With the current cost of living crisis and growing concerns about the environment, many of us are looking for ways to shop more sustainably. Whether you’re eschewing fast fashion in favour of vintage treasures, cutting down on single use packaging or opting for local fruit and veg with fewer food miles, there are plenty of ways to go green in Leeds. Here are some of the city’s best eco-friendly businesses to support this summer.
The Refilling Station, Chapel Allerton
Located in the village-like suburb of Chapel Allerton, this zero waste grocery shop sells everything you need to fill your cupboards and keep your home looking its best while also helping to take care of the planet. Residing in an old stone building with a light and inviting interior, The Refilling Station offers pantry essentials as well as cleaning and personal care products. You can bring your own reusable bottles and fill them with washing up liquid, laundry detergent, shampoo, hand soap, body wash and more. You’ll also find sustainable alternatives to rubber gloves, dish cloths and toothbrushes here. Brands stocked include Miniml, Faith in Nature and Ecover. In the shop’s food section, you can buy loose, dry ingredients such as lentils, nuts, oats, herbs and spices, or pick up a gift in the form of sweet goodies from the Raw Chocolate Company and Tony’s Chocolonely.
Blue Rinse, Leeds City Centre
If you love picking up retro bargains from charity shops but don’t always have the time to search for them, Blue Rinse’s vintage stores offer a great alternative. Established in Leeds back in 1997, this family-run secondhand clothing business has gone from strength to strength and now boasts two stores in the city – one in the Merrion Centre and another on Call Lane. Each contains a wonderful selection of rare and unusual vintage pieces and, as the rails are restocked throughout the day, there are always lots of gems waiting to be discovered. If you’re looking to give your wardrobe a complete makeover, you can shop by the kilo at one of the store’s ‘weigh and pay’ events. Simply pick out the items you’d like and pop them on the scales. 1kg of clothing only costs £15, so you can affordably update your look without supporting fast fashion. The staff at Blue Rinse believe in ‘repairing, reworking and recycling’, and if clothes aren’t in a good enough condition to be resold they are instead taken apart and upcycled into new and exciting one-off designs.
Oliver’s Fruit & Veg, Kirkgate Market
This well-stocked fruit and vegetable stall on Kirkgate Market has been providing Leeds residents with the best fresh and seasonal produce for many years. Oliver’s prices are hard to beat and you’ll get far more for your money than you would in a supermarket. As their veggies are often grown locally, you can also be assured of fewer food miles, too. Here, you’ll find everything from green beans, juicy berries and flavourful bananas to ripe and ready-to-eat plums and peaches. The stall can be found in Kirkgate Market’s 1904 Hall – just a stone’s throw from where British retail giant Marks & Spencer started life as a penny bazaar back in the 1880s. If you’re stopping by to pick up some greens, you can visit the heritage stall that now stands on the spot, celebrating this special part of the city’s history. You can also take your time and explore the neighbouring stalls, perhaps treating yourself to a slice of scrumptious cake or a bunch of beautiful flowers to brighten your home with.
BEST Vintage, Leeds City Centre
A secondhand clothing store with a difference, BEST specialises in premium vintage streetwear and casuals, with pieces from big brands such as Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Burberry, Dickies, Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Each item sold here is handpicked by owner and founder Perri Isa and his team. Perri has a great eye and authenticity and quality are guaranteed. The shop has a zero waste policy and each garment is inspected, washed and pressed before it appears on the rails. Anything that can’t be resold is incorporated into new designs and BEST currently offers edits of reworked vintage Carhartt and Dickies workwear pants. Alongside t-shirts, hoodies and trainers, you’ll also find vintage football shirts here. The most exclusive pieces always sell quickly, so you’ll have to be ready to snap up anything you love.
SCRAP Centre of Creative Reuse, Farsley
If you’re looking for art or craft materials, SCRAP is the place to head. Described as a ‘creative reuse art project’, this not-for-profit shop in Farsley takes in waste from businesses and saves it from landfill by helping it to find a new use. Situated in the Spinning Mill at Sunny Bank Mills, SCRAP is an Aladdin’s Cave filled with all kinds of useful and hard-to-come-by bits and pieces. These include everything from paper, card and fabric offcuts to wire, tyres and plastic plates. If you’re a student, teacher or parent, you’ll find lots of budget-friendly resources for art, play and learning here. For those who are new to making, this imaginative shop offers a range of beautifully-designed craft kits that contain everything you need to get started on a hobby such as embroidery or macrame. SCRAP also houses its own refill shop named reSTORE.
Images: @refillingstationstore @blue.rinse.vinatge @scrapleeds