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plastic free

Day Trips, Travel

22 Zero Waste Shops in Edinburgh To Try In 2022

Looking for the best zero-waste shops in Edinburgh? I’ve got over 20 shops for you where you can shop plastic-free and refill to your heart’s content.

A few years ago I put together a guide to ethical shopping in Edinburgh. I really need to go back at some point and update it, as the ethical shopping scene has changed so much in the city since then.

In part, this is because since then heaps of zero waste shops in Edinburgh have popped up. That ethical shopping guide is definitely missing those inclusions. Whilst I could have just gone back and included zero-waste shops in the guide, I wanted to shine a dedicated spotlight on Edinburgh’s refill shops.

This spotlight is needed, as due to the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, zero-waste shops are struggling. We’ve seen casualties in Edinburgh, with the Eco Larder sadly closing both of its Edinburgh shops in February of this year, after four years of trading.

22 Zero Waste Shops in Edinburgh

The inside of a a refill shop, with a blue text box that reads over 20 zero-waste shops in Edinburgh to help you ditch plastic.

With some zero-waste shops warning us to “use us or lose us“, I’ve put together this handy guide to making plastic-free shopping in Edinburgh easy and more accessible.

Whether you are a local looking to refill your jars, or a visitor looking to pick up some plastic-free essentials on your trip, here are 22 of the best zero-waste shops in Edinburgh:

The Refillery

As one of the original zero waste shops in Edinburgh, there are now three The Refillery locations across the city – from the city centre to further afield. Here you can find everything you could need. From loose dried staples to snacks, to cleaning products, personal care items and more. In fact, The Refillery sell over 1000 products that have been ethically sourced with zero plastic.

Not able to get to one of their stores? Local and national delivery options are available. Alternatively, you can Click & Collect, to make plastic-free shopping a breeze.

Find The Refillery in the City Centre at Unit 1, Waverley Market, Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1BQ. I was confused by the Waverley Market name – if you’ve been in Edinburgh for a while then this used to be called the Princes Mall or Waverley Mall. Occupying the store that used to be Oasis, this bright and shiny store is well placed for picking up zero waste snacks before your train departs from Waverley Station. As one of the few zero-waste shops in Edinburgh’s city centre, it’s also handy for picking up food staples without having to go too far out of your way.

For those on the south side of the city, the Newington branch at 39 Newington Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1QW is well placed for all your refill needs. This is the original Refillery.

And for those in the west of the city, the Corstorphine store is a relatively recent addition to the Refillery family. Find it at 119 b/c St. John’s Road, Corstorphine, EH12 7SB.

Weigh To Go Zero-Waste Shop

Live in Leith? Head on over to Leith Walk and discover Weigh To Go. From store cupboard staples, such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits, to herbs, loose tea, cleaning products, and personal care items, this zero-waste shop has you covered.

As well as dried goods, Weigh To Go has some fresh produce options. This includes local organic eggs, locally made organic oat milk in glass bottles, and milk in glass bottles.

Find Weigh To Go at 27 Crighton Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH7 4NY.

Dig In Bruntsfield

Dig In Bruntsfield, a community greengrocer, is owned and run by the community, for the community’s benefit. They do their best to keep their shelves full of affordable, good food and the household items you need most.

Whilst not entirely zero-waste, it’s a great place to pick up loose fruit and vegetables for those south of the city centre. In fact, Dig In works with local and regional producers and suppliers to stock a wide range of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and eggs. Dig In also offers weekly fruit and vegetable boxes, including an organic option.

Find them at 119 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4EQ

The New Leaf Co-Op

Inside at the New Leaf Co-Op in Edinburgh

Live near Marchmont? Hotfoot it to The New Leaf Co-op – a wholefood workers cooperative.

With a focus on products that are fresh, local, organic, come in low packaging, and are reasonably priced, it’s popular with university students and locals alike.

Here you can bring your empty jars and produce bags, and help yourself to over 50 scoop-your-own ingredients and snacks. This includes nuts and seeds, dried fruits, pasta, couscous, grains and rice. The New Leaf Co-Op also offer more than 100 loose herbs and spices, which they say are the best value in town, as well as a selection of loose teas.

As well as dried staples, New Leaf Co-op offers a wide range of fresh ingredients from local suppliers. This includes local organic fruit and vegetables, and baked goods from local bakeries.

You can even grind your own nut butter at New Leaf Co-Op. You can grind your own almond butter on Monday, cashew butter on Tuesday and peanut butter throughout the rest of the week. There’s even a chocolate peanut butter happy hour on a Saturday afternoon.

