Shopping Zero Waste Is Easier Than You Think

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I went zero waste for a week: here’s what happened.

I am a student, conscious of finding ways to save the environment. When I heard about the new zero waste shops, I was so excited to go and try them out and live as zero waste as I possibly could for a whole week.

I usually do my weekly food shop on a Monday, however, most zero-waste shops are closed on Mondays, so I had to wait until Tuesday. I made a meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that week, trying to make it as easy as possible for me to live zero waste.

I went to Viva Organic, Cardiff’s first zero-waste shop, I didn’t really know what I would be able to get, as I had never been to a zero waste shop before, so I grabbed all of the containers I had and headed out.

Poster explaining how the buying process works.

First on my list was carbs, bread, pasta, and rice, etc. I was able to get organically sourced bread that was made fresh that day (and that is made fresh every day) and I was able to get it in a recyclable paper bag. I also got pasta and rice in my own containers, dispensed from glass dispensers.

Also, the thing that hit me when I walked in was the range of fresh fruit and vegetables that were available. They didn’t fit in the containers that I had brought with me, but luckily, they have reusable eco grain and net bags there, so you can buy one and keep bringing it back.

Photo of the fruit and vegetable section

Their commitment to zero waste really shows as they use all the fruit and veg that doesn’t get sold in the smoothies that they make in store! They have a glass bottle return scheme that can get you money off your next purchase, and of course, they encourage everyone to bring their own bottles for juices.

They also have recently added a new feature, organic nut butter!

I thought getting liquids may be an issue, but not here as they sell their own organic almond and oat milk, sadly, they don’t sell regular milk as all their products are organic.

Its also not just food that they sell, they also stock a range of homeware and beauty products offering ethical and sustainable products such as bamboo toothbrushes, eco washing detergent, and shampoo bars. The only thing that I found difficult was things like sauces i.e. ketchup and also snacks were hard to find in a zero-waste format, I just had to make sure the things that weren’t bought from Viva Organic were recyclable.

Going zero waste isn’t all that difficult, as long as you plan and are prepared to sometimes spend a little more money as it can be more expensive than your usual Aldi shop!

Shopping Zero Waste is also temperamental as some shops may not have absolutely everything that you are wanting that week, in that case, all you can do is buy what you can and make sure everything you buy is as wasteless as possible.


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