Last updated 11th October 2019
Do you live in Warwick or Leamington, or in surrounding areas in Warwickshire? Congratulations, you’re in luck. You happen to live in an area where zero waste shopping – i.e. reducing the amount of (mainly plastic) waste you produce with every food shop – is easy-ish.
Why? Because we’re incredibly lucky to live in an area that (still) has a regular weekly markets (Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon) and a number of traditional food shops (butchers, bakers) as well as independent specialist food retailers (delicatessen, health food shops etc.). And as an added bonus, we’ve recently had a some pioneering bulk shopping start-ups join the quest to make zero waste shopping in Warwickshire even easier.
We’ve recently tried switching our household to zero waste and have discovered lots of great zero waste shops as part of the journey. This post provides an overview on where to buy categories of food unpackaged to get you started (disclaimer: I don’t claim that this list is complete, please post any shops I’ve missed in the comments so that this list can be kept updated):
Zero waste shops in Warwickshire
Fruit & veg
- Warwickshire markets
- Warwick – every Saturday, 9am until 4pm, Market Square
- Kenilworth – every Thursday, 9am until 4pm, Abbey End
- Leamington Farmers Market – every 2nd Saturday of the month, 9am until 2pm, outside Leamington Town Hall
- Stratford – Charter Market – every Friday in Rother Street, and Farmers Market – every first and third Saturday in Rother Street
- Wellesbourne Market – Saturdays and Bank Holiday Mondays; not just for food but almost anything (not necessarily package free, though ;-))
- And there’s of course Coventry market – Monday to Wednesday: 8.30am – 5.00pm, Thursday: 8.30am – 2.30pm, Friday and Saturday: 8.30am – 5.30pm. Queen Victoria Road, Coventry, CV1 3HT. If you can brave the octagonal maze then this is a great address for your zero waste shopping needs as you can find almost everything here.
- Organic fruit & veg
- Warwick Health Foods, 40A Brook St, Warwick CV34 4BL – especially good for unwrapped lettuce and cucumbers
- Gaia Leamington – a co-operatively owned wholefood shop, run according to principles of sustainability, social justice and non-violence
- I should also mention Canalside Community Food – a Community Supported Agriculture subscription scheme for locals to receive a share of their produce each week. Anyone wanting to know more should go to their website (above) and search under ‘The Produce’.
- Clarendon Fruit Store – 36A Clarendon Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 4PG
- D.R. Powell – 34 Lansdowne St, Leamington Spa CV32 4SP
- Joe Richards – 1 Talisman Square, Kenilworth, CV8 1JB
- Aubrey Allen butchers in Leamington (see further down) also have a small selection of fresh, unpackaged fruit & veg outside their shop
- Farm shops – I’m not an expert in these so have listed the two I’d like to point out, feel free to check out this much more complete list of Warwickshire farm shops.
- Hilltop farm – Fosse Way, Hunningham Hill, Leamington Spa, CV33 9EL – much more than a farm shop, also includes a cafe, butchers, bakery, deli, various events and festivals… a real Warwickshire institution
- The Farm Stratford-upon-Avon – Kings lane, Snitterfield, Stratford upon Avon CV37 0QA – a relatively new farm shop and one that also has a bulk section – very exciting!
- Supermarkets – of course you can also get fresh, unpackaged fruit & veg at your trusted supermarket which is great for convenience.
- From my experience, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have the best selection of loose fruit & veg, and they’ll also accept your own containers at the butchers, fishmonger and deli counters.
- Lidl in Stratford has started selling their £1.50 ‘Too Good To Waste’ veg boxes, a scheme that is meant to be rolled out across the UK, so hopefully they’ll land in the Leamington / Warwick shop on Myton Road soon, too.
