EcoTopia is taking the plastic out of grocery shopping with its new zero waste, weigh-and-pay shop in Central Arcade.
It’s a well-known fact that our ongoing use of plastics is damaging the environment, but there are businesses in Leeds trying to change that. EcoTopia is the new zero waste shop in Central Arcade – head over with a container in hand, or just buy one from them, and fill it up with their huge array of dry foods, household items, beauty products and more.
EcoTopia is the brainchild of two Leeds friends, Samantha Newton and Michelle Arthur. Like most of us, they were once blind to the problems of plastics, but the viral posts on social media made them change their ways – and that was when they realised how difficult it was to shop plastic-free. Samantha told us, “Avoiding plastic is insanely difficult, so we’ve looked around for loose food stores, only to find there are only a handful of tiny shops (or sections of shops) mentioned in the north of England! We have done our best with trying to lower our levels of waste, but it was unfortunately still a problem for others who see no other options available.”
They’ve taken the bull by the horns and decided to do it for themselves. It couldn’t be easier to shop at EcoTopia – they have a weighing station in the centre of the shop, where you can weigh your container before filling it with goodies. And if you don’t have one, there are loads for you to buy, from mini glass jars for 65p to half-gallon jars for £5.
You can then make your way around the second-hand shelves that are dotted around the perimeter of the shop. Each one is loaded with dispensers full of locally-sourced produce. The bulk of their offering is dry foods, with everything from rice, pasta and flour to sugar, nuts and cereals. It won’t cost you a lot – it’s just 24p for 10 grams of English breakfast tea leaves, 26p per 100 grams of porridge oats and 41p for 100 grams of chickpeas. You can choose from a selection of oils and vinegars too, starting from just 40p for 100 grams.
But it’s not just food you can buy here. There are loads of essential household items to fill your containers with. From fabric conditioner to washing up liquid, prices start at just 18p per 100 grams. There are plenty of health and beauty products too, like conditioner, shampoo and hand wash, alongside ethical items that aren’t weigh-and-pay, like Organicups, loofahs and wooden toothbrushes.
“Shopping in a zero waste shop is a fun experience since it differs so much from any other kind of shop,” Michelle explained. “It feels more personal since you can choose exactly what and how much you buy because it isn’t pre-packed. Zero waste shopping is one of the effects of the mass-consumeristic lifestyle people have grown so used to since the invention of plastic. Plastic has made people so wasteful, but with a zero waste shop we can illustrate how life is possible without plastic!”
EcoTopia is making it as easy as possible for the people of Leeds to start giving up on plastics and helping the environment. Grab a container and pay them a visit the next time you need to pick up your essentials…
EcoTopia, Unit 8, Central Arcade, Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DX. It’s open 10am to 5pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 6pm Thursday to Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.Cover image copyright Fe Sasson.