exactly how much you need, meaning even less waste is created!

Lush Naked Shop, Manchester

Lush are still one of the leading names in the fight for sustainable cosmetics. While all their shops have some package-free products, the Naked Shop in Manchester, which opened its doors earlier this year, is specifically 100 percent plastic free. Expect soaps and shampoos in bar forms, and of course the signature bath bombs, and not a plastic bag in site.

Natural Weigh, Crickhowell

Natural Weigh is the first zero-waste shop in Wales. Run by Robin and Chloe, two people who previously worked in the environmental sector, they know firsthand what plastic pollution can do. Bring in your own containers and fill up on some additive-free, organic groceries.

Harmless, London

Harmless, which is based in Green Wood, is a wonderful general store selling a little bit of everything. From food to cosmetics to household cleaning products, Harmless have got you covered. Plus, if you can email them your proposed shopping list, they'll let you know what they have in stock.

SHRUB Coop, Edinburgh

SHRUB Coop have a number of sustainable services in Edinburgh including a swap shop, where you can trade items, and a food sharing hub. They understand that the clothing industry has a big carbon footprint, so they run community workshops on how to fix and mend you clothes instead of throwing them away.

Living sustainably is a big undertaking, but it's all about approaching it one step at a time. Shopping at zero-waste stores is a great way to start, so it's definitely worth doing some research and seeing if there are any in your area that you can check out.

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