As well as food, New Leaf Co-Op also offers a host of refillable cleaning products for the body and home. Bring a bottle or a jar and fill up!

Visit New Leaf Co-Op at 23 Argyle Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1JJ.

The Gull’s Grocery Zero-Waste Shop

The Gull’s Grocery is a new zero-waste shop on Edinburgh’s Ferry Road, opened in 2021. This trans-led organisation actively works for diversity, equality, and transparency in its business. It also does not sell products from companies which use violence, slavery, and/or unethical business practice.

Offering a selection of household and body care refill products, you can also find plastic-free groceries. Bring along your jars, and refill pasta and grains, flour, muesli, dried fruit, nuts, and sweet treats. Refill on organic sunflower oil or olive oil, and stock on milk and plant-based milk in glass jars.

Find The Gull’s Grocery at 124a Ferry Road, Edinburgh, EH6 4PG.

Real Foods

Real Foods has been selling foods and household goods to ethically-minded Edinburgh shoppers since 1975 from their Tollcross and Broughton Street stores. Whilst not entirely plastic-free, both stores offer a wide variety of dried ethically sourced grocery items that you can pack into your own containers, including cereals, muesli, flour, nuts and seeds, pulses, rice, and even bird food.

What’s more, their own brand groceries, Real Foods Essentials and Real Foods Organics are packed in fully compostable, cellulose bags rather than in plastic.

As well as dried goods, loose organic fruit and vegetables and baked goods, are also available, many of which are from local suppliers.

The Tollcross store looks small from the outside, but it’s an actual warren in there. Wander through the maze of aisles, and you’ll stumble upon the cleaning and body care refill section. Here over 25 products are available for refill.

Find the Real Foods Tollcross store at 8 Brougham St, Edinburgh EH3 9JH.

In the Broughton Street area? Find the Real Foods Broughton store at 37 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU.

Easter Greens

As Scotland’s first (and only) 100% vegan grocery store, Easter Greens have two shops in the city – one on Easter Road, and the other across Edinburgh in Morningside.

Again, whilst not entirely plastic-free, both stores do offer refill products.

Whilst you can find vegan liquid refills in both stores – for both household and body – the larger Morningside store also offers a selection of dried foodstuffs for refill. This includes rice, lentils, dried peas, oatmeal, oats, muesli, nuts and more.

In the Easter Road area? Visit Easter Greens at 4 Easter Road, Edinburgh, EH7 5RG.

In Morningside? Visit the store at 179 Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH10 4QP.

Locavore Edinburgh

As a social enterprise, Locavore exists to help build a more sustainable local food system which is better for the local economy, the environment and the community. Well established in Glasgow, they’ve recently opened up their first shop on the east coast on Edinburgh’s Dalry Road.

Selling a range of zero-waste refill goods, such as loose organic grains, pulses, flours, herbs and spices, don’t forget to bring your jars and bags! The store also sells loose fresh local and organic fruit and vegetables. What’s more, they also offer organic and local cheese, dairy and vegan-friendly dairy alternatives. It’s a great addition to Edinburgh’s zero-waste scene.

Find Locavore at 118-126 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, EH11 2EZ.

The Good Store

The outside of the Good Store zero waste shop in Edinburgh, with the two owners standing smiling.

In the Golden Acre area? Lucky you! The Good Store offers a fantastic selection of zero-waste refill products.

Run by two sisters, the store offers heaps of plastic-free refills for all your cooking and baking needs. From gluten-free refill products to herbs and spices, cereals and pulses, grains and pasta, and more. You can also pick up organic fruit and vegetable boxes,

Don’t live near Golden Acre? You don’t have to miss out! The Good Store offers free cargo bike delivery across Edinburgh on all orders over £50.

Find The Good Store at 13 Montagu Terrace, Edinburgh, EH3 5QX.

Edinburgh Food Sharing Hub

As Scotland’s first rescued food shop, the Food Sharing Hub exists to save surplus food from supermarkets and small businesses around Edinburgh from the bin.

Run by environmental cooperative the Shrub Co-Op, and their team of dedicated volunteers, whilst it isn’t zero-waste in the sense of refilling your jars, it is zero-waste from the perspective of preventing food waste. Shrub Co-Op say they save 1.63 tonnes of food through the Food Sharing Hub per month. That’s a saving of 7.69 tonnes of carbon equivalent.

The Food Sharing Hub works with a host of local supermarkets and small businesses via Fareshare and Neighbourly to rescue surplus food that might otherwise end up in landfill. They get a lot of fresh produce – including fruits and vegetables and bread and baked goods that are still tasty and safe to eat past their ‘best before date’. They also get seasonal products that shops need to clear away, dented tins, cut flowers and all sorts of surprises.

