Shopping sustainably means shopping in a way that limits the negative impact on the environment – it’s about being mindful in the way we shop, preventing waste, and choosing products that have been responsibly sourced and produced.
At Cardiff Market’s recent late-night event, I visited a handful of the market’s traders to put these principles into practice, and here I’ve shared some of my sustainable shopping tips.
To get the most out of your sustainable shop, it’s worth coming prepared with your own reusable shopping bag, a reusable coffee mug, and some clean Tupperware.
1. Get Your Greens
You can find a wide variety of fresh fruit and veg from the market’s two greengrocers, Sullivans and Yeates. The great thing about shopping at a traditional market stall is that, unlike the supermarket, you can buy exactly the amounts you need for a particular recipe, and nothing comes wrapped in single use plastic. Keep an eye out for the special offers when certain fruit and veg is in abundance and in season.
2. Sip More Sustainably
In the UK we use 7 million takeaway coffee cups a day, but just 0.25% of them are ever recycled – that’s a whole lot of waste just for a daily coffee habit. Whether it’s an oat flat white from Hard Lines, or a hot Masala Chai from Clancy’s, remember to BYO coffee cup – you can also claim a small discount off the price of your hot drink for bringing one.
3. Pick Up a Pizza
You may recognise the boys from Ffwrnes, they are the stars of ‘ The Pizza Boys’ and ‘Bois y Pizza’ as seen on BBC One Wales, BBC iPlayer, BBC Two and S4C. At their permanent spot on the second floor of the market, they churn out delicious wood-fired pizzas with a variety of traditional (and not-so-traditional) toppings, which can be eaten at the tables on the balcony. All pizzas are served on proper crockery, with proper cutlery, meaning there is no single-use packaging in sight.
4. BYO Lunchbox
Many of the market’s traders who usually serve up their foodie treats in single-use trays and lunchboxes, will be more than happy to accept a reusable as a sustainable alternative. Whether you fancy some cheese & potato polish dumplings from Pierogi, or some vegan mushroom gyoza from Tokyo Nights, both traders are happy to accept your own lunchbox in lieu of their single-use options.
5. Stock Up On Staples
Find Clancy’s under the clocktower for a mind-boggling array of loose herbs and spices, available to buy ‘packaging free’. I stay stocked up on their loose-leaf Morrocan mint tea; just bring along any empty spice jars, tea caddies or other suitable container, and they’ll fill it up and charge for the exact amount by weight.
6. Pick some plastic-free flowers
Head to Secret Garden Florist on the ground floor for a dazzling array of houseplants, dried flowers and fresh blooms. You can choose one of their pre-made bouquets or create your own arrangement of stems and foliage; the bouquets come simply wrapped in coloured paper and are tied with natural twine. Far more romantic-looking than supermarket flowers, and plastic-free to boot.
7. Go Vintage
Pop to Hatts Emporium Vintage Clothing for vintage menswear and accessories, reclaimed denim, a made-to-measure service and more than a hundred different styles of hat – promising something suitable for any occasion! If you have any menswear pieces that you think the team at Hatts may like, they also source 90% of their vintage wears from the general public, and pride themselves on giving the fairest price and most convenient service.
If you would like to find new places to shop without plastic in Cardiff, I would recommend downloading the free Refill App. It lists over 800 locations where people can reuse and refill everything from takeaway coffee cups and water bottles, to toiletries, cleaning products and dry goods staples.
World Refill Day is on the 16th of June so why not try going plastic free for the day? It’s good for the pocket and the planet!
By Jane Cook, sustainable food blogger at www.hungrycityhippy.co.uk.