This month’s blog is a more practical one. We’re talking a lot about plastic and the harm that it will do, i.e. we all know that it’s important to avoid plastic whereever we can. But it can be hard to find shops where you can actually buy things that are NOT packaged in plastic.
You would think that shops like Wholefoods and Planet Organic would care more about sustainability aspects other than “organic” on their produce, but in my experience they only sell most of their fruit and veg plastic-free.
This is why this month’s blog is a non-exhaustive list of shops in North London, that I put together mainly from personal experience, where you can do your grocery shopping while avoiding plastic.
Parkway Greens – Camden Town
Big choice of fruit and vegetables not packaged in plastic. They have paper bags instead.
Note: it’s not entirely plastic free, some items like berries or spinach are packaged in plastic, so are sugar, couscous, pulses.
Earth Natural Foods – Kentish Town
If you want to shop plastic free in North London, they are one of the best shops to do that. They’ve got a good choice of rice, couscous, pasta, nuts, oats, pulses, tea, coffee in bulk sale, ie you package it yourself. They also have a lot of items in tins or glasses and they’ve got hygiene and cleaning products for refill, from shampoo to handwash and toilet cleaner. You can also find tooth-powder in a paper bag (as alternative to tooth paste), shampoo bars, and sun screen and deodorant in a tin.
Bumble Bee Natural Foods – Kentish Town
They’re spread over three different shops located right next to each other. You’ll find local fruit and vegetables unwrapped and some cleaning products for refill, as well as some alternative hygiene products, like wooden toothbrushs and shampoo bars wrapped in very little plastic, inside a cardboard box.
(I’m not sure if they offer some products in bulk like pulses and rice)
Thornton’s Budgens – Belize Park
This is the only shop from a mainstream chain that is featured on this list.
They’ve got a plastic free aisle, with supposedly about 1,700 plastic-free products from fruit and veg, bread and cheese and even wild game meat.
I find it fantastic that they’re showing that mainstream chains can offer better choices to their customers.
Hackney Bulk Store – Hackney Central
I know only two shops in North London that are ENTIRELY plastic free and this is one of them. You get everything in bulk and package yourself, eg rice, pasta, oats, nuts, dried fruit, pulses, couscous, quinoa, but also tea and coffee as well as oil and vinegar. They even have cat food on bulk and they’re constantly expanding their range of products.
They also have nice bread and some fruit and vegetables, all in paper bags. You can fill up containers with some hygiene and cleaning products and they have base ingredients for making your own makeup, like shea butter. They’ve also got some plastic-free versions of products that are hard to find elsewhere, such as toilet brushes.
And of course they have glas containers for you to buy in case you didn’t bring enough.
Hackney Fresh Vegan Zero Waste – Hackney Central
They’ve got a mix of vegan, organic, and zero waste products. They’re not entirely plastic free, but they’ve got some good fruit and vegetables, non plastic hygiene products like shampoo bars, and a vast (!) choice of hygiene and cleaning products for refill.
Get Loose Shop at the Hackney City Farm – Hackney / Haggerston
This is the other shop in North London that is ENTIRELY plastic free. It’s a very small shop, but they’ve got a good range of pasta, rice, pulses, nuts, dried fruits, and oats to buy in bulk. They also have tins of tomatoes, sardines, and juices, as well as locally produced cheeses, eggs, cookies, and banana bread.
They’re the only shop I know in London where you can get milk in glass bottles and yoghurt in glass containers. You pay a deposit for it, which you get back once you return them. Or you keep them and paid a small fee.
And just last week, they added tanks from which you can refill hygiene and cleaning products.
I hope this list was helpful for you and you discovered one or two new shops that make it easier for you to go plastic free.
We are very interested in making this list grow. If you come across any good stores for plastic-free shopping, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best,