4 shops in Brighton to help you on your way to a Zero Waste lifestyle

Zero Waste. 

 

It’s a term that is being used a lot lately, even I have used it in the past, like when I wrote about the best Zero Waste places to shop online here and about buying sustainable Christmas presents here.

It’s all well and good that there is access to places online, and it is certainly easier in this day and age to buy items and products online. However, if we think about how those items are delivered to us, it still involves shipping from abroad or driving across country, which in turn uses up precious resources. We either rely on convenience when it comes to buying anything for our homes, be it food, personal hygiene or cleaning products that we don’t even think about what it is that is wrapped around these items. The packaging for these items are often at times non recyclable, and end up in landfill or in the oceans, ultimately ending up in our food chain. Animals are being poisoned and dying because of plastic pollution, and it’s thanks to programmes like Blue Planet and Drowning in Plastic that are bringing light and spreading the word on the war against plastic. It’s finally starting to open peoples eyes, though there are still quite a few who unfortunately  prefer the convenience of wrapped goods and who, quite frankly, just don’t give a damn about the environment. Which, is just sad and heart breaking. It’s also down to education, not knowing where to go to start living a more eco-conscious life that is preventing consumers from making ethical decisions on what they are buying and how they affect the environment.

It is due to this demand in the market that there are now more options out there to help you on your way to making better decisions. Slowly but surely, some supermarkets are making changes to ensure that they are selling more ethical products to benefit not just their customer but also the environment. However, that is few and far between, as it’s something that will take a long time. In the meantime, there are some actual packaging free shops that are around and have been established for a few years now.

These shops are known as whole food stores or Zero Waste shops. These establishments are basically Greengrocers, like how we used to have years ago before the throw away culture came in to being. Zero Waste and whole food shops specialise in packaging free items and organic foods, things that have not been treated or near harmful chemicals and toxins, and are more better for our health. They also aim to prevent more plastic ending up in landfill and in our oceans, harming wildlife and releasing toxins in to the food system.

So, why Brighton? Well, I was going to visit a friend from University, who recently moved to Brighton. I love Brighton! I love how forward thinking the city is, how they celebrate all walks of life and all the interesting little independent shops they have. It’s because of this that I was interested in seeing if they had any local Zero Waste shops. The night before I drove down, I had a little look online to see if they did have nay shops, and I was pleasantly surprised! When I got to my friend’s, I mentioned these stores to them, as one was literally just down her road. Thankfully, she is like me and wants to make better decisions and help save the planet with her choices, so she also wanted to check these places out with me!

I also wanted to explore these places, incase some of you guys and girls did not know about them and may want to check them out when you next visit Brighton, or were also thinking of relocating to the city and needed to know where you can go for your fresh and packaging free shopping needs!

Infinity Foods

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(Image credit: Happy Cow)

This shop is one of my absolute favourites! I’ve visited it before and I could spend an hour browsing the shelves, perusing the isles of products they provide and blow my entire month salary on bits and bobs… Or food.

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It made me giddy to see they have a whole selection of packaging free and eco-friendly items for sale that were made from natural ingredients, eco-conscious, cruelty free and vegetarian or vegan. I got lost in the sniffing of shampoo bars, toothbrush powders (yes, it is a real thing!) and squealing over refillable household cleaning solutions. And, of course, scanning the food shelves for anything tasty. I think my friend might have thought I has lost my mind. It’s just that, sadly, we don’t have this in my local town or local Sainsbury’s.

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(My own image)

Now, Infinity Foods are far from perfect, as there are some things that were for sale that were not recyclable due to what the packaging was made from, for example crisp packets, plastic tubs and wrapped foods. But, even though this is the case, they are doing a lot more than most of our local and major supermarkets are in the war against plastic. You can find out more about Infinity Foods here.

Down To Earth

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(My own image)

The next day we visited the other 3 zero waste shops. We took a walk down the road from her flat towards a shop called Down to Earth. Down to Earth is a tiny little store that is completely vegetarian. It stocks loose vegetables from local farms, has refillable jars of pulps and grains as well as household cleaning products.

