Our experiences over the last 18 months have changed the way we live forever, and that includes the way we shop. Buying locally has never been more important, both as a way of providing vital support to independent businesses but also as a means of living more sustainably and reducing our carbon footprints. So with the welcome arrival of Zero Waste Week (6-10 September), it seems the perfect time to discover the brilliant refill stores and zero-waste shops in London where you can buy the finest organic and eco-friendly produce.
Alongside Zero Waste Week, this month is Organic September. Spearheaded by the Soil Association, the campaign aims to get us thinking about climate change, the benefits of organic food and farming methods, and the changes we can make. Its message is simple: small changes make a big difference, and making that difference isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. London’s eco-conscious and zero-waste shops are packed full of organic produce and sustainable, eco-friendly products that help make going green a no-brainer.
More often than not, these eco businesses offer bulk shopping: you bring along a container, weigh it to determine the tare (the weight of your empty container) and then you fill it with whatever you desire. You then pay by weight, not unit. Such stores also make a point of stocking products from local suppliers in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint. And at a time when supporting local business seems more critical than ever, making planet-friendly choices as we shop is a win for everyone. Here are the zero-waste shops in London to have on your radar.
Billing itself as an organic refill market, Bygram is the place to come and stock your cupboards with planet-friendly, vegan goodness. Everything in the sleekly-designed store is sold by the gram (hence the name), from acai berry powder and adzuki beans to grains, herbs and spices, offered alongside a carefully curated edit of products from small local makers. And for Fulhamites too busy to make a trip, there’s good news: you can call up with your order and have everything delivered by bike the very next day.
795 Fulham Road, Parsons Green, London SW6
Promoting a zero-waste, sustainable and low-impact lifestyle, BYO operates from a store within Tooting Market. Subscribing to author Bea Johnson’s five principles of zero-waste living – refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot – every effort is made to create a more sustainable, circular economy. Take their Fit Pit Natural Deodorant, for example: return your empty jar to BYO and you’ll not only receive money off your next purchase, but Fit Pit’s creators will also then close the loop by sterilising the jars and reusing them.
Tooting Market, 21-23 Tooting High Street, Tooting, London, SW17
This sustainable and plastic-free lifestyle store is on a mission to help you reduce your consumption of single-use plastics in style. You’ll find all the pulses, grains, dried fruits and organic nuts you’ve come to expect from a store like this, but they also stock wonderful little hidden gems such as organic and refillable Curly Vision Hair Repair Oil to repair split ends and Self Care Co vegan soy wax aromatherapy candles designed to combat anxiety. Plus, Fin and Earth support the brilliant environmental work being done by 1% for the Planet and Coral Guardian.
30 Shacklewell Lane, Hackney, London, E8
The aim of this gorgeous low-waste refillery in Peckham is to make living sustainably as fun and easy as possible. Founders Tash Gorst and Laura Swidzinska gather together products that are as good for you as they are for the planet – everything from food to cleaning products and toiletries – and they’re on a mission to motivate us to make, reduce and reuse. The duo also proactively encourage sustainable recommendations from the local community by way of a suggestions jar.
121 Bellenden Road, Peckham, London, SE15
If proof were needed of the growing popularity of the zero-waste movement, Greener Habits Co is it. Following the success of her online shop, founder Hannah Colbert celebrated the opening of her bricks and mortar store in 2019 following a successful crowdfunding campaign. All that people power has been put to good use, creating a beautiful shopping space that makes a vegan, zero-waste lifestyle accessible to all. Current bestsellers include their charcoal detox soap bars and Earth Conscious natural deodorant sticks.
35 St James Street, Walthamstow, London, E17
Liberté Chérie might very well be the most stylish zero-waste delicatessen in London – so it’s no wonder their branded totes have become the bag to be seen with in Notting Hill. A plastic-free purveyor of fine foods, you can pick up a vast array of delicious goodies here, including organic and premium spices, artisan vegan cheeses and Tempeh made in Hackney Wick, while their free range eggs have been described by one customer as ‘the best eggs in London’. Anything you can’t find, owner Charles Pelletier and his brilliant team will source for you.
291 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, W10
Dedicated to reducing plastic waste not only in its refillable, pay-by-the-weight concept, but also in its supply chain, Re:Store is committed to sourcing the most ethical products around. Most of its food items are organic and vegan, and its eco-friendly home and beauty brands are names you need to know (be sure to check out London-based Upcircle). Happily, if you live in an E5, E8 or E9 postcode, the essentials will now come to you courtesy of Re:Store’s partnership with TopUpTruck, an old electric milk float turned mobile shop.
17 Amhurst Terrace, Hackney, E8
With six stores across London, from Battersea and Putney to Crouch End and West Hampstead, Source Bulk Foods has become one of the capital’s go-to destinations for shoppers looking to reduce their waste and buy more mindfully. With over 450 bulk foods on offer, including organic wholefoods, cooking oils and sustainable household products, going plastic-free has never been easier. What’s more, if you can’t make it to a store you can shop online and have your waste-free groceries delivered straight to your door.
99 St John’s Road, Battersea, London, SW11
24 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London, W4
3 The Broadway, Crouch End, London, N8
135 Putney High Street, Putney, London, SW15
16 The Quadrant, Richmond, London, TW9
276 West End Land, West Hampstead, NW6