Plastic-free shopping in Scotland

Single-use plastics are officially out, and refill stores are springing up everywhere to help us reduce our waste – here’s where to pop for your package-free shop

Article by Becca Inglis and Dylan Tuck | 19 Sep 2019
  • Roots, Fruits and Flowers

Plastic-free shopping in Edinburgh

The Eco Larder
200 Morrison Street, Edinburgh

Ethical business owners Matt and Stephanie Foulds became more acutely aware of our plastic problem after watching that episode of Blue Planet 2 (and when David Attenborough calls you to arms, you can’t not answer, right?) Sitting just up the road from Haymarket, Edinburgh’s first ever dedicated plastic-free grocery store threw open its doors to the West End last November. 

The Refillery
39 Newington Road, Edinburgh

Closing the gap in Newington, The Refillery makes sure that Edinburgh’s Southsiders can shop plastic-free just around the corner from Summerhall. On top of reusing and refilling, the shop emphasises the necessity of reorganising for the plastic-free revolution – if your run-of-the-mill groceries take some forward planning, then making sure you have all your reusable containers and eating utensils to hand definitely does. 

Weigh To Go
7 Crighton Place, Edinburgh

Leithers are now catered for as well by local Lucy Watters, who opened her answer to sustainable shopping on Leith Walk earlier this year. As she points out on her website, shopping with refillable containers is “far from new” and simply means resurrecting old habits. That includes the milkround 2.0, where you can fill up on a locally-sourced dairy fix by bringing a refillable glass bottle into the store. 

The New Leaf Co-op
23 Argyle Place, Edinburgh

This worker-run food cooperative took over the old wholefoods store of the same name in 2012 and has since focused on supplying ethical, sustainable, and locally sourced organic ingredients to the people of Marchmont. Old hands at sustainable living, the shop’s owners have kept pre-packaged food to a minimum while encouraging their customers to save money by bringing refillable containers. And the best part? It has to be their peanut butter grinder, where you can have a go at making your own variety of the crunchy, spreadable snack. 

Hearty Squirrel Coop
Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh

For Edinburgh students based around the George Square campus, you can streamline your plastic-free shopping experience with EUSA’s volunteer-run food coop. Place your order on their website by Monday, then collect on Thursday on your way to (or from) the library. Hearty Squirrel man their stall every week in the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre basement, and for a £3 membership you can also buy in bulk online from their supplier Greencity Wholefoods. 

Plastic-free shopping in Dundee

Birchwood Emporium
28–32 Commercial Street, Dundee

This is Heart Space Whole Foods 2.0. Ian Alexander closed the doors to his health food store earlier this year to re-open and re-brand as Dundee’s latest refill hub, where customers can choose from package-free, locally sourced and seasonally grown produce. There’s also a cafe attached to the shop, where you can get advice on recipes to use on your sustainable goods. 

Greenway’s Refill Market
TBC, Dundee

On its way to Dundee this autumn is the brand new social enterprise, Greenway’s Refill Market. Its owners first came up with the idea while living on the other side of the world in New Zealand, where they’ve spent the last year travelling and throwing themselves into the greener side of life. They hope to empower their customers by helping them discover new creative ways to be self-reliant. The refillery will come complete with a community hub, where makers’ groups can meet to create goodies for the store while giving people space to share skills and connect.

Plastic-free shopping in Glasgow

349 Victoria Road, Glasgow

This Southside shop has become renowned within Glasgow for being one of the best refill stations across all corners of the city. Locavore offers a wide range of groceries, cheeses, grains, pulses, meats and more, with the main focus being on both sustainable and local food. If, somehow, you’re not sold on that delicious collection of goodies, then perhaps learning that they also make super fresh peanut butter on-site may sway you.

Zero Waste Market
17 Hillfoot Street, Glasgow

As their name may slightly give-away, Zero Waste Market aren’t big on throw-away materials. As such, the Dennistoun-based shop offers a different approach, rather than simply selling the groceries, they instead supply a selection of plastic-free materials, using metals and bamboo to craft utensils for all your refilling needs. You can also choose from a selection of dried foods like pasta, oats and lentils to fill up your newly purchased containers.

382 Byres Road, Glasgow

What’s better than food? That’s right, drink! The folks at Demijohn have a unique selling point, in that they specifically sell liquids – labelling themselves as ‘the liquid deli’. Pouring out of large glass containers, there’s oils, vinegar, jam, chutney and dressings, as well as many spirits and liqueurs that are, quite literally, on tap. So bring a bottle along and you’ll be leaving with a glassful of some of the best fluids in the West End.