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(My own image)

The majority of it’s bath, body and cosmetics items were also cruelty free, however they weren’t as packaging free as I thought it would be. Again, this isn’t that bad, they are actively trying to be, which is more than can be said for supermarket chains! I really liked Down to Earth, it was tiny bit mighty and has a great message! I love that they have reusable metal water bottles from companies that donate some of it’s profits to helping clean up the oceans. You can find out more about Down to Earth on their websites here.

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My friend and I ventured in to Brighton centre again but closer to the train station towards Brighton Open Market. It was in here that we came across some cute little stores, cafe’s and restaurants.

Wastenot

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It is in the Open Market where the next Zero Waste shop is located. This shop is called Wastenot. Wastenot has only eco-friendly, recyclable packaging or items that come with no packaging at all. I also love the bare, stripped back, exposed wood look they’ve gone for inside the shop.

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One of the things I love is that they take in people’s old jars and encourage their customers to use those jars for their refills.

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They had shelves full of refillable jars where you can fill up your own containers and restock your cupboards at home in a sustainable way!

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They also had some hygiene products available, including a bamboo and stainless steel razor! They stocked some Faith in Nature soap bars, which is vegan and cruelty free!

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Like the other zero waste stores, they also have refillable bays where you can refill your plastic bottles with cleaning products for your home.

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In the centre of the shop they had a freestanding island that displayed some reusable straws, food wraps, bags, baskets and cups. For a market store that was so small, it was very well stocked  with items and products that were completely packaging free! I thought it was very impressive and efficient.

 

How It Should Be (HISBE)

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HISBE is a really big and edgy zero waste store. It’s exactly like how a Greengrocer used to be, except it’s more modern and appeals to a younger audience. Their branding and identity style looks very similar to that of Interior Designer and mumprenuer Sarah Akwisombe and her No Bull Business School.

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Majority of the vegetables were plastic wrap free! It was so refreshing to see copious amounts of different variety of kale lining the shelves without being confined by packaging! You could easily stock up on all the vegetables you’d need for any dishes for the next couple of weeks here without having to worry about filling up landfills with plastic and non recyclable items.

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Now this is a bulk buying station I can really get behind! HISBE had bay upon bay of loose ingredients that you could bulk buy in your own containers and weigh up how much it is, minus the weight of your jar or container. This often ends up being cheaper than buy the packaged goods! They had everything you could want or need, from lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and dried fruits to pasta, rice, cereals and spices. It is honestly amazing how much they had for you to choose from!

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Of course, they also had refilling bays for your washing up liquids and cleaning solutions. At the back of store there is this reclaimed wood decorated wall with pumps and taps where you can fill up your empty bottles with household cleaning products, as well as a little butcher’s table where some laundry detergent bottles are waiting to be used. All of the cleaning products on display are cruelty free and eco-friendly! And, just in case you didn’t already have your own environmentally friendly and natural cleaning products, they have some new bottles that are already filled on display for you to buy and try out at home. The bottles are recyclable, however once you’ve used it all up, you can come back in to the store to refill them. It’s a win win!

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As well as household cleaning products, they also had personal hygiene items for sale and they are all, for the most part, packaging free. Even if it wasn’t, the packaging itself is recyclable or reusable in some way or another, with the exception of the every now and then plastic wrap. Again, they aren’t perfect, but they are damn close!

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As mentioned above, HISBE does stock some products that are packaged. It is still difficult to completely avoid plastic in some cases, however they do try their hardest to not have any items with it included in the packaging. They stock freshly baked bread that is both with and without plastic packaging. There are also glass bottles of sauces and cooking oils as well as tins of fruit and vegetables. Boxes of tea and coffee, you get the picture! And it’s all organic or responsibly sourced.