The hub is open to everyone. Simply come along, fill a basket with food and pay as you feel.

Find the Food Sharing Hub at 22 Bread Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AF.

Rosevear Tea

If tea is your thing, and you want to avoid plastic in your tea, then head to Rosevear Tea.

With over 155 loose leaf teas, including black, white, green, oolong and herbal teas, you will be spoiled for choice. What’s more, bring in your own containers to be refilled, and receive a 50p discount on the price of the tea.

Visit the Bruntsfield Store at 100 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4ES.

Near Broughton Street? Visit the store at 71 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3RJ.

Or near Clerk Street? Visit Rosevear Tea at 17 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9JH.

Pekoe Tea

Pekoe Tea is another loose leaf tea shop in Edinburgh, where you can fill up your own container of loose leaf tea.

Here, you can find a wide variety of the finest single-estate teas as well as unique hand-crafted blends made in their Edinburgh tea factory in Leith.

Visit Pekoe Tea at 11 Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH6 8LN.

Edinburgh Natural Skincare

If you are looking for plastic-free hair and skincare items, then Edinburgh Natural Skincare is a veritable treat for the senses. From solid shampoo and conditioner bars to gorgeous solid hand cream bars, and glass jars full of moisturisers and other treats for the skin, this is the place to go in the city.

These beautiful handmade products are made in Scotland with only 100% natural ingredients and the purest essential oils. It’s a fantastic place to go if you are looking for zero-waste gift ideas in Edinburgh.

Find Edinburgh Natural Skincare at 57 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1BS

Other Zero Waste Shopping Options In Edinburgh

Inside of a zero-waste refill store.

Whilst you wouldn’t consider the following as zero-waste shops, some big-name stores in Edinburgh now offer refill options.

Marks & Spencer at The Gyle now offers a refill section. The Fill Your Own section offers more than 60 lines of refillable groceries. This includes pasta, rice, cereal, nuts, frozen fruit and a range of bake-at-home items, such as all-butter croissants, pain au chocolats, and apricot twists.

Find it at M&S, 24a Gyle Avenue, Edinburgh, EH12 9JS.

For those in the Stockbridge area, the Raeburn Place Scotmid offers a refill station where customers can fill up on different dry products. This includes pasta, couscous, coffee, dried fruit, and baking and cleaning essentials, which have been provided by Glasgow-based co-operative, Greencity Wholefoods.

Find it at Scotmid Stockbridge, 36-38 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HN.

Some Holland & Barrett stores offer packaging-free shopping options – such as dried foods, nuts, and treats. I know the Princes St store offers this, but can’t say for certainty about other stores in the city.

Find it at Holland & Barrett, 18-19 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AN

For a bonus 23rd shop, I’ve been passed some local insider knowledge that for those of you in the South West of Edinburgh, then Mark McGills Butcher & Bakery in Currie is the place to go. It looks like it has a great selection of refill products for your cooking, baking and breakfast needs.

Find the store at 124 Lanark Rd West, Currie EH14 5NY

If you have any more suggestions for this list, get in touch! And a huge thank you to the egg Edinburgh community for their valuable input into this list.

If you are Glasgow-based, then I haven’t forgotten about you! Do also check out my guide to zero-waste shops in Glasgow.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste in 2022

Do you need to brush up on the best plastic-free and eco-friendly toothpaste in 2022 in the UK? You’re in luck! I’ve got you covered with my pick of the ten best brands.

Looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly toothpaste? Perhaps one that’s plastic-free, and packaged in a glass jar? Perhaps some eco-friendly toothpaste tablets? Or maybe you’d prefer toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube? Or maybe even toothpaste that comes in a refillable tube?

You are in luck! The good news is that the eco-friendly toothpaste market has expanded massively in the last year or so. Now, in 2022, there’s an option for almost every sustainable dental care variable.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Toothpaste Tubes?

You might be wondering what exactly is wrong with standard toothpaste tubes? Well, toothpaste tubes and other types of squeezable tubes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials. Toothpaste tubes in particular often contain a thin layer of aluminium, sandwiched between various types of plastic. It’s too tricky and too costly for recycling centres to separate and process these layers, so instead the empty tubes get sent to landfill.

Terracycle does collect conventional toothpaste tubes for recycling. However, you do need to have a collection point near you. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be accessible to you, so you may prefer to bypass these tubes of toothpaste completely.

Ten of The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands

Image of two wooden toothbrushes with a blue text box that says ten of the best eco-friendly toothpaste brands

The good news is that I’ve been doing some digging and found the best green toothpaste brands in the UK right now. These brands should be fully recyclable in most parts of the UK. However, do check with your local council on anything you are not sure about.

