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WILD’s Zero Waste Tour of York

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

Annabel Mulliner, part of the WILD Mag social media team runs through WILD Magazines zero waste tour held in University of York’s Give It A Go Week.

As part of Give It A Go Week at the University of York, we held a zero-waste tour of York’s finest zero/minimal waste stores.

The first stop of the day was The Hairy Fig deli on Fossgate. Not only do they have deli and speciality foods on offer, but also stock exclusive flavoured balsamic vinegars, olive oils and spirits ‘on tap’. So, you can bring along your glass containers and stock up your pantry, completely plastic-free. And if you’re feeling peckish, The Hairy Fig doubles up as a cosy café, serving up fresh and local produce.

Next up was Rise and Shine Living, also on Fossgate, selling homeware and gifts. Most of their products are British-made, meaning they have a low transport mileage and support local businesses at the same time. If you aren’t local to York, you can also shop online on their website.

Moving along to Colliergate, we stopped by at Tullivers, a vegan food and health shop. Though it’s not a zero-waste option, their array of vegan chocolate is a highlight. Running low on spices? Tullivers stock a variety of herbs and spices sold by weight, so you can buy exactly the amount you need.

It’s nearly impossible to pass along Goodramgate without stopping at The Block York for pizza. They’re very committed to being plastic free, and their pizza is both incredibly tasty and cheap. Whether your vegan, veggie, or a meat eater, The Block always has delicious options on offer, for around £3 per slice.


Pizza served at the Block York

Not only does Goodramgate have fab pizza, but this area is also home to most of York’s charity shops. When cutting back on waste in general and trying to live sustainably, it’s important that we look at everything we buy- not just food, but clothing too. Donating your old clothes rather than throwing them away, and choosing to buy old rather than new, is a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’d like to know more about the environmental impact of what we wear, then go give Charlie Bedwell’s article on the fast fashion industry some love.

HEIMA Hardware + Homeware is your one-stop shop for everything you need to get your zero-waste lifestyle going. Whether you need new kitchen utensils, food containers or cleaning products, they have you covered. What’s unique about HEIMA is that they offer eco-friendly and vegan laundry detergent amongst other things, which they will sell to you by volume if you bring your own bottle/container. They’re also part of Yorkshire’s free tap water scheme, so if you’re in the area and running low, stop by and they’ll fill up your bottle for free.


Zero-waste tour in York

We then wandered towards the Minster, stopping for an obligatory photo-op. Here, Shared Earth stock a gorgeous array of Fairtrade jewellery, which comes sans plastic packaging. If you’re looking for a new bedtime read, make sure you check out their second-hand bookshelves upstairs. They have a second shop in Liverpool, as well as an online store. Right across from Shared Earth is the wonderful Hebden Tea Shop, who allow you to use your own container for loose-leaf tea refills. They have a vast array of unusual flavours on offer, so is an absolute must-shop for all tea lovers.

If you’re looking for a posh plastic-free present to impress someone with, Il Gusto is the place for you. You can bring your own glass container or buy one of theirs (which come in some very fun shapes- shoe full of spirit anyone?) to stock up on fancy oils, vinegars and spirits.

Probably the most well-known stop on our tour was the Shambles Market. The market’s independent sellers of fresh produce are more than happy for you to bring your own containers, and you can get some real bargains. We all went mad for one stall’s offer of two palettes of strawberries for £1.50.


Buying produce plastic free in the Shambles Market, York

We concluded our tour of the inner city at The Nut Centre, where you can go… nuts (sorry) for their variety of products, which come loose ready to be decanted into your containers. They also stock herbal remedies and dried fruit.

Walking back towards the University, you can find two havens for plastic-free student living. Alligator Wholefoods on Fishergate is close to campus, and offers a wide variety of products, from fresh produce, to dried goods, shampoo, vegan milks and more. The Bishy Weigh on Bishopthorpe Road offers just as good a selection and is committed to being 100% zero waste.

Also worthy of a shout out is Scoop (York Student Food Coop) which is an on-campus, volunteer run zero-waste store, which can be found in Wentworth College. Their prices are incredibly low because they’re a not-for-profit business. Because Scoop’s hours are limited to when volunteers can work, it’s worth following their Facebook page to keep up-to-date with their opening times.

If you missed out on our zero-waste tour but would be interested in more WILD events in the future, then follow our Facebook page to be kept in the loop. And watch this space for potential Q&A’s with York’s finest zero waste stores!


Zero-waste shopping on the tour

About the author: Annabel Mulliner is a student at the University of York. Alongside writing for WILD, she manages a student lifestyle blog,

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