As the environmental impact of human waste yields increasingly calamitous consequences with each passing year, the need for sustainable living across the spectrum of modern consumption has never been more urgent. At the individual end, a growing number of ethical retailers around the city are committed to providing zero-waste, eco-friendly alternatives to mass-produced goods.

From neighbourhood newbies to decades-old co-operatives, here are some of the best places to shop plastic-free in Manchester.

Earth Friendly Rocker | Afflecks Palace

Now approaching its fourth year in Manchester’s Parthanon of independent retailers, Earth-Friendly Rocker caters to every aspect of ethical living: health and beauty sets, home and garden supplies, an apothecary, a vegan pick ‘n’ mix station and more are somehow packed into the cosy third-floor emporium.

3rd Floor, Afflecks, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
The 8th Day | Oxford Road

Operating in the university area of town, the 8th Day co-operative is a ‘one-stop shop for all things vegan’ with an on-site cafe serving hearty, homemade plant-based food. Created from the embers of a blazing decade of love, liberation and environmental consciousness, The 8th Day has been providing Manchester with a huge inventory of recyclable groceries, supplements and beauty supplies for 52 years.

111 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7DU
McCalls Organics | Church Street

Family-run and focused on reuse, McCalls’ is sustainability to the core. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers for various grocery refills, goods are supplied in glass jars and they even return their cardboard delivery boxes to suppliers, or use them to send out their own produce. Located under the low arches adjacent to the Arndale fish market, McCalls Organics opened in 2014 as a sister store to its next-door neighbour, McCalls Exotics.

Unit 6-7 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PN, Tel: 0161 832 1477
Lentils and Lather | Withington & Marple

South Manchester’s number one zero-waste shop for food, personal care and household goods, Lentils and Lather stock towering jars of refillable dry groceries, pump bottles of ethically-sourced shampoos and body washes and a number of homespun miscellaneous products from other Mancunian artisans, including candles, blown glass and a rotating selection of pot plants. For anyone even further south, their Marple branch carries most of the same stock, though be sure to check their website for which products are where.

50 Burton Road, Manchester, M20 3EB
Village Greens | Prestwich

Community-owned and volunteer-powered, North Manchester’s little den of happy, sustainable living sits in the centre of Prestwich as the ethical alternative to several enormous neighbouring supermarkets. Village Greens offers a dizzying range of grocery refills by the gram, household goods and a deli counter serving pies, Indian snacks and vegan sushi.

1 Longfield Centre, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 1AY, Tel: 0161 971 5129
Unicorn | Chorlton

Known across the region as shorthand for progressive, hip suburban living, Chorlton’s co-operative grocery store Unicorn stocks Manchester’s most extensive range of vegan produce, household items and organic booze with a zero-waste approach. Ranking top of the Ethical Consumer’s 2019 national supermarket ratings and twice-named as Britain’s Best Food Retailer at the BBC Food & Farming Awards, Unicorn fully deserves its reputation as the city’s headquarters of enduring ethical consumption.

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Thu 16 Mar 2023