In the towns and cities across the west midlands zero waste shops are starting to pop up, you’ll notice most of the businesses in this list are fairly new and the majority were started in 2018, so its an exciting time to be going plastic free in Birmingham or Bromsgrove. This growth doesn’t come as a surprise to a former Birmingham resident, when I was there you could see the community trialing these ideas with pop up shops and market stalls so its great to see that the best amoungst them are now moving into bricks and mortar and building a real base for the zero waste community to call home in the West Midlands.
Clean Kilo 1 Gibb St, Birmingham, B9 4AA,
“With the frivolous use of unnecessary plastic for food packaging that we had seen, (items like single bell peppers in shrink wrap) Jeanette asked the question, 'Why is there not a supermarket with no plastic packaging?'.”
Jeanette and Tom were unlikely people to set up the UK largest zero waste supermarket, for starters Tom had no experience in retail but importantly was inspired whilst studying his Chemistry Phd in Australia by the packaging free shops he visited out there and with that inspiration decided to bring the idea to Birmingham. Luckily Jeanette has a track record in small businesses and kept the show on the road leading to what is arguably the best zero waste store in the UK.
Having lived in Birmingham it’s no surprise that they chose the trendy Digbeth area to set this store up, right in the middle of Birminghams creative district and around the corner from the iconoc birds custard factory this area is perfect for a zero waste store and no doubt helped by Digbeths food scene on its monthly digbeth dinning night. Tom and Jeanette tested the market by making the Clean Kilo a kickstarter funded business and once they raised £20,000 opened up knowing that there was a hungry audience of investors ready to bring along their own containers. If you were near Birmingham at the time of its opening you couldn’t miss the amazing job they did with spreading the zero waste word managing to get coverage across the BBC, Birmingham Mail, Huffpost and Midlands Today programme.
With the largest selection of loose and bulk items in the UK I won’t begin to list out all the grains, rices, pastas, nuts, seeds and much more that’s available in store but what is great to see is a commitment to local producers which they are working closely with to drive down the amount of packaging being brought into their shop.
“To cut down on plastic packaging, for example with our rapeseed oil from Staffordshire, we send 25 litre jerry cans to them, which they fill. That’s straight from their machine into our containers, no single use plastic at all.”
If you pass by Digbeth on your morning commute its also worth checking out their zero waste breakfast club where you can grab a bowl of oganic cereal or museli or both! Then top them up with dried fruit, nuts or seeds and add locally produced milk.
Educating the wider Birmingham public is key to making this business and the zero waste movement a success in such a large polluted city and that’s why they hold a series of workshops and talks on topics likes making your own soaps or disch washing scrubbies and on living healthy plastic free lifestyles.
Indigo Foods - 50-52 St Marys Row Moseley Birmingham B13 8JG
As a previous resident on Moseley this was my go to shop when I lived round the corner, ran by an extremely passionate owner whose site is worth checking out for her blog posts on their own. Stocks a range of refills for household detergents and unpacked fruit and veg. This shop has a long history in the plastic free arena and well worth popping in to pick up some bulk refills and inspiration.
The Broad Bean - 60 Broad St, Ludlow SY8 1NH
The Broad Bean in Ludlow has a good selection of packaging free foods, including loose grains, refills and deli items. They also stock an eco friendly range of refills for detergents and soaps from Ecover.
Pack It In - Unit 7,8,9 The Gallery (The Old Market Hall), The Shambles, Worcester, WR1 2RD
“ We want to provide you with affordable and yes, convenient, package-free products to help you to live more sustainably.”
A mother and son business, Pack It In came out of one mothers journey to going zero waste, after doing a plastic audit on her own life Philippa removed plastic everywhere she could but struggled to find bulk buying options locally. Knowing that this would be a problem for the growing community of zero wasters in Worcester and wanting a change in career Philippa roped in her son to opening their own zero waste shop.
All of their products are plastic free, palm oil free, GM free and vegan friendly and where possible they’ll bring in Organic, Locally sourced and fair trade products.
Taste Not Waste - 50A High Street, Telford
Taste Not Waste has a policy to prevent filling landfills with fresh food that can be put to use and that couldn’t come at a better time for Telford than now, when the area has seen escalating food prices and wage stagnation and with Telford seeing a rise in the number of people using food banks Taste Not Waste has stepped in to divert food waste from the landfills towards the Food Banks where people can pick up nutritional food.
Not only are they feeding the people of Telford but they are giving vital education too, offering cooking classes to help families on a budget cook ‘healthy basic wartime meals’ and to aid parents in getting their children to try healthy meals by disguising the food.
If you head down to their brand new community fruit and veg shop you’ll be supporting an excellent community project and getting locally gown affordable food too.
Zero Store -Coventry
“Meeting in the park with our little ones, we talked about our dreams for a place where we could do our food shop without all the excessive wrapping and packaging; in fact, without any packaging at all.”
After Charlie and Marisa met working as teachers the mothers realised that they had a shared passion in all things eco-friendly and reusable and decided to take on a new challenge together, one which they could bring their families along with and make a big impact for their little area of the West Midlands.
You can find Zero stores ‘Mini Zero’ inside shops in Binley Woods, Rugby Town Centre and Leamington Spa see location details here Charlie and Marisa also run regular pop up shops across Warwickshire and if you find it difficult to come to them then they’ll come to you, with a home delivery service across Coventry they’ll bring all your favourite plastic free products in compostable paper bags to your door.
