When it comes to shopping, Manchester and Liverpool tend to have it all, but we’ve reviewed the best sustainable shops across the North West so whether you are on the Wirral or up in Cumbria we’ve got you covered with these eco-friendly shops who’ll support you in being more sustainable.
Writing about the North West, you can’t help spend a bit of time talking about textiles and we’ve got a few good slow fashion brands which have come out of Manchester. In Blackpool the light bulb capital of the north there’s even new start-ups bring sustainable products to the UK with the likes of EC Ecology who have just launched a range of child friendly reusable water bottles with patterns designed by the illustrator of popular children’s book ‘Who’s taken it?’, the reason they are child friendly? They don’t leak!
Waste Not Want Not - Birkenhead Market, Claughton Road, Birkenhead, CH41 2YH
"Although we are seeing an increasing amount of vegan options the zero waste options seem to be lacking in the North West. Alongside this, I've always wanted to employ homeless people, this was after I was homeless myself and now I have the opportunity to do so.”
Emily Gleaves has created a wonderful community not for profit which provides the people of Wirral an opportunity to shop plastic free and provides jobs for the homeless. The non-profit will be the only zero waste shop within 40 miles of Wirral where customers can bring their own containers or take home produce in recyclable paper bags. It’s no surprise that they have already been recognised for the service they are providing by winning the plastic free champions award from Surfers Against Sewage in November 2018.
Waste Not Want Not sells reusable straws, bamboo toothbrushes, re-usable face wipes and a fantastic range of other sustainably sources plastic free products.
Fletchers Fruit and Veg - Lythcoe House, Kents Bank Road, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7EY
Fletchers fruit and veg has a good selection of loose foods such as fruit, veg and a weigh your own selection of nuts and sweets. They also stock Ecover which is an environmentally friendly range of cleaning products, what great with these is Fletchers has refill options available. The Ecover range is also safe for animals and humans so you don’t have to worry about the risks involved with bringing dangerous chemicals into your home.
People’s Café – South Lakes Foyer, Blackhall, Kendal
Another great example of a pay what you can café the People’s Café diverts food waste from landfill into their kitchen where they serve up some tasty treats and meals. They are open every Saturday so if you are visiting the Lake district for a weekend its well worth popping in. Staffed by friendly volunteers you’ll be filled with great grub and local tips on the best hikes.
Cut the Wrap – 3b Upper Brook St, Ulverston LA12 7BH
“Refill not Landfill”
A packaging free shop with the moto ‘Refill not Landfill’ this gem is hidden down a side street in Ulverston. Known as the zero waste supermarket they were recently shortlisted for Ethical Business of the year award by the Federation of Small Businesses which is no small feat to be ranked amongst the top 150 ethical businesses in the UK.
Another example of the Attenborough effect this shop was set up by owners Cat and Paul after watching Blue Planet. The shop largely offers sustainable products such as bamboo tooth brushes and refillable cleaning supplies alongside a weigh your own selection of nuts and dried foods.
Single Step Whole Foods - 78A Penny St, Lancaster LA1 1XN
“We try to go as easy on the environment as we can. All our cleaning and bodycare products are eco-friendly and if you bring your bottles back we we refill them to save on plastic and cut costs.”
Single step whole foods have been doing plastic free almost since there was single use plastic to be free from, founded in 1976 this granddad of the zero waste movement has been helping Lancaster choose packing free products for 40+ years, from candles to a pinch of pepper no matter how big or small your order is Single step whole foods will be able to help and keep you single use plastic free. This workers co-op has a range of fruit, veg and refills on shampoos, soaps and detergents.
LIV Organic and Natural Food Market - 18-26 Bold St, Liverpool L1 4DS
Based in the centre of Liverpool directly opposite central station this large supermarket/ café/ restaurant has a bit of everything for people wanting the highest quality in organic, natural and free from products. LIV attempts to mimic the natural environment with their décor of wooden shelves and green colouring making this one of the nicest places to shop in our list. Their Food-to-Go range uses only recyclable, biodegradable, compostable or reusable packaging. All waste food is diverted from landfill to the Whitechapel centre where it is transformed into food for the homeless.
Boasting the largest range of bulk spices, cereals, fresh fruits and veg alongside every sustainable product we could think of the LIV Organic Natural Food will please any sustainable shopper in Liverpool.
Unicorn Grocery - 89 Albany Rd, Manchester M21 0BN
“We aim to trade in a manner which supports a sustainable world environment and economy.”
The unicorn grocery store lives up to its name by being a rare beast, the founders have set up a workers cooperative which invests 5% of its wage bill into charitable causes, pays its employees a living wage and has some pretty impressive sustainable credentials too, that’s a tick, tick tick for us. The Roof of their building is home to 825 square meters of wildflowers, ponds and meadow habitat. Inside the Unicorn is known for its selection of loose fresh produce and packaging free options with an ever growing range of re-usable option.
Its worth going over to their website just to check out their films section for some inspiration on sustainability and how they strive to achieve that.
When in store keep an eye out for green stickers on certain ranges, this indicates it’s from a company who conducts business in a certain way which unicorn are proud of and want to promote either for the ethical or sustainable credentials. UPSO Bags is one of those companies who by turning old lorry tarps into bicycle bags they’ve diverted a this waste product into an eye-catching upcycled product.
