I am in the process of updating this post – so please ignore any quirky layout changes.
Wanna know where to buy bulk in London?
The answer is a little all over the place…. literally… but the list is growing! I thought I’d list some of the other places where you can find bulk items in London.
A lot of these places aren’t specifically bulk, but offer a few items that I’ve found useful. If you know of any others then please let me know and I’ll try and keep this list up to date in case new locations open up or I find out about them. Also, remember that Bea Johnson has a bulk locator on her blog zerowastehome.com so def check that out too!
Finally! A store dedicated to shopping without packaging has arrived in London. Most recently at a pop-up location in Dalston, East London but now in the process of moving to a permanent location. With a growing list of refillable items available, from (all organic) grains, pulses, pastas, oats, seeds, nuts, spices, salt and herbs to harder to find items such as maple syrup, honey, yoghurt, cream (!), nut butter, essential oils, cosmetic clays, loo roll cleaning products and even dog food! It really is a one-stop shop for almost everything. Lots of locally sourced, organic fresh produce too!
Newly opened zero waste shop in South London, hetu is vegan focussed, selling a range of organic dry goods, liquid refills and reusables to make a zero waste lifestyle that little bit easier. As well as a vast range of dry goods, hetu sells organic cleaning refills from Greenscents (my fave!), maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and personal care products. The range is expanding by the day too! The gravity bulk bins are made from glass, herbs and spices are housed in wooden topped jars with vintage spoons, a plastic-free machine grinds fresh nut butter and there’s kombucha on tap. And yes, there are at least three types of pasta here. The whole shop looks beautiful.
Personally, I like to walk there (or hop on the bus) through Battersea Park, stopping off at Borough Wines for an olive oil and wine refill on the way back. I noticed there is a beer refill at We Brought Beer on the same road as hetu which is also handy!
This place is amazing! They have a hefty section selling (mostly organic) bulk spices, herbs, arrow root powder, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, coffee beans, tea and more recently they’ve started selling two types of dried organic pasta! Hooray! For those of you who want soya, they also have loose/unpackaged soya chunks available – not organic but labelled non-GMO, so there’s that (hetu also sells soya chunks). They also have Faith In Nature shampoo and conditioner refills (make sure you bring a 400ml container as I’m told that’s all they allow for Faith In Nature refills) as well as ecover washing up liquid, laundry liquid and all purpose cleaner refills.
Whilst they are not a full zero waste shop, they have an excellent selection of loose goods and have started offering paper bags alongside their plastic ones after customers asked them too (useful if you didn’t bring enough). I took my own cloth bags and used them without any probs. They also have plenty of loose, organic vegetables and fruits available too. Nearby, you will find Harry’s Fine Foods, also on Kentish Town Road – this quaint organic butchers, who are cool with me bringing my own containers also sell olive oil refills and loose eggs.
Not something they seem to rave about but they certainly have a decent enough selection of mostly organic bulk dry goods. No pasta sadly, but they do have oats, pop corn, beans, grains, super foods, coffee etc. I’m obsessed with their spicy chickpeas from bulk! Various locations across London including Shoreditch, Edgware Road and Balham. Make sure you take lightweight cloth bags as they are unable to deduct the weight of jars or heavy cloth bags etc at the till. Note: The one in Balham is currently being refurbished.
They also have ecover refill stations!
Find locations here: https://www.asnatureintended.uk.com/shop-home/
This artisanal bakery and coffee shop also has a very small and quaint bulk offering in London Fields, East London. I buy salt, sugar, popcorn and sometimes their organic granola from here. They also sell a delicious cultured butter wrapped only in brown paper. They mill their own organic flour which is sold in paper packagingUPDATE 11/7/2017 – and they have just started selling flour from bulk bins too! As most flours start going rancid once milled, the fresher the better!
This is the latest reincarnation of Unpackaged (it was once a stand along store in Hackney but has since become a partner with Planet Organic, taking over a section of their stores! Currently in Muswell Hill (North London) and Tottenham Court Road (Central, just off Oxford Street) branches with Westbourne Grove (West London) installing an Unpackaged bulk section soon. Expect to find (all organic) coffee, grains, nuts, pulses, seeds, wine, dried fruits, ecover refills, cereals and chocolate. Click here for the full list.
The system relies on sticker print outs and not sure if there is a way around this as yet but you only need to do this once and can reuse the stickers for your next visit so keep them on your containers (easily removed for cleaning)
The “mothership” on High St Kensington has the largest bulk offering of all the WFM stores but little of it is organic. I mainly buy organic coffee (they also have organic decaf), organic popcorn, organic wheat berries/grain and some organic rice from here. They have a lot of non-organic items such as spices, grains, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, flours, super foods etc. The stores in Fulham and Richmond also have a (smaller) bulk section but the one in Soho Piccadilly does not. You can (most of the time) find bulk frozen organic berries in the Fulham location too!
Market stall every Saturday, selling a wide range of organic wholefoods, herbal teas, eco cleaning and laundry product refills, olive oil, seaweed, superfoods and more – all by weight or volume. Bring your own containers for a 5% discount.
Naked Larder is a food buying group for South Londoners. They buy dry goods and eco-friendly cleaning products in bulk to minimise packaging and reduce cost and members collect their orders using their own reusable containers. You can find grains, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, sugars, flours, spices and eco-friendly cleaning products – ordering is done via a shared spreadsheet. Two collection times are offered, usually one weekday evening and a weekend morning. Collections are from the Naked Larder location in Herne Hill, SE24.