I’ve also specifically looked for the brands that offer fluoride and fluoride-free eco-friendly toothpaste options, to cater to a range of dental needs. In my search, I’ve even found palm oil-free toothpaste brands and eco-friendly brands that cater to sensitive teeth. Let’s dive in, and brush up on my favourite toothpaste brands!

This post contains affiliate links denoted by *.

Ben and Anna

ben and anna eco-friendly toothpaste

Ben and Anna* make a range of different flavoured eco-friendly toothpaste, catering for a range of differing dental needs. From toothpaste with fluoride to toothpaste without fluoride. They even have whitening toothpaste, and toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. What’s more, each is packaged in a recyclable glass jar and cardboard box.

Their effective cruelty-free formulas are made from natural ingredients, such as sea-buckthorn, chamomile, activated charcoal, cinnamon, and calcium for strong, shiny teeth and healthy gums. And even better, all of their toothpaste is free from nasties, such as phthalates, parabens, microplastics, SLS, and formaldehyde.

Ben and Anna also make a natural mouthwash (that’s not made from coconut oil) that is also packaged in a glass bottle. See my full guide to eco-friendly mouthwash for all of the details.

Prices start from £8.95.

Boca

boca plastic-free toothpaste

BOCA has produced day and night tubes of toothpaste crafted from organic and vegan ingredients. You can even choose from fluoride or fluoride-free options, depending on your preferences. What’s more, the toothpaste features the world’s first refill and reuse tube system. This is currently on trial in the UK only.

Wondering how it works? Every 8 weeks BOCA sends you replacement compostable tube refill cartridges. All you have to do is pop the empty tube in the dishwasher or clean it with hot water. Then refill your tubes and reseal them with the BOCA system, before composting your empty refill cartridges.

If you don’t get on with toothpaste in a glass jar or toothpaste tablets then this could be one to try. Sometimes eco-friendly swaps are easier to make if they’re similar to what you’ve been used to.

Prices start from £9.99.

Brushd Eco-Friendly Toothpaste

brushd plastic free dental care

Brushd* makes a great range of plastic-free dental hygiene products, including toothpaste tablets, that come in fluoride or fluoride-free varieties. They also have a range of mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss. When your toothpaste or mouthwash jar is empty, there’s no need to put it in the glass recycling. Instead buy a refill that comes in a cardboard container for a lower carbon footprint.

Brushd also makes bamboo interdental brushes*. To be honest, I’m on the fence about bamboo interdental brushes. They’re made of mixed materials. This means they will have to be sent to landfill, where biodegradable materials do not break down. Bamboo isn’t native to Europe so it has to be shipped from abroad. This possibly gives it a heavier carbon footprint than a plastic interdental brush. It’s a more expensive “eco” swap that may not make a discernible difference to the environment. It’s certainly something to think about. If you want to read more you can read about why plastic-free isn’t always better for the environment.

Toothpaste tablets start from £4.99.

DENTtabs

DENTtabs toothpaste tablets

DENTtabs* teeth cleaning tablets with fluoride are a great eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste. These tablets are 100% plastic-free, with no preservatives. They come in a fully home compostable bag made from cornstarch and carry the official home composting certification. When the bag arrives in the post, simply rip it open and pop the toothpaste tablets into one of your own reused jars. Then pop the bag in your composter – no waste!

One bag is equivalent to 2 tubes of toothpaste, and kid’s versions are available too.

Priced at £5.55.

Georganics

Georganics* specialise in natural, sustainable, and ethical dental care. As such, they create plastic-free products that promote good oral health. Made by hand in the UK, each formula includes locally sourced, organic natural ingredients that are kind to you, your teeth, and the planet.

From refillable jars of toothpaste tablets to tooth soap and toothpowder, their environmentally friendly teeth cleaning range is extensive. Meanwhile, their mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss also promote good oral hygiene, not at the expense of the planet.

What’s more, their vegan-friendly products are free from fluoride, parabens, SLS, SLES, mineral oil, microbeads, phthalates, triclosan, palm oil, and synthetic fragrances.

Prices start from £6.90 for toothpaste.

Happier Eco-Friendly Toothpaste

happier plastic free toothpaste in tubes

Happier* is another plastic-free toothpaste that comes in a tube if dental tablets are not your thing. This toothpaste has been specially formulated for sensitive teeth. What’s to really love about it is that the Happier eco-friendly toothpaste comes in an old-school aluminium tube. This tube can be recycled with your metal recycling. It also looks incredibly stylish sitting on your bathroom shelf!

