Pack some glass jars and get shopping for fresh fruit and veg, pantry goods and cleaning products at these sustainably-focused shops.
From the thick plastic containers we buy cleaning products in to the endless (and usually un-recyclable) thin plastic so much of our food comes in, a trip to the shops can feel like a real burden on the planet. However, this doesn't have to be the case.
There are shops around Ireland offering alternatives to the way we shop, from places allowing you to refill your own containers with dry goods, to natural cleaning and personal care products. Have a read through the list and find your nearest one – some also allow you to order online.
Surrounded by the vegetable patches and grazing fields of An Tairseach Organic Farm & Ecology Centre, this shop features all of the certified-organic homegrown vegetables, fruit and meat from the 70-acre farm. They also stock local suppliers and ecological house supplies so you can buy, cook, eat and clean more sustainably. The farm also hosts a range of events and courses in the Ecology Centre including a monthly farm walk, weekly art classes and a tree sponsorship scheme. Kilmantin Hill, Wicklow Town.
Located on the corner of Abbeygate Street in the heart of Galway City this refill shop focuses on dry pantry foods such as cereals, flour, fruit, sugar, herbs and spices to stock up on. They also have a steady supply of household items like environmentally friendly laundry detergent, toothpaste, shampoo and soap bars, skincare, dishwashing liquid and powders, and other non-plastic, reusable utensils and accessories. Bring along your reusable bag and jars or purchase them in-store. 15 Abbeygate Street Upper, Galway City.
The first Irish franchise of this UK sustainable shop brand, Rathmines’ new Source Bulk Foods is a completely package-free shopping experience with customers invited to bring their own reusable containers from home or use the glass jars and recyclable brown paper bags available in store. Pull your own honey, buy Kombucha on-tap and refill your laundry liquids, shampoos and cleaning products. It’s an affordable range that caters to vegan, paleo, dairy free, organic and gluten friendly food diets – from nutritious wholefoods, healthy treats and cooking liquids to household and personal care products. 39/40 Castlewood Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
This eco-shop is the perfect pitstop for zero-waste shopping and bulk refilling on organic flour, oats and pulses. Their Irish-sourced grocery, beauty and household selection is extensive and they also host a range of events each month including art exhibitions, cooking classes, wine tastings, literature readings and discussions. While you’re there, stop into their café and in-house bakery in the basement for a delicious vegan stew or homemade sourdough sandwich. 2 Glengarriff Road, Town Lots, Bantry, Co Cork.
With stores in Galway and Clare since 1988, this family business has an extensive supply of eco-friendly household items, supplements, health foods as well as a range of natural beauty products. Their highly-skilled staff include a qualified nutritionist, physical therapist, natural beauty and massage therapist, sports supplement expert, cardio dietary advisor and a homeopath, so be sure to pop in if you have any questions. Market Hall, Church Street, Gort, Co Galway.
This independent health and specialist food store is owned by husband-and-wife team Rob and Anne Whinnett. They stock organic food and refill options, health supplements and a wide range of culinary herbs, baking ingredients and teas. Offering free dietary advice, they also have a host of specialist foods for gluten-, dairy- and animal-free diets. Stocked local producers include Crinnaghtaun Apple Juice, Moynihans Honey, Joe Condon’s organic beef and Sea of Vitality’s ground seaweed and bread mixes. 54 Main Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
Riding the wave of sustainable fashion since 2017, Vivid sells recycled and upcycled fashion as well as ethical jewellery. Using eco-friendly natural fabrics such as organic cotton, sustainable bamboo, hemps as well as new innovative fabrics like Tencel and EcoVero, they’re cutting out water- and carbon-heavy fabrics. They also stock recycled tights, bamboo underwear and a host of other ethically produced clothes and accessories. Low Street, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.
Dedicated to minimising the use of plastics and wasteful packaging, Twig Refill is the little sister to well-established health food shop, The Olive Tree. Run by Olive Finn and Andy Beattie, it sells bulk-buys of grains, legumes, herbs and spices, dried fruit, nuts, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and much more. It also has a great selection of chemical-free household cleaning products as well as self-care products such as shampoo and eco-friendly skincare on top of a wide selection of refillable containers and canteens. Spillers Lane, Clonakilty, Co Cork.
Having relocated from Newmarket to The Old Chocolate Factory, right opposite Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Food Co-Op have settled well into their permanent home. Open seven days a week, they offer everything from fresh veg to ethically-sourced chocolate to eco cleaning and personal grooming products to walk-ins. Members not only get a 5 per cent discount on everything, they can also click and collect over 100 products to buy in bulk, like grains, pulses, cereals, pastas, oil, vinegars and cleaning products, receiving a 15-22 per cent discount on these too. Annual household membership starts at €20. Kilmainham Square, Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8.
