The importance of sustainable living has been of increasing awareness, something which is evident on the nation’s high streets. There has been a rise of businesses taking positive action and encouraging us all to make beneficial changes. And these admirable places are making it easy, by providing enjoyable experiences and quality products which are desirable as well as ethical. So to feel better about yourself and the environment, here are ten of the best eco-friendly shops to visit in and around Leeds.
Conveniently located in the centre of Leeds – in Central Arcade, no less – is a shop aptly named as a ‘utopia for the eco-friendly’. Its promise is delivered in a welcoming store that promotes zero waste living. This means refill foods, reusable containers, ethical fashion, sustainable beauty, and educational literature. Owner sisters Michelle and Sam have recently added a second Ecotopia at Bramley Shopping Centre as their positive message spreads across Leeds.
The traditional home of Leeds shopping, Kirkgate Market also evolves with the times, and amongst its myriad of eclectic traders is zero waste store Panda Refills. Set up with a passion by manager Jenny, here you’ll find an inspirational ethos and plastic free products. From organic health foods to eco cleaning, you can click and collect or walk in and weigh, either way making conscious shopping an accessible and enjoyable experience.
‘Muda’ is a Japanese word which means ‘wastefulness’, and this Horsforth refill store is perfectly named in their mission towards zero. Here you can pick up organic dried food, plus reuse your bottles for oils, vinegars and even treat yourself to natural wines. A true community champion with a social conscience, Zero Muda channels all profits back into local charities, positive projects and environmental organisations.
The Refilling Station
Chapel Allerton is home to a selection of super independent shops, which take both a traditional and progressive approach. This is the ideal spot for The Refilling Station, which does exactly that as a forward thinking, back to basics eco grocery store. Owner Kirsty and her team provide a lovely space which helps locals shop for all their needs, including natural foods and household items, without unnecessary plastic and packaging.
Out Of This World
For over 15 years, Out Of This World have been supplying Leeds with all things healthy and ethical. Leading the environmental surge, this New Market Street store has a terrific stock of goodies, with whole foods, kitchen and bathroom products, fresh bakes, and their very own plant based Vegan World. All great quality and with some super special offers.
A unique project that has been improving the environment through the recycling of paint since 2004, Seagulls Reuse remains a vital community enterprise in Leeds. Based on Kirkstall Road, where they provide high quality low priced paint to the city and a whole lot more, including workshops and social action. So much so that they have previously won Social Enterprise of the year!
SCRAP is a Centre of Creative, Reuse Play and Learning based at Sunnybank Mills in Farsley. The social enterprise began in 2006 and has grown into a multi-faceted organisation which provides an inclusive creative space whilst diverting business waste from landfill to art, play, education, learning and community activities. The SCRAP store is filled with fun and practical resources and their re-store of eco-friendly household cleaning and self care products delivers on the tagline to ‘refill, reuse, replenish’.
Tandem Refill Station
Tandem opened in Meanwood in 2017 as an independent gift and lifestyle store. Designers Hannah and Hatty have made this bohemian hub a joyful place to visit, filled with stylish items, including homewares, gifts, plants and jewellery. Tandem is topped off by their refill station, where you can fill up your containers with practical liquids for body, house and environment.
Outside of Leeds, there are more marvellous eco-friendly stores making it easy for their communities to shop consciously. In Saltaire, Mr. Whetstone provides sustainable and affordable household essentials, with carefully stocked whole foods, cooking ingredients, natural cleaning products and bodycare, all package free and low waste. Since opening in 2020, owner Annie has created a store cupboard of a shop that Saltaire can be proud of.
Fair Trader in Holmfirth
Out in Holmfirth, Fair Trader have been bringing the ethical world to the local area since 2009. Their aim is to help reduce poverty by promoting fair trading, and as one of the country’s largest fair trade stores, they are making a difference. Shop here for beautiful gifts, accessories, jewellery, homeware, food and drink, or maybe even help out at this impactful volunteer-run cooperative.
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Images: Seagulls, Tandem, Fair Trader, Zero Muda