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What I loved about this shop most of all was that they proudly support local businesses! Along their shelves they had different products available to buy from local farms and establishments, such as glass bottles of sauces from the Brighton Chilli Shop and also bottles of Brighton Gin. I’m a massive gin lover, so there’s no surprise there that I spotted these bottles so high up. That, and the fact that they were so brightly coloured really drew my eye to them. Each individual gin bottle had one of the colours of the rainbow on them as well as a letter that, I’m assuming, spells out the word Brighton. The B was missing from the line up and instead it spelt “Right On”. I thought this was actually quite clever, whether it was intentional or not. The rainbow colour show support for Gar Pride but the Right On also possibly indicates that love is love is love or that being eco friendly is the way to go, or it just simply was missing the B that spells out Brighton. I read in to things way too much, so that latter could just be the case. Either way, it’s AWESOME!

The Haul

That’s right. I was suckered in to buying a few pieces for myself to take home. I mean, I had to! I am guilty of not always having a reusable bag ready whenever I pop in to the shops even just to buy myself some lunch, let alone an actual proper food shop or clothes shopping. So, I thought it was time to buy things that would help me when I go shopping for loose produce.

 

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Of course, I could not resist going in to Lush to get a few bits and pieces. They weren’t even for me! I got them for my boyfriend, who I introduced to their products a few years ago and now he is as obsessed as I am! You might be thinking that they aren’t zero waste, but they are! In case you did not know this, Lush’s pots are recyclable. They have a policy where if you bring in 5 empty Lush pots, whether they are the black ones or the clear ones, you get a free face mask and the pots that you return to them go back to their manufacturing facilities to be recycle and made in to new pots. This means that is isn’t mixed with any other materials and it won’t become a lesser product. It follows the cradle to cradle ideals! In addition to this, Lush also sell a lot of products that are zero waste and packaging free. You can find out more about what Lush are doing to be zero waste here.

I got myself a couple of small cotton netted bags from Turtle Bags to use when I got to the supermarket and buy loose produce, a solid shampoo bar by Friendly Soap, Georganics Natural Toothpowder and a Mooncup from Infinity Foods. One of the small organic Turtle bags to my boyfriend as well for when he goes to the shops.

 

When I visited HISBE, I got two more Turtle Bags but these were bigger and looked more like shopping bags. Turtle Bags have been around since 2001, spreading awareness of how harmful plastic bags have become to the environmental and wildlife. They created their own shopping bags made from fair trade and organic cotton, and a lot of their profit goes towards spreading awareness and creating opportunities for disadvantaged producers. You can find out more about Turtle Bags here. They also make beautiful tote and canvas bags from recycled materials as well which also look really fashionable! Keep up the good fight, Turtle Bags!

 

I’m hoping that by buying these products, it will help influence me to continue to be more selective with what I am buying and bringing in to my home and that it will really get me to think about the products end life or how I impact the environment with my consumerism.

 

What do you think of these stores? Have you been to them before? What are you doing to be more eco friendly at home? Have you got any tips on how to be more zero waste? I’d love to hear what you guys are doing or how you tackle the war on plastic everyday! Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

 

I hope this post has been insightful and has helped anyone that hasn’t started yet know that it’s easy once you know where to look around and see where you can source things to be packaging free. Slowly but surely there are more shops opening up across the UK in cities that are being more ethical and sustainable with the items they sell which helps spread more awareness. I know it’s a long way off before everyone goes plastic free, but if we take a step forward each day and make conscious decisions when purchasing our food and other necessities, we can make a huge difference! Not just for our homes, but for wildlife, for sealife, for our oceans, our land, our planet, our one and ONLY home, and for the future of our children, our grandchildren and the future generations to come. In the words of Sir David Attenborough:

“Never before have we been so aware of what we are doing to our planet – and never before have we had such power to do something about it.” – Sir David Attenborough

Speak to you all soon!

Danica x

2 responses to 4 shops in Brighton to help you on your way to a Zero Waste lifestyle

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