- Artisan bakeries: As a German bread lover I’m delighted about the amount of artisan bakeries that have sprung up in the area in recent years. Here’s a selection of my favourites:
- Thirteen Bakers on 19 Old Square, Warwick – a wonderful artisan bakery and cafe selling home-made, mainly sourdough bread
- Haddy & Trilby, 10 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5HQ – delicious bread made in Leamington Spa, and they also offer baking classes
- Bread & Co , 60 Smith Street, Warwick CV34 4HU – another great artisan bakery & cafe in Warwick
- Savi’s Bakery, 71 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5DX
- Supermarkets: some have a fresh bread section where you can put your bread straight into your own cloth bag. Best are Lidl (mainly because they also sell fresh German-style Pretzels :-)), Marks & Spencer and Tesco; avoid Morrison’s as all their bread is pre-packed
Meat & fish
- Mel Broome family butchers, 18 Smith Street , Warwick
- The Meat Room, 51 Warwick Street, Warwick and 51 Warwick St, Leamington Spa
- Aubrey Allen, 108 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 4QP
- Regency Butchers, 45 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5EE
- There are also usually one or two butcher vans at the local markets
- Regency Fish, 49 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5EE
- Fishey Business, a fish stall at the local Warwick and Kenilworth markets
- Supermarkets: I prefer Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s for their quality, choice and flexibility to put the items in your own containers
Pantry staples in bulk
This is where it gets interesting and a little bit more challenging for zero waste shopping in Warwickshire. Luckily a few new pioneering ventures have joined the scene which now make it easier to get your pasta, flour, pulses, spices etc. in bulk.
- Core Wholefoods – a local pop up bulk store run by Leamingtonians Beth and Alex. You can usually find them at Stratford market (Fridays) and Warwick market (Saturdays). They’re about to open their first fixed store in Leamington at 45 Park Street. Their range is constantly expanding and they now sell sell mainly organic wholefoods such as grains, nuts, pulses, flour, pasta, rice, dried fruit and spices in bulk. Check out their Instragram account for latest updates.
- Zero Store – run by ex-teachers Charlie and Marisa who ditched the classroom to save the planet… by running a mobile zero waste store that sells cereals, fruits, nuts, seeds, pasta, beans & pulses, herbs & spices, rice and baking ingredients. There are multiple ways to shop with them, including a number of ‘mini zero’ locations where you can buy a selection of their products – in Binley Woods, Coventry; Rugby Town Centre; Harbury, Leamington Spa; and Hornton, Banbury. Zero are also about to open their first fixed stores in Leamington, at 41 Russell Street. Check out their website for updates and you can find their product & price list here.
- Green Bean Warwick at 62 Smith Street call themselves a ‘sustainable shopping experience’ – they sell a range of dried goods in bulk, as well we fresh bread, local honey, and eco friendly cleaning and beauty products
- The Farm Stratford-upon-Avon, Kings lane, Snitterfield, Stratford upon Avon CV37 0QA – a farm shop (see above) that also has a bulk section. I haven’t checked them out yet but the pictures from their Instagram account look promising…
- No list would be complete without the mother of all bulk shops – The Clean Kilo in Birmingham (1 Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA). While this isn’t technically in Warwickshire, it’s worth a mention as the UK’s largest zero waste supermarket is run by some visionary people, and there’s hardly anything you can’t find there… I go there about once a month to stock up on items I can’t get in bulk anywhere else, especially oil, vinegar, pasta varieties, sugar varieties, and body lotion in bulk. They’re also about to open a second shop in Bourneville – stay tuned.
Miscellaneous food items in bulk
Whilst the above shops should cover 80% of your food shop needs, there are other sources, hidden gems and specialist retailers worth knowing about for miscellaneous items not covered yet.
- Coffee: some of your favourite cafes will probably sell you their preferred coffee (in beans our ground) in your own containers and that’s great. Our favourite is Monsoon Estates Coffee Company from Stratford. You can find them at the Warwick, Kenilworth and Stratford markets, or if you miss them, you can also get a selection of their coffee at Golden Monkey Tea Company in Warwick (Smith Street) and at Zero Store (above)
- Tea: Golden Monkey Tea Company in Warwick (Smith Street) or Whittard at 14 High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6AU; Zero Store also have loose leaf tea. Space NK in Leamington sells loose specialist teas that are good for your health and beauty.
