Zero waste retail outlets are in fact nothing new. However, you’d have to go back a very long time to find them on our high streets. Under the radar, they are making a concerted effort to become a force to be reckoned with as one seems to be opening or due to open all the time across the country.

The idea behind it is to switch the whole system to a circular economy, which aims to keeping things in continuous rotation and out of landfill. This isn’t to be confused with the recycling economy, which delays the journey to landfill.

As consumers, we have to demand quality and reusability over quick, cheap and disposable and this starts with changing how we choose to shop. A full zero waste supermarket is due to open in Digbeth in the Spring of this year, and we already have Indigo Wholefoods in Moseley who do household detergent refills and unpackaged fruit and veg, and Purely Vegan in King’s Heath who have a scoop and fill section.

So what is a Zero Waste Shop?

Basically, you bring your own food containers whether glass jars, bags or tupperwares to the shop and help yourself and then pay by weight at the checkout.

Typically, such a place will have a strong ethical bent too, with fair trade and organic produce being high on the business’s agenda. Produce varies from shop to shop, but usually beans, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, herbs, spices, flour, sugar teas, coffee beans, laundry liquids and bathroom products are in the mix.

Let’s ensure we support these inspiring shopping options and work towards this system as the norm for shopping, as opposed to the exception.

By Stuart Minal