Eco-Shopping: Have you been to a zero waste store yet?

Zero waste shops help avoid wasteful packaging by stocking products you can collect in reusable containers, bottles or jars. This helps the environment by reducing the amount of single use plastic produced and also can help save you money, with an estimated fifth of the money you spend on products going to packaging.
Products stocked in zero waste shops are often ethical and committed to zero waste and plastic free packaging. Products stocked vary widely from beauty products to food. Simply first weigh your container, fill with the product, weigh again and then pay for the amount you are buying.
These shops may sound like a novelty, only available in trendy, big cities and not practical for regular use. I have to admit, I had never been to one and I didn’t realise how wide spread they are. Click here to find one near you (it is probably much nearer than you think).
I visited Zero Store in Leamington Spa to browse and was amazed by the diversity of products offered. There was a beauty section including shampoo bars, soap and refillable containers for liquid conditioner. Shampoo bars are package-free, more concentrated than liquid alternatives and offer a low carbon footprint because they require less space during transport. I also spotted a dog shampoo bar so even your pets can get involved in living a more sustainable life!
There was a spice section with fresh herbs and spices available including chives, ground ginger and Spanish paprika and a section with cereals, sweets, pulses and pasta. These both involved bringing a container and filling it up with your desired product. This also means you can weigh out the desired amount of product, meaning you can buy the exact amount required for a recipe or just get a small amount of the product to try. This helps reduce food waste and saves you money from buying products you will not use all of. The ingredients sold in zero waste shops like Zero also are often locally sourced, less processed and healthier than options sold in supermarkets. 
Finally, by the till there was an oat milk machine, involving bringing your own bottle and filing it up. Oat milk is a vegan alternative to cow’s milk and has lots of benefits for the environment and your health in comparison. Oat milk has twice the fibre of cow’s milk, making it great for your digestive system. It is high in B vitamins, which is found in dairy and meat products and so can be missing from a plant-based diet. It also has much healthier fats than cow’s milk, replacing saturated with unsaturated and is cholesterol free. If you haven’t tried oat milk it is a great alternative to dairy, which can in turn help your skin. Dairy milk contains proteins that release a hormone similar to insulin in our body, which can trigger breakouts. Reducing your dairy intake is good for the planet because of the huge carbon footprint of the dairy industry, and good for your skin!
I bought a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner bar from Zero Waste Path, an 100% biodegradable, zero waste, vegan, cruelty free and palm oil free beauty brand. They had different types of 2 in 1 bars available to suit different hair types, including products designed for itchy scalp, dry and curly hair and fine and oily hair. I decided on the normal hair version which contained argon oil and jojoba oil, as well as quinoa protein, white clay and coconut-derived proteins. I can’t wait to give it a try, but I need to use up my current shampoo and conditioner first to avoid wasting product.
I hope this article gave you an idea what to expect from a zero waste store and that you give visiting one a try. Let us know how you get on!

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