For all things sustainable and ethical in the north west this facebook page is worth checking out. They cover all big upcoming events and have an active membership group with inspiration and ideas.
And if you are on facebook it’s worth checking out the Zero Waste Kendall group too, they’ll keep you updated on the latest with the Peoples Café as well all other groups and activities going on around Kendal and the Lake district.
Village Greens Community Co-op - 1 Longfield Centre, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AY
“Being owned by the community we live in means we want to be able to connect with the people and groups in the Prestwich area and help everyone lead a happy, healthy and sustainable life”
Village Greens Community Co-op always has a vibrant range of fresh local fruit and veg with loose food dispenser for nuts, grains and cereals. Good value is a high priority for the village green, knowing their community want to choose affordable sustainable alternatives.
Blooming Eco - Wirral and Warrington Northern Harvest, Kenyon Hall Farm, Winwick Lane, Croft, Warrington WA3 7ED
If you want local products that are ethically made in Wirral then Blooming eco could be a great choice for your cleaning supplies, stocked by companies around the North West Northern Harvest has one of the broadest ranges available, you can even opt for home delivery.
Refill - Liverpool
Refill is an exciting new venture in Liverpool, starting off as a concession stand in Windmill Wholefoods this plastic free shop offers zero waste essentials kits to get you started on your plastic free journey including; cups, straws, plastic free bottles. As well as selling a range of loose and organic wholefoods. With more concessions, popup stalls and events planned for 2019 Refill is one to watch.
M20 Refills - Manchester
M20 Refills is Manchester Zero waste home delivery service supplying eco-friendly products to your door like a sustainable milkman, Fanni and Aaron are making living sustainably a little bit easier in Manchester. By using glass jars they can deliver and collect empty bottles for cleaning supplies, skincare and household supplies like coconut dish scourer.
Manchester is a city famous for its cotton, so famous in fact that in Australia they call the linen area of a shop the Manchester section (thankyou Manchester walking tours for that fact) so it’s not surprising that they are now reinvigorating the textile industry with sustainable slow-fashion brands. Fashion is the second most devastating industry to the planet after oil so next time you want to mix up the wardrobe keep an eye out for one of these eco-friendly fashion brands.
Otter & Goat - Manchester
“Our brand developed from a love of my sister, Jennie Webber's illustrations. Flicking through Jen's sketch book and seeing her thought-provoking illustrations, coupled with our love for fashion and eco-friendly living - Otter & Goat was born.”
Otter & Goat are committed to organic cotton which uses 60% less water in its farming and has a significant reduction in CO2 in its manufacturing process, not only that it pesticide/ herbicide free which is great for the surrounding areas to the farms which often become sterile mono-cultures.
It’s easy to see how they’ve drawn inspiration from nature, countryside and travelling and put that into the intricate prints of these well-crafted garments. The suppliers of cotton, bamboo and wood fibres are all carbon neutral making this fashion brand a really sustainable option. Adding to the ethical standards of this company they donate £1 from every sale to support Made With Hope charity who provide Tanzania with resources for schools, orphanages and water supplies.
Beaumont Organic - Manchester
“Contemporary Conscious Clothing”
The simple elegant designed by Beaumont organic are backed up by a company who value fair trade organic eco fabrics and really invest in their supply chain monitoring. All the organic cotton is traced from seed to stitch with GOTS certification, factories are regularly inspected and Beaumont works closely with the factories to support them in remaining sustainable suppliers. It was through this partnership work that they identified waste in the production process, seeing sustainably sourced organic cotton going to waste on the end of rolls they decided to make a range of products specifically with the end of roll in mind, in store you’ll notice a special label on End of Roll designs which are usually only one of 20 ever made. So if you want to help show suppliers that the End of Rolls are no longer waste pick out these limited edition items.
Sustainable shoppers is all about educating consumers in making informed choices when shopping, we want all of our community to understand what impact their shopping preferences have on the world and be conscious when selecting what to buy and that’s why we really love the level of detail that goes into Beaumont Organics labeling, if you want to promote ethically made or Made in UK then you can, if you want organic or traceable products then you can choose those too. We’d love to see this attention to detail being applied by more consumer brands and Beaumont helps show the industry how it can be done.
Community Clothing - Manchester
This is a really innovative community cooperative project which utilises empty factory space either due to being vacant or in down time and employs skilled workers to produce garments with a focus on building pride in the Made in Britain stamp. They are less environmentally focused than some on this list but do use sustainably sourced fabrics and importantly are working hard to provide quality made clothing and valuable jobs with a focus on working conditions and employee welfare in the textiles industry. Another great example of the slow fashion movement in Manchester.
Eco Wolfe - Liverpool
“Our vision is simple… to create an exciting and sustainable lifestyle brand from organic, recycled and ethically sourced materials that enables people to positively enjoy life, whilst protecting our planet and supporting communities for future generations.”
Based out of Liverpool this northern fashion brand has some real eco credentials, focusing on organic, recycled or ethically sourced materials they ensure dyes are ecologically friendly too. Ensuring that their supply chain stays environmentally responsible they only work with manufacturers who have the appropriate certification to ensure environmental standards are maintained. All items are hand printed in England which reduces carbon footprint and provides skilled jobs for local craftsmen and women. By making their clothes with natural and recycled materials, they are cutting down on the amount of fresh water being used as commercial cotton is the largest fresh water intensive crop requiring 22,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of cotton.