To help you squeeze out every last drop of toothpaste, you can buy a reusable “Squeeze Key*” from Happier. Conveniently, this can also be used on all aluminium tubes, such as my favourite Weleda Skin Food, or even your tomato puree!

This fluoride toothpaste is free from SLS, triclosan, parabens, petrochemicals, colours, artificial flavours, or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, it’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

Happier is priced at £7.99*, and can be bought on a repeat subscription.

Parla

Parla zero-waste toothpaste tablets

Parla’s eco-friendly toothpaste tablets* was founded by three award-winning cosmetic dentists from London. As dentists, they believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s smiles but not harm people, animals, or the planet in the process.

Their very minty tablets are available in two different-sized glass jars – either as 62 tablets or 248 tablets. And when you need a refill, you can buy a 248 tablet refill that comes in a cardboard box for lower carbon shipping. Not sure what size would suit you? 62 Tabs is a 1 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily. Meanwhile, 248 Tabs is a 4 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily.

Prices start at £6.95.

Truthpaste

truthpaste zero waste

Truthpaste* is a palm oil-free toothpaste, that’s also free from fluoride, SLS/SLES, triclosan, and glycerin. Nor does it doesn’t contain any foaming agents, bleaching agents, colourants, or artificial ingredients. Even better, Truthpaste is 100% vegan and cruelty-free too.

This eco-friendly toothpaste comes in a glass jar with a metal lid, making it fully recyclable when you’re done.

Priced at £8.95

Truthtabs

Not to be confused with Truthpaste, Truthtabs* are a different company!

Simply pop one UK-made Truthtab into your mouth, bite and brush. Truthtabs foam and clean just like toothpaste. Meanwhile, the fresh Wild Mint flavour leaves your teeth sparkling and your breath fresh.

These come in a cardboard box, which can be decanted into your own glass jar, for lower carbon shipping.

Prices start at £4.50

Weleda Eco-Friendly Toothpaste

Finally, Weleda* offers this plant-based formulation in a metal tube. This toothpaste is especially good for those with delicate gums.

This toothpaste is vegan-friendly and not tested on animals. What’s more, it’s free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, surfactants, synthetic preservatives, flavours, colourants, and raw materials derived from mineral oils. Do note that Weleda’s toothpaste is only available in a fluoride-free option.

Priced at £4.95.

Didn’t You Forget About Lush?

So, yes, Lush does make toothpaste tablets. Ane no, I’m not recommending them. Personally, I am not a fan of Lush. I dislike their intensely pushy sales tactics. The last time I was in their store, they used some pretty problematic sales tactics on my kids who were just 3 and 7 at the time. As such, I’ve not bought any of their products since.

Whilst that’s my own personal grudge against Lush, there are bigger reasons that make Lush one to avoid. In December it was reported that Lush donated a four-figure sum to an anti-trans group. They have since apologised, but I personally feel uneasy supporting this company.

What If I Can’t Afford These Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands?

All of these eco-friendly toothpaste brands do come at a much higher price point than your average £1 tube of toothpaste. If they’re out of reach, then you can try to buy toothpaste that comes in a pump, rather than a tube, if this is accessible to you. Recycle Now says that pump action toothpaste tubes are easier to recycle. Pump tubes can be placed in your recycling bin if your local authority also collects plastic pots, tubs, and trays, so do make for a more affordable eco-friendly swap.

How Can We As Consumers Bring About Change?

Something that is important for us all to do, whether we can afford to buy these eco alternatives or not, is to write to toothpaste manufacturers via email or social media, to ask them to switch to recyclable packaging.

In terms of accessibility, I don’t know if toothpaste tubes or pumps are more accessible to people with mobility problems. Do see the plastic straw ban conversation if you are new to these issues. I would therefore be loath to suggest that all manufacturers switch to toothpaste pumps without fully understanding any potential impacts.

Colgate has, however, introduced a fully recyclable toothpaste tube. This shows the technology and materials are there. More manufacturers should therefore be encouraged to adopt this packaging.

Frustratingly, Colgate hasn’t introduced this recyclable tube across their whole range, and the price point is much higher for this toothpaste. I smell greenwashing. Having one recyclable product amongst a sea of non-recyclable products does not make for an eco-friendly toothpaste brand. Colgate should be encouraged to roll this packaging out across their whole range. In the absence of strong Governmental actions on plastic packaging, they will only do this with consumer pressure from us.

Enjoyed this post? Do also check out my posts on the best fluoride-free toothpaste and how to reduce plastic in the bathroom.