Stock includes a wide range of dried herbs including herbs and spices, freshly baked sourdough bread, local chocolate, refillable eco-friendly cleaning products, and plastic free toiletries.
If you are in a hurry you can always use their plastic free pre-order service where they’ll ensure all your items are weighted and ready for you to collect.
PACK YOUR OWN - Kitchen Garden, 17 York Rd, Birmingham B14 7SA
A home delivery service providing the people of Birmingham sustainable packaging free alternatives to your door. Set up by 2 families with one aim, to reduce waste and live a simpler sustainable life. These families wanted to share that aim with Kings Heath and the wider Birmingham community and build a low waste plastic free Birmingham.
You can order environmentally sustainable unpackaged groceries including; dried foods, such as grains and cereals, chocolate drops, teas, coffee and baking goods, as well as items that reduce the need for single use plastics, such as wooden toothbrushes, reusable cloths and plastic free toothpaste.
With two ways to get your zero waste supplies by either having them delivered to you on Wednesdays or Friday mornings by their cargo trike (covering Moseley, Kings Heath and Stirchley) or go along to the Kitchen Garden between 09:30 – 11:30 or 17:00 – 18:30 at Fletchers next door.
Green Options Zero Waste Shop - Darwin centre, Shrewsbury SY1 1PL
Taking Shrewsbury into the zero waste age, the Green Options Zero Waste Shop has over 50 refillable foods including grains, oats, rice, dried fruit and nuts. Also offering popular eco friendly refills on cleaning liquids and detergents. Now open 5 days a week from 09:30 – 17:00 Tuesday – Saturday.
This little Zero Waste store is growing fast and we look forward to seeing where it can take the zero waste movement in Shrewsbury.
Snapdragon Wholefoods – 14A Claremont St, Shrewsbury SY1 1QG
With a 25 year career spanning across catering and the food industry this shop shines through that experience into the products that it offers. Snapdragon only work with ethical co-operatives who can offer sustainably sourced bulk foods, they also stock refills for eco-friendly detergents and washing liquids.
HODGEHILL FARM SHOP - Birmingham Road Kidderminster Worcestershire DY10 3NR
The guys at Hodgehill farm shop grow much of the produce themselves and marked with Malc’s Home Grown range, anything these industrious growings cant make themselves is sourced from their local farming community which leads to a very low food mile shopping experience in store.
MARGARET HILLS HEALTH & LIFESTYLE - 7 Millar Court 43 Station Road Kenilworth Warwickshire CV8 1JD
“we aim to create a space where people feel inspired to improve their health through diet, supplementation, and a chemical-free lifestyle”
Encouraging customers to use their refilling service of various products to minimise use of plastic they offer refills for: Bio D range of Washing up Liquid, Laundry Liquid, Toilet Cleaner, Multi Surface Sanitiser, Sanitising Hand Wash, Fabric Conditioner, Faith in Nature Shampoo & Shower Gel, Suma Shampoo & Conditioner.
SISTERS AGAINST PLASTIC BUYING GROUP - https://www.facebook.com/groups/330006114418776
“Two sisters. Too much plastic. One New Years resolution.
Can our 2 families make a difference to our planet in 1 year?”
Proving sibling rivalry can be a healthy dose of competition Teresa and Mary battled it out to see who could take their shared New Year resolution the furthest and rid their lives of plastic waste. Over the course of 2018 the pair competed and blogged about how they each went through their homes and systematically cut the plastic. Both weighing every gram of plastic brought into the house each month to see where it’s coming from and track how much they have cut. Once they’d realised that there were many other families in Lichfield going through the same daily challenges as them they decided to set up a zero waste buying group, which helps families pool their resources and buy in bulk from the wholesalers where you can then collect in your own containers which saves on plastic and you pay wholesale prices! Go and join their facebook group for details on how you can get involved and start saving on pennies and plastic.
Natures Intention - 2 High St, Bromsgrove B61 8HQ
“I tried to find a no-waste store near me and I couldn’t find anywhere, so I thought I’d just do it myself.”
The inspiring Emily Attwell at only 22 decided to bring a zero waste shop to Bromsgrove when she couldn’t find anyone filling that ethical gap in the market. After switching to a vegan lifestyle Emily started seeing the broader environmental impact of her daily living and so wanted to offer a zero waste alternative to the towns local supermarkets.
Offering sustainable alternatives to the usual plastic products you’ll be able to pick up bathroom products like bamboo toothbrushes as well as a selection of dried foods including chocolate, beans and fruits. Ensuring her business reflects her personal ethics all products are Vegan friendly too. As part of their mission to be zero waste no products will be sold in single use plastic so don’t forget your bags or jars.
ROOTS LARDER – Tranquility Show Room In Castlefields, Stafford ST16 1BQ
A zero waste shop with customer service at its heart, Roots Larder make the refillable shopping experience as easy as possible by as they describe it:
“come in and be served in the ‘NEW’ old fashioned way. We will prepare your produce for you, while you wait”
The personal service here means great advice and saves you working out the weight of your container compared to the grains you filled them with. Making life even easier you can drop in your containers and a shopping list and they’ll do it all for you ready for collection once you’ve finished browsing the high street. With a quality selection of spices, herbs, grains, pulses, cereals, legumes, dried fruits, nuts and loose leaf tea you should find all the refillable staples you need.