It seems like a contradiction in terms, green consumerism. Can I really make my shopping experience more planet friendly? I already buy my business and home electricity and gas from Ecotricity and run a shop for makers and producers. Is there more I can do?
First off I pop into Loose in the High Street to meet Julie, the owner. Her newest location is a sparkling array of rows of glass jars full of essentials. The atmosphere is homely and friendly and while I’m there, a customer pops over from Loganberry cafe with a refill cup of coffee for Julie.
“So what’s so great about shopping in Loose?” “Well firstly most of the products are certified organic. So that’s great for the environment, the growers and us, the end consumers. One unique aspect is that you can buy any quantity you want of anything, making it a great way to try new foods.” “By shopping in town we are supporting individual community assets where people can come and buy, meet and chat. And have that all important human connection we are missing in our lives. And of course our hard-earned cash stays in the community.”
Loose provides over-stock paper bags from a local paper mill, saving on waste which would go into landfill. As well as the usual staples, Julie sells a whole range of spices and points out that whilst glass is recyclable, it is much “greener” to buy refills. It’s also (notably) much cheaper.
Just down the hill is Sunshine, one of the longest established family run businesses in Stroud. Great for pantry essentials, organics and of course their own fresh baked breads from their organic bakery near Star Anise.
Next up The Shambles Market. Friendly, colourful, fun and a great place to be. Fridays and Saturdays are market days at The Shambles (between Moonflower and Costa)
Buy the exact quantity you need for the week, in paper bags, the organic produce is at the Global Organics stall by the church gates is great quality and so tasty!
The various charity shops are a great way to recycle great hardly worn clothes, avoid fast fashion or to contribute by helping out. Rasmachaz in Kendrick Street currently has vacancies for fabulous customer focussed folk to volunteer for a few hours a week.
Check out the vintage shops in Gloucester Street, the High Street and John Street for cool clothes shopping and Moonflower for a pre-loved rail.
Stroud Valleys Eco shop in Threadneedle Street is a great place for refills of Eco-Leaf or BioD laundry liquid, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner and more. Take your own empty bottles, it is considerably cheaper than the supermarkets plus you are supporting a charity which facilitates some wonderful environmental projects in the area was instrumental in helping me to organise the first farmers’ markets. Talking of which, Stroud farmers market – buying direct from the growers, producers and makers, cutting out food miles, packing and distribution centres, unnecessary food waste and putting money directly into the pockets of the people who look after the land. Could shopping get any more eco? Plus a great place to meet new friends and discover some great dinner party ideas.
Mondays in The Shambles is Vintage Mary – the ultimate shopping destination for rare and mid century homewares, haberdashery, fabrics, and just about everything under the sun.
There’s a lot more I could write about here, but bring your own bags, go for a wander around Stroud and let us know what your favourite eco shopping hacks are. As Tash in SVP Eco shop points out so rightly, it takes up to 90 days to create a new habit. So here’s a great goal for quarter three of 2023 – shop eco in Stroud.
Clare Honeyfield is a published author and community business founder who helps women entrepreneurs to step into their power and smash life.
Clare is passionate about all things community and sustainability. www.clarehoneyfield.co.uk