Warwick is a near-perfect place for zero waste shopping – count yourself lucky if you live near here. That’s because we have a regular weekly market and a number of independent grocery shops and specialist retailers that will happily support your endeavour to avoid packaging when food shopping.
I’ve started my attempt at avoiding waste when shopping in September 2018 and here’s my weekly shopping routine in lovely Warwick (disclaimer: we are omnivores so my shopping includes buying fish and meat):
My weekly zero waste shop in Warwick
- Head to Warwick. I’m lucky enough to be able to ride into town (I love using my bicycle for my zero waste shop… but that’s one for another post); if you drive, I suggest parking at Sainsbury’s (Saltisford, Warwick CV34 4TR) and walk up into Warwick town centre. It’s 2 hours free parking and you’ll be able to pick up any food supplies that you haven’t managed to buy zero waste at the end here.
- 1st stop: Mel Broome family butchers on 18 Smith Street. Here I usually get a big lump of meat for a Sunday roast, which then subsequently provides the meat for sandwich fillings and other meals throughout the week. This is a great traditional butchers and a lovely family run business – the quality of their meet is great and they happily accept your own containers. If the meal plan requires, I may also buy some ham, bacon or sausages here. They also sell eggs (as does nearly everyone else on this list). An alternative butcher (and closer if you’re walking up from Sainsbury’s) is The Meat Room on 51 Warwick Street – the only downside is they don’t tend to have ham unpackaged; upside is that they sell yummy fresh bread and also have a variety of eggs.
- 2nd stop: Warwick market (open every Saturday, 9am until 4pm, in the market square). This is where it gets really fun. It is such a lovely institution with great independent market stalls. They have also recently banned single-use plastic bags so all merchants have switched to biodegradable or paper bags – but this doesn’t really concern you as you’ll be bringing your own bags and containers.
- Specifically, I shop at the following merchants (in no particular order – I usually start at one end and then go to the one with the shortest queue :-))
- Fishmonger: Fishey Business. Tim is a specialist fishmonger who has a variety of fresh inshore fish, shellfish & poultry. He really knows his stuff, is always very happy about me bringing my own containers and he’s also very charming ;-). This is for the Saturday evening meal so that the fish is nice and fresh.
- Bread: Antriskell. An independent French patisserie that brings France to Warwick on a weekly basis and offers a wide range of french bread & pastries. Alternatively, head around the corner to Thirteen Bakers on 19 Old Square – a wonderful artisan bakery selling home-made, mainly sourdough bread. Both sell out quickly so try and get there early-ish! If I’m not making my own bread, I usually buy 1-2 loafs for sandwiches during the week and maybe a couple of rolls or baguette to go with any soup or other dishes I’m making. I use old pillow cases as large cloth bags for bread – Thirteen love this, however the guy from the French bakery seems to get a little confused every time but then happily chucks the bread into my bag.
- Pantry staples in bulk: Core Wholefoods. This stall is an absolute gem and has been the breakthrough for maintaining my zero waste lifestyle in Warwick. Alex and Beth, two pioneers from Leamington, sell mainly organic wholefoods such as grains, nuts and spices in bulk. This is were I buy flour, pasta, spices, nuts, oats, etc. as ingredients for our meals and for my muesli. Naturally they rejoice when you bring your own containers, and they also sell lovely organic cotton bags and glass jars, or provide recycled paper bags.
- Fruit & veg: from either one of the two fruit & veg stalls – Danielles Fruit & Veg or Cleavers Fruit & Veg. Both are lovely and happily put all the produce into your bags. Here I buy fresh fruit & veg for my muesli and our meals. If you can’t find certain things unwrapped or without packaging, try Warwick Health Foods instead – see below.
There you have it – this should cover 80% of your weekly shop. Luckily, there are also a few other specialist stalls and retailers which I shop at every now and then when required:
- Coffee: Monsoon Estates Coffee Company (every Saturday at the market, or if you miss them, you can also get a selection of their coffee at Golden Monkey Tea Company – see below). They are an artisan coffee roaster from Stratford-upon-Avon and sell the most delicious coffee, including a 100% natural water filtered de-caf (you can buy whole beans or they will happily grind them for you there). They are working on 100% bio degradable bags for their coffee, and Chris is happy to decant the beans or ground coffee into your own container, so that they can re-use the bag. Lucky for us, they offer a loyalty card so you get your 11th bag free.
- Tea: Golden Monkey Tea Company on 64 Smith Street sell the most delicious loose leaf tea – a real revelation if you’re used to tea bags… they also stock Monsoon Estates coffee (see above)
- Olives, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, etc.: The Olive Stall (every Saturday at the market) – can sometimes be a bit grumpy if you bring your own containers as they have their own re-use scheme (you buy the first long-lasting plastic container and they will swap and/or re-fill it next time you shop)
- Washing liquid, washing up liquid, hand soap: Warwick Health Foods at 40A Brook St. Another gem in the zero waste wonder that is Warwick… they sell washing liquid, washing up liquid and hand soap in bulk from Ecover – a brand that you can also get in supermarkets, but here you can refill your own containers which also happens to work out cheaper. They also sell some organic fruit & veg and it’s the only place I’ve been able to find lettuce and cucumbers unwrapped.
- Shampoo and conditioner: Jennifer Luis at 58 Market Place. Aside from being the best hairdresser in Warwickshire (and possibly the world), Jenny also sells L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner in bulk. You need to buy the initial set of bottles once, but then you can take them back to be re-filled.
Oh, and what about milk, cheese, yogurt, beans, deodorant, cereals, toilet paper etc. – I hear you ask…
You’re absolutely right, there are things you can’t currently get zero waste or in bulk in Warwick. For everything that’s left (and that I haven’t swapped / eradicated / bought at another zero waste alternative outside of Warwick / made myself in any other way – that’s another post) I tend to visit Sainsbury’s at the end (where you’ve conveniently parked your car). And that’s ok, I think.
Warwick is a great place for zero waste shopping and I hope this post has given you some ideas, tips and inspiration. Please let me know any questions or if I’ve missed any essential shops or merchants by leaving a comment below. Cheers, Bettina