Bulk Market is a pop-up set up by Ingrid Caldironi, in Dalston, London. In her own words, Ingrid says she’s:
Not a hippie, or treehugger, I’ve never been a hardcore green. Like many others, I used to believe that stuff gets recycled, and there was no other way of living without creating a lot of waste. After reading about a 20-something girl from NY with years of rubbish fitting in a jar, she decided to go zero waste. But companies don’t make it easy for people to avoid waste. Bulk Market® was born to fix this. – Source: bulkmarket.co.uk
The shop is small and looks a bit like a bakery from the outside. Inside however, it’s got a contemporary industrial feel with exposed bolts and pipes. There are shelves housing minimalist household products, dispensers for oil and jars full of loose teas and spices. You could probably do all your shopping here, with their healthy legumes and nuts and treats like loose white and dark chocolate buttons- although be warned, gravity takes hold when using the upright dispensers and I left with a £5 bag of chocolate buttons (worse things could happen, right!!)
Bulk Market was introduced to the vibrant Kingsland Road in the summer and has been a real buzz with mindful Londoner’s and zerowaster’s all over the country, as well as served as a wake-up call for those who’d yet to reflec on our wasteful habits that causes so much plastic pollution and other waste.
The shop has been written about in numerous publications and newspapers. I guess it’s novel: imagine a supermarket without any packaging? The mind boggles! But in reality this should be the future: lots of small local shops providing nutritious locally sourced items that are #naked, ie, package free.
A lot of people come back to me and say “what a faff, I haven’t got time to shop like that,” when I relay my own dreams of opening a package free shop. I see where people with this mindset are coming from. I’m busy too and there are some weeks I don’t manage to buy as many naked food items as I would like, yet it is really quite simple, it just involves a period of adapting and crucially an abundance of bulk shops like Bulk Market in every city, town and village in the UK. It’s not a pipe dream, it’s happening already! If they are numerous it will be convenient, at the moment I know that making a special journey to your local bulk shop can be time-consuming for busy people, which is why they need to be akin to all the ‘locals’ and ‘express’s’ we see on every street corner!
Zerowaste: Refuse, reuse, repair, recycle, rot
The shop is literally a mecca for those leading or aspiring to lead a zerowaste lifestyle. And while many will furrow their brow if you mention ‘zerowaste’ in conversation, the movement is building up a loyal and committed following in the UK. Around the world, unpackaged shops have been growing for a while, our German cousins have Unpackaged and there are numerous other examples of bulk and package-free shopping across Europe, in Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada. Sometimes it feels we were a bit late to join the party, but at least we’re getting on board now. Because, there is clearly an enlightened bunch of people, all from different walks of life, uniting together gloabally to tackle our human consumption and wast problem, because we all recognise the rate at which we are producing waste is not sustainable nor kind to our planet.
Unpackaged shopping: back to basic (or a return to the pre-plastic era)
Shopping in npackaged shops basically involves being prepared with your produce bags and jars in toe. It is akin to taking your bags for life, you just need a few extra things to put what is normally in plastic in your own REUSABLE bags and containers.
If you live in London I cannot recommend a visit to Bulk Market enough. It is a refreshing look at what is hopefully the future of food shopping in the UK 🙂