SOURCE BULK FOODS – COMING SOON (March 2018)
The Aussie bulk chain is coming to London soon, with a store in Turnham Green, Chiswick. Watch this space and follow them on instagram to stay up to date.
Not part of Wholefoods Market, this little independent store in Brixton is useful for buying loose herbs and spices.
They sell a plethora of amazing organic dried herbs and teas and they are cool with people bringing their own containers. Full list is here
Neals Yard Remedies is also part of Refill – an app locator that encourages people to refill their water bottles out and about by providing nearby locations. So swing by with your water bottle too and fill up with their (filtered!) water from the tap.
I quit supermarkets a while ago and only enter if I really have to. They make it tricky to buy anything without packaging and oddly, almost all the organic produce is packaged in single use, non-recyclable packaging. So instead, I shop at the following locations. Try to find small, independent green grocers near you.
When most people think of Daylesford, they think “expensive!” – I used to think the same. But if I just buy their meat and fresh produce then it’s actually very reasonable and the quality is the best I’ve come across. Every time I spend over £20, I receive a stamp and after 5 stamps I get £10 off my next grocery shop. The staff are super friendly too. They have various locations in London, including Pimlico (my local), Notting Hill and Marylebone with more on the way. All of their produce is organic and seasonal too.
There is an abundance of farmers’ markets in London, most offering organic produce too! Whilst the meat is still normally in plastic (find a local organic butcher instead) the veggies, fruits, eggs and fish can all be bought using your own packaging.
Check out lfm.org.uk to find your nearest one.
Also Borough Market is always worth visiting – try to go off peak to avoid the crowds. Here you can find Hook and Son who sell organic raw milk products (and they have an organic milk refill – bring your own clean and sterilized bottle though!). Borough Wines also has a stall here selling bulk wine refills.
And shopping at local (and organic!) small indpendent grocery shops, not only means you’re more likely to find seasonal produce without plastic packaging, but also more of your money is likely to stay in your local community.
I make my own as finding it in bulk can be tricky. Here’s my recipe. UPDATE: I now buy pasta from bulk from Bulk Market, heat and Earth Natural Foods.
I think The Deli Downstairs in Hackney, East London may sell dry pasta in bulk. I’m hoping to swing by the next time I’m in the area and check it out. I’ll let you know!
COFFEE & TEA
The London Tea Exchange – tea only
My Cup of Tea – tea only
Wholefoods High St Ken – both
Algerian Coffee Stores – both
As Nature Intended – coffee only
Earth Natural Foods – both
Bulk Market – both
BEER & WINE & KOMBUCHA
We Brought Beer (various locations) – beer
Borough Wines – wine (sometimes organic too!)
Clapton Craft (various locations) – beer
Wholefoods Market Fulham – wine only – not the best – you have been warned!
Camden Brewery – I haven’t been but have read they do growler refills.
Kitty’s Kombucha – has farmers’ market stall (check website for locations, I discovered him in Richmond) and operates a bottle return scheme. Also now available on tap from hetu.
Most health food shops and some markets will also sell handmade soap bars, often organic, unpackaged too.
Bulk Market & hetu both sell liquid castile soap and shampoo and conditioner refills.
Camden Market Stall – Read The Label (solid soap bars, liquid soap, shampoo bars, body lotions, lip balms in metal containers). I met the owner and he knows a lot about his ingredients and is happy to refill!
SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
Owing to hygiene regs, it’s kinda hard to find refill liquid shampoo etc in the U.K. Instead, try asking your hair salon if they will refill for you. I emailed ahead and they were cool with me returning with the original bottles and refilling for me. They are doing me a favour so don’t expect all salons to oblige.
UPDATE: I now also use a solid shampoo bar, bought from Bulk Market or this one online *.
I get a weekly delivery of organic whole milk in glass bottles with foil lids from Milk & More or there is a Hook and Son refill at Borough Market
If you’re looking for nut milks, try Mylkman for deliveries in glass bottles in the London area
Butchers – find a local one to you – I always choose organic as non-organic animals are highly likely to be fed some gm feed as part of their diet, even in the UK! Simply take a container, I use a few stainless steel tins, and hand it over explaining you’d love them to put it straight in the tin, no plastic please. They get it, they really do.
TO YOUR DOOR DELIVERY
Check out Reyouzable who have just started delivering zero waste dry goods and cleaning products to your door. Their offering is constantly expanding. Currently limited to certain London postcodes, email to find out if they can deliver to you!
Happy zero waste shopping in London guys!
A veg box is a great way to still have the convenience of food arriving at your door (I’m talking to you, Ocado lovers!) and likely comes with no or at the very least, a heck of a lot less packaging. Try to find one local to you (there are some organic ones listed here).
Abel & Cole have developed a home compostable bag
Riverford are in the process of changing their packaging after recent press around plastic. Watch this space!
Oddbox deliver loose veggies, not all organic, but a nice wonky variety that would have otherwise been wasted
A few others, outside of London:
The Clean Kilo
SESI – Oxford Market Stall every Saturday seeing refills.
Wild Oats – Bristol
Better Food Co – Bristol
The Natural Store – Falmouth and Helston – herbs and spices as well as random baking items such as citric acid, bicarbonate of soda etc in bulk.
Charlotte’s Cupboard – Sussex
For locations outside of London, Sarah Lewis has compiled an elegant list of shops that sell a lot of food items packaging-free, all over the UK here: https://thezerowaster.com/zero-waste-near-you/