There’s no doubt about it: avoiding single-use plastic is well-nigh impossible if you don’t have access to a zero waste store. We’re really lucky to live a mere ten minute walk from Edinburgh’s The Eco Larder. This shop has made all the difference.
Run by the lovely Stephanie and Matt, The Eco Larder is a not-for-profit business, a social enterprise. It’s encouraging to see zero waste shops like these springing up around the country, where customers can fill their own containers (mason jars, Tupperware, old ice cream cartons, whatever…). We hardly ever go to the supermarket any more – apart from an occasional trip to stock up on tinned food and alcohol.
This small, clean store stocks an impressive array of goods. As well as our dried foods (pasta, rice, seeds, fruit, nuts, pulses, legumes, herbs, spices), we’re also buying our household items here, refilling old bottles with washing up liquid and hair conditioner. Honestly, they’ve got it all. As you’d expect, the prices vary. Some things are definitely more expensive, but others are very cheap. Overall, our weekly food bill is similar to what it was before.
We are also a little bit addicted to the in-store treats: the freshly squeezed orange juice and peanut butter (with no palm oil or salt, or sugar – yay!).
The recent addition of a milk vending machine is the icing on the (fair trade) cake. We live in the city centre, so we don’t have the option of milk delivery. But now we can take our own glass bottle to The Eco Larder and fill it up with organic semi-skimmed. What’s not to like?
Shopping at The Eco Larder is actually pleasurable – a far cry from the stress of pushing a trolley around Aldi or Waitrose. Matt, Stephanie and their volunteer crew are all friendly and helpful; it’s a calm, gentle experience, and one we genuinely enjoy.