Was Barbie Girl wrong? Life in plastic is FAR from fantastic

Get inspired to reduce your waste and take your own containers when shopping with these 5 Essex zero plastic stores

We have all heard the 90-s Barbie Girl track, the crazy hit released by the Danish-Norwegian group Aqua which sold more than 1.84 million copies. 23 years later we are still caught up singing the lines, but there is one thing that seems outdated – Barbie girl, your life in plastic is NOT fantastic anymore!

According to the World Wildlife Fund, more than seven million cups are thrown away every day in the UK, despite the fact that only 1% of them are being recycled. With 8 million tones of plastic entering the ocean annually and putting marine species at risk, producing and using less non-biodegradable products could be the only way to preserve the planet.

The alarming rate of plastic pollution has caused many UK shops to find eco-friendly alternatives and offer zero waste, compostable and reusable products. So, if you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, here are 5 shops in Essex for plastic free groceries, cleaning products, and homewares that will make you give the planet a helping hand!

1.The Earth Shop,  Stanford le Hope

This is the perfect place if you need 100% vegan and cruelty free products wrapped in completely biodegradable and plastic free packaging.

And if that is not environmentally-friendly enough for you, you need to know that the Earth Shop’s premises are powered completely by renewable energy. But Emma Brindle, the founder of the online store, takes her eco journey even further than that. She says: “We give 10% of our total profits to two animal rescue charities [South Essex Wildlife Hospital in Orsett and Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk] and we are now planting a tree in Australia for every order as well.”.

So, what better way to be more environmentally conscious than adding the Earth Shop to your favourite destinations? You can find essential eco products for your skin, hair and home at theearthshopuk.com

Emma Brindle, the founder of the Earth Shop

2. The REco Store, Tiptree

Susie and Elise, founders of the store say that they are most proud of how many plastic bottles they “have stopped going into landfill” which is why their shop is enjoying the support of “local people plus visitors from other towns with all social demographics included.” The REco Store is the right place for you if you are looking for a whole range of zero waste products from shampoos, conditioners, soaps and deodorants to dried pulses, pasta, nuts, seeds and spices.

Simply grab your own containers to make the most out of your eco- shopping experience and pop in at the Tower Business Centre in Tiptree!

3. Un-Sealed, Clacton-on-Sea

This is the first zero waste refill shop in Clacton, which has sold 220 litres of refill household liquids since its opening in November 2019.  Apart from cleaning liquids, the Un-Sealed also offers a variety of personal care products, including face creams, toothpastes, and soap bars. From the food options, people can pick goods such as nuts, flour, pasta and even re-fill oil and vinegar. Customers are welcomed to bring their own reusable containers to fill, which means no unnecessary packaging is thrown away.

Kayleigh Seal and her mum Zoe Tipple, founders of the Un-Sealed shared: “We see Un-Sealed as a flourishing business, helping people at whatever stage they are, in their plastic free journey to be able to buy the goods they need in a sustainable way.”

So, if you want to make your first step towards a zero-waste life, you can find the Un-Sealed at 2a The Grove, Clacton.

4. Pear and Potato, Southend

It is the ultimate online store if you want to do the shopping without leaving your house. Pear and Potato offers monthly family subscriptions or individual boxes of fruit and vegetables, which are fully reusable, recyclable and wrapped with compostable cellophane. What you have to do is simply choose your weekly groceries and your favourite fruits and vegetables will be delivered directly to your door in personalized wooden crates, accompanied by recipe cards.

What else could you possibly need for an environmentally-friendly journey? Go to pearandpotato.com and get your box of vitamins now!

Individual boxes of fruit and vegetables

5. An Ethical Life, Brightlingsea

This store wants to bring you back in the time when we could weigh out the amount of food we wanted to buy… from a big drum. An Ethical Life encourages its customers to bring their own reusable container, be it an upcycled glass jar or a produce bag, and start choosing between household products, loose foods, organic and vegan options.

If you want to save money and make a positive impact on the environment at the same time, pop in Brightlingsea’s High Street or visit the Facebook page of the store @anethicallife to find out more about their mobile refill van!

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