Where to buy bulk in London | Zero Waste Grocery Shopping
The answer is a little all over the place…. literally! With the sad news of the Dry Goods Store closing, 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. Currently at a pop-up location in Dalston, East London and moving to Hackney nearby in a few months time. 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. The range is expanding by the day too! The gravity bulk bins are made from glass and the whole shop looks beautiful. I’m hoping to make my first visit soon, so will update you with all the deets!
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 dried organic pasta! Hooray! For those of you who want soya, they also have loose/unpackaged soya chunks available to buy — not organic but labelled non-GMO, so there’s that. 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. I took my own cloth bags and used them without any probs. They also have plenty of loose, organic produce available too.
Not something they seem to rave about but they certainly have a decent enough selection of mostly organic bulk dry goods. Think 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.
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 and sometimes their organic granola from here. They mill their own organic flour which is sold in paper packagingUPDATE 11/7/2017 — and they have just started selling it from bulk bins too! As most flours start going rancid once milled, the fresher the better!
This is the latest reincarnation of Unpackaged! You will no longer find beers, oils, wine etc. This is currently the only Planet Organic with an Unpackaged section but fingers crossed they’ll expand this into their other stores 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 — Be warned, the selection isn’t quite as diverse as the website suggests and I believe they have reduced their offering somewhat.
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, organic popcorn and organic wheat berries 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!
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
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.
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 Chelsea, 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 findHook 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.
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!
UPDATE: Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town, North London has started selling organic pasta fusilli in wholewheat and penne in white and Hetu and Bulk Market also stock it! So many options!
COFFEE & TEA
BEER & WINE
(various locations) — beer
beer and wine
(various locations) — beer
wine only — not the best
I haven’t been but have read they do growler refills.
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.
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 explain 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!
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/