- Muesli: Gaia in Leamington sells 2-3 ready muesli mixes in bulk and they are delicious; Zero Store and Core (see above) also stock a deluxe muesli mix
- Cereals: Core Wholefoods (see above) have recently started stocking bran flakes; there’s also a shop in Coventry market that sells cornflakes, rice crispies etc. in bulk, as does Clean Kilo in Birmingham
- Chocolate: Core Wholefoods and Zero Store (see above) stock chocolate buttons. Coventry market has a stall that sells chocolate by weight; I’m not sure about Hotel Chocolat in Leamington, I need to check them out. I believe many cafes and delicatessen shops also sell pralines etc. unwrapped. You should also check out Open Heart Chocolate, a local artisan chocolate maker from the Cotswolds who sells online and at local markets
- Sweets: Thank god for the resurgence of the good old sweet shop! Sweet Tayloula in Leamington, and Mary’s Sweet Memories in Warwick
- Baking products: Core Wholefoods and Zero Store (see above) sell flour, dried fruits, cocoa powder and sugar, and Zero Store also have bi-carbonate of soda; and as always Clean Kilo in Birmingham to the rescue if you need any specialist ingredients
- Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt: These are tricky. The Clean Kilo in Birmingham (see above) have milk on tap and butter in bulk. We buy our milk (and orange juice) online and get it delivered in glass bottles from the milkman at Milk & More. There’s a cheese van at the local markets but you may as well put gold on your bread with those prices (they do taste delicious so it’s worth a treat every now and then). I tend to buy the largest lump of cheese I can find at the cheese counter at Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s to avoid packaging as best as possible and I get Sainsbury’s own brand butter in paper wrapping from the fresh cheese counter. And I make my own yogurt which is really easy.
- Olives, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, etc.: The Olive Stall at the local markets, as well as the deli counters at the big supermarkets (I find Morrisons the most flexible when it comes to bringing your own containers)
- Oil, vinegar: I get these during my monthly trip to The Clean Kilo in Birmingham but I can’t believe that there isn’t any option in the area – any tips please comment below! There’s also a ‘Vom Fass’ concession in Selfridges in Birmingham where you can get all sorts of gourmet oils and vinegars in bulk.
- Wine, beer, other alcohol: This is one I really struggle with; I know there’s a shop for beer brewing in Leamington and I’ve heard from a few people that they brew their own beer… so maybe worth trying? Please comment below if you’re aware of anywhere where you can get wine from large barrels or boxes, as it’s pretty common in Europe?
Non-food items in bulk
While this list focuses on zero waste food shopping, it’s nice to get some other necessities while you’re out and about, and what’s the point in eradicating waste from your food shop if you fill your home up with plastic containers for the bathroom, kitchen, etc.?
- Washing liquid, washing up liquid, hand soap: Warwick Health Foods at 40A Brook St. in Warwick sell washing liquid, washing up liquid and hand soap in bulk from Ecover; and Zero Store as well as Smithery in Warwick stock Fill Co refill scheme for eco laundry household and cleaning products.
- Shampoo and conditioner, soap, shower gel, deodorant, body lotion, tooth paste: You can get L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner in bulk at Jennifer Luis at 58 Market Place in Warwick; Warwick Health Foods (see above) stock shampoo and conditioner from Faith in Nature as refills. Gaia in Leamington and Zero Store (see above) sell organic soap and shampoo / conditioner bars as well as deodorant; Lush in Stratford-upon-Avon also has shampoo / conditioner bars, and The Body Shop in Leamington is great for soaps. I recommend using gentle soaps instead of shower gel. Finally, Clean Kilo stocks all of the above.
- Cleaning products: Zero Store have eco-friendly cleaning products in refillable glass bottles from Fill Co. But really all you need is vinegar, which you can get in bulk from Clean Kilo, or Morrisons sells their spirit vinegar in glass bottles.
- Toilet paper: Again this requires a trip to The Clean Kilo in Birmingham for individually paper wrapped recycled toilet paper rolls. We tend to get a large pack of recycled toilet paper from Sainsbury’s (they do a 9 roll pack, whereas Tesco’s is only 4 or 6 pack, I believe).
- Re-usable containers, eco-friendly every day items, zero waste swaps: These shops are great for making zero waste shopping fun – they provide stylish, practical every day items that are re-usable, eco-friendly, and can help with breaking old habits, such as using bees wax wraps instead of cling film, re-usable sandwich bags and boxes, bamboo tooth brushes etc.
- Reyousable – online and pop-up shops at markets in the area, as well as small concessions at coffee shops including Spa Town Coffee and Stonemonkey Yoga Cafe in Leamington
- The Wild Tree – online and at markets in the area
- Smithery at 23 Smith Street in Warwick and online – also great for hand-picked gifts from local artists
Wow, I realise this is a pretty long list, which is great! I hope this has given you some helpful tips and pointers of where to shop zero waste in Warwickshire. I’m always on the lookout for new eco-pioneers in the area so please help me grow this list by adding shops and items I’ve missed in the comment section. Cheers, Bettina