By Mia Haggar
Zero waste stores within Leeds Kirkgate Market are growing in popularity as people change their everyday lives to be more sustainable to help combat the ongoing climate crisis.
The zero-waste lifestyle has been gaining momentum over the past few years as environmental issues such as plastic pollution and extreme weather changes cover the front pages.
Small, independent shops have been a big part of this growth as they are responsible for making the lifestyle an accessible and affordable choice for those wanting to make a change.
Joanne, 52, owns The Nut Shop which is a zero-waste shop found in Leeds Kirkgate market. The Nut Shop has been open for 60 years and could be seen as Leeds’ first zero-waste shop. Joanne believes zero waste is a lifestyle everyone can live. She said: “There are more and more places that will make it more accessible for you…and rightly so.”
Panda Refills is another zero-waste shop found in Leeds Kirkgate Market that aims to make sustainability more accessible. Aimee, 34, buys for the shop and has seen how more products have become available now that ethical consumption has gained popularity.
She said: “We were struggling when we opened to get certain things; we’re certainly not struggling anymore.”
Despite the popularity of this new lifestyle, Aimee does not agree that it is easy to achieve. She said: “It couldn’t possibly be easy because the entire system is set up for convenience for both you and for retailers.”
Olivia, 20, went zero waste in 2019 after discovering the lifestyle through social media and deciding she wanted to do her part in helping the environment. Her first steps to becoming zero waste included opting for her own bag whilst shopping ad switching her haircare products to plastic-free or refillable products.
Olivia agrees the lifestyle change is not an easy one. She said: “It’s a difficult one because it’s kind of people who are privileged enough to have enough money sometimes to buy it, because it is sometimes more expensive.”
Small changes in your everyday life are the best first steps to becoming zero waste and is what is recommended by those already living zero waste. Joanne said: “Not one person is ever going to change the world. But if we all do a little bit, we can all change the world together.”