In the heart of the market town of Westport is Pax Wholefoods, a minimal waste shop that offers bulk organic foods including cereals, coffee, beans, dried fruit, grains, nuts, oils, pasta, seeds, spices, tea, vinegar and more. They also sell freshly baked breads, cakes and treats as well as refillable cleaning and household products, reusable goods such as bags, bottles, containers, cutlery, flasks, straws and eco-friendly personal care items and creative gifts. 9 Market Lane, Westport, Co Mayo.
Ode to Earth is a minimal waste shop selling eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics for your home. They’ve got everything from bamboo toothbrushes and safety razors to solid shampoo bars and beeswax wraps. Caroline, the owner, also gives talks to schools and groups on ways to cut down on plastic and waste in general in our homes, workplaces and schools. Mountain View, Kilcummin, Killarney, Co Kerry.
You probably recognise Lilly’s Eco Clean branding from Supervalu shelves nationwide but did you know it’s made in Dublin? This small company makes household cleaning products without harmful chemicals in their own production unit using biodegradable, sustainably sourced and renewable plant-based ingredients combined with some basic kitchen cupboard staples like baking powder. Their bottles are 50 per cent reused plastic and they have convenient refill options with an added benefit of 80 per cent reduction to their carbon footprint. Word is their Degreaser & Descaler is particularly great.
Established in 1982, The Quay Co-Op in the centre of Cork City includes a wholefood shop, vegetarian restaurant and coffee dock on-site as well as two outposts in Carrigaline and Ballincollig. Stocking plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, herbs and spices, they’ve also got an array of organic wines, gluten-free products, chilled and frozen foods, meat alternatives, environmentally friendly household products, health supplements, natural baby products, and organic cosmetics. 24 Sullivan's Quay, Cork City.
With zero-waste options for home and body, and lots of packaging-free refill options, Small Changes has some big sustainable ideas. Along with plenty of organic groceries and household items, they also stock Mooncups, reusable cotton menstrual pads and face rounds, Pit-Putty plastic-free natural deodorant, wooden nail and dish brushes, recycled dish sponges and coconut fibre brushes. Check out their juice and smoothie menu while you’re there. Arts & Business Campus, 40 Drumcondra Road Lower, Dublin 9.
This not-for-profit social enterprise hopes to link its local community to the breadth of local producers and suppliers. Pick up a wicker basket and choose from their great selection of fruit and veg, freshly baked breads, Corleeggy cheese, homemade sweet treats, or some of their own organic raw milk kefir. It’s a great spot to stop for a bite too, with a veggie soup brewed up daily, accompanied by a slice of bread and your choice of butter or their own hummus. 15 Glaslough Street, Monaghan Town.
‘Noms’ stands for natural organic mindful sustainable and this Phibsborough shop does too. Combining locally sourced organic fruit and veg, over 100 organic loose dry and wet (think oils, sauces and vinegars) ingredients and green living household items, it’s a one-stop shop for all things sustainable. It’s also got a certified organic coffee bar and smoothie bar to quench your thirst as you shop. 336a North Circular Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7.
This fully certified organic shop in Co Kerry sells a wide range of organic fruit, vegetables and wholefoods from their own farms and nearby suppliers and aim to stock everything as locally as possible. Their salads and vegetables come from Ian McGrigor at Gortbrack and Tony Gerrahy in Lough Boora, cheese from Kate Carmody in Beal and the Little Milk company and they have their own wheatgrass year-round. Island of Geese, Strand St, Tralee, Co Kerry.
Cork’s largest wholefood supermarket, Natural Choice aims to provide a huge variety of ethical, affordable and local produce sourced from small co-operatives like Essential Trading Co-op, Hanna’s Beeswax Wraps, Georganics and lots more. Aisles include organic, fairtrade, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options and they’ve also got an ever-growing zero waste department, including refill stations for both household and toiletries, as well as a wide variety of holistic and alternative therapies, and nutritional know-how courtesy of their expert staff. Paul Street Shopping Centre, Paul Street, Cork City.
Veganic stock meat alternatives, pesticide-free fruit, non-toxic household cleaning products and organic cosmetics. They also have zero-waste dispensers for everything from dried goji berries and peanuts to organic pasta, rice, couscous or lentils. Use an in-store paper bag provided or bring your own containers to get the organic products you need. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2.
Featured image: Denise Johnson via Unsplash
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