The Jar Tree is a new zero waste weigh-and-pay shop where you can buy food and home products without the packaging.
According to WRAP, we throw away around 5 million tonnes of plastic waste every year in the UK alone. But one Leeds shop is on a mission to change that. The Jar Tree is a new zero-waste shop in Kirkgate Market – you can pop in with a container or buy one from them, fill it with dry foods, detergent and more, then weigh it and pay. It’s that simple.
It’s the work of two Leeds-based zero waste activists, Aimee Charlotte and Ian Thursfield. “I started my journey to become more ‘zero waste’ early last year,” Aimee told us. “But I was frustrated at the lack of food I could buy without packaging. Fruit and veg were much easier to get than rice and pasta, but I was surprised that a city like Leeds didn’t offer much in the way of loose foods, so I thought, well I’ll just open my own shop, along with my business partner Ian.”
They’ve found the perfect unit in the heart of Kirkgate Market, just by the entrance to the street food and event space. It’s as straightforward as possible – you head to the counter to weigh your container first, so you don’t pay for the extra weight. If you don’t have one, you can buy one of their glass jars. Then make a beeline for the floor-to-ceiling gravity dispensers and fill your jars.
You can choose from a whole range of dry foods, with essentials like rice and pasta alongside herbs, spices and cereals. They have loads of different types of nuts, or you can stock up on tea, coffee and sugar. It won’t cost a fortune either as they’ve priced everything to be as competitive as possible – we’re talking £1 for 100 grams of dark drinking chocolate, 90p for 100 grams of mixed chopped nuts and 45p for 100 grams of brown lentils.
It’s not just food either. You can pick up everything from floor cleaner and washing liquid to soap, shampoo and conditioner. And they’ve got a bunch of ethical items that aren’t weigh-and-pay, like bamboo-handled razors, metal straws and recycled tissue rolls.
“The plastic we buy and throw away will be around for hundreds of years, it has such an impact and is a massive problem,” Aimee explained. “People think of turtles getting caught in plastic bags, but it’s more about how plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces in the sea and starts to leach into our water, the environment and the food chain. It doesn’t have to be like that though, little changes can make a difference – we believe in small changes that can help.”
The Jar Tree is good for the planet, affordable and right on your doorstep, making it easier than ever to go plastic-free when you can. So grab a container and start filling up. And if you’ve got any top tips on what they should stock in the future, they’re open to any and all requests.
The Jar Tree, Unit BS1, Leeds Kirkgate Market, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HY. It’s open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.