It may seem like an insurmountable task to reverse the damage we have done to our planet but everything helps and reducing the amount of plastic you use is a great start. Here are ten places in the Manchester area that sell low or zero waste products. Simply bring your own bag, jar or bottle, fill it up on site, and help the planet to breathe.
1. McCalls Organics, Manchester - food, laundry products, soap
The McCalls have traded on Church Street since the 1920s. The latest generation have taken the company down the green route, everything stocked in the shop is organic. They sell around 75 products loose, n addition to pulses, seeds and nuts, they sell Bioleaf laundry products and the ever popular Dr Bronner’s Castille soap.
Unit 6-7 Church Street Manchester M4 1PN, Tel: 0161 832 1477, www.mccallsorganics.com
2. Ancoats General Store, Ancoats - detergents, shampoo, wine & beer
AGS is quite possibly my favourite shop in Manchester. They stock pretty much everything you need and a lot of the products are from small companies with a commitment to eco friendly policies. They sell refills on cleaning products including detergent, washing up liquids, and conditioner. AGS are known for their excellent selection of wine and beers, which just got even better with certain varieties available on tap to take away in reusable glass bottles and growlers.
57 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AB, Tel: 0161 236 7897, www.ancoatsgs.co.uk
3. The Elder Tree Pantry, Online - grains, pasta, soaps, sanitary & cleaning products
The Elder Tree Pantry is a plastic free, zero waste online shop that sells staple goods, grains, pasta, soaps and biodegradable household items. They are based in central Manchester and sell a wide array of pulses, grains and even popcorn kernels. Also sold are items to help you lead a plastic free life, such as metal drinking straws and reusable coffee cups. For women worried about the impact menstrual products have on the environment Elder Tree stock Moon Cups and reusable sanitary pads.
4. Village Greens, Prestwich - cereals, household & bathing products
This neighbourhood owned shop sells sustainable ranges with a wide selection of vegan, organic, and gluten free products. To help reduce waste they sell loose produce from hoppers including oats, museli, seeds, rice and pulse and the shop is about to expand into larger bins with scoops for items such as couscous and dried fruits. If you remember your own containers there’s no need to worry about loose produce spilling over your shopping and the team will weigh the pot before you fill it so that you only pay for the product. They also sell 'fill your own' contain weights of washing up liquid, laundry liquid, fabric conditioner, handsoap, multi-surface cleaner, shampoo and conditioner. While you’re there don’t forget to pick up a loaf of bread from local bakery Trove, or lunch from Great North Pie Co.
1 Longfield Centre, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AY, Tel: 0161 971 5129, www.village-greens-coop.co.uk
5. Unicorn Grocery, Chorlton - deli bar, fruit and veg
Unicorn is a co-operative that packs many of their products onsite in biodegradable bags. Owned by those who work there, they won ‘best food retailer’ the BBC’s Food & Farming awards in 2017. They are a traditional grocers selling organic fruit and vegetables without plastic packaging and are beginning initiatives to further reduce waste by charging for deli pots - and you can bring your own pots to fill at the deli. Unicorn are also planning to trial refill stations for pulses and some of their other own range products, so watch this space.
89 Albany Road, Chorlton, Manchester M21 0BN, Tel: 0161 861 0010, www.unicorn-grocery.coop
6. Fulfilled Shop, Ramsbottom - flour, spices, baking powder, cleaning, bathroom & sanitary products
Fulfilled only sell food that is stored loose in jars or gravity feed dispensers. They have a great selection and you can even buy your baking ingredients loose from gluten free bicarbonate of soda to golden caster sugar and wholemeal rye flour. They have an excellent range of spices available so you can buy just as much as you need and not worry about ground spices going stale in the back of your cupboard. Non-comestibles include cleaning refills, bathroom products, and items for living plastic free so that you can do your entire shop in one place, safe in the knowledge that there will be no plastic to be discarded at home.
8 Silver Street, Ramsbottom, Bury, BL09BJ, www.fulfilledshop.co.uk
7. M20 Refills, Online - cleaning, hair and body products
M20 bulk buys eco friendly products and decants them into glass bottles for customers to use. A £5 deposit is asked for the bottles and then every time you order more the previous set of bottles is collected and reused. Their attention is on home cleaning products such as laundry detergent and antibacterial cleaner as well as hair and body products. In order to reduce waste from large deliveries M20 Refills ensure that everything they purchase is in recyclable packaging and send what they can back to their sources for reuse.
www.m20refills.co.uk Delivery to most of South Manchester, Stockport and central Manchester, collection from Didsbury, www.m20refills.co.uk
8. A Small Good Thing Veg, Bolton - veg boxes
A Small Good Thing are branching out into veg boxes. You order the box that seems right for you a month at a time and they’re delivered to collection points every Friday. The boxes cost £10, £15 or £20 and their first collection locations are The Kitchen and All Souls, both in Bolton.
29 Church Road, Bolton BL1 6HH, Tel: 07972 287108, email: oursmallgoodthing[at]gmail.com
9. Eighth Day, Manchester - bathroom, hair, body, cleaning and food products
This Oxford Road institution stocks an amazing array of vegetarian, vegan, and organic produce as well as body care, supplements and eco friendly cleaning products. They also sell over 200 low or zero waste products including a Faith in Nature bottle refill service for shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, hand wash and Ecoleaf cleaning products. They also sell loose bread, deli items and fruit & veg amongst other things so bring in your containers and help reduce plastic waste.
111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU, Tel: 0161 273 4878, www.8thday.coop
10. Deadstock General Store, Northern Quarter
This small store sells beautiful products that have been sustainably sourced. Zero waste seems the wrong term to use. They sell beautifully made products that are designed to last - including traditional string shopping bags. There's almost no plastic in sight and the store sells wooden brushes, organic soaps, refillable water bottles (from cult brand Kleen Kanteen) and pencils made by a small pencil factory in Portugal. The store also offers repairs and alterations to clothing, meaning fewer items of clothing will be thrown away because their own does not know how to repair them.
46 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN, Tel: 07925 577054, www.instagram.com
Image: Deadstock General Store. Item pictured is "Le Filet Filt" French Cotton Net Bags (100% Cotton). Made in Caen, France since 1855.