These days, it's hard for the would-be eco-friendly shopper to know where to shop and what to buy. News reports about global warming get scarier every week, with alarming statistics and shocking images flooding our news apps and social media feeds. It's safe to say that most of us want to do our bit to change our habits and help save the environment before we all get burned to a crisp by rising temperatures, but it's all too easy to feel overwhelmed and bury your head in the rapidly flooding sands.
In this little guide, we've pulled together the incredible Bristolian businesses that are making it easy to make a difference. From zero-waste shops to the local coffee chain that banned single-use cups before it was cool – there's a tonne of local heroes doing their bit around the city. Support these lovely lot, and you can rest assured that you're making good choices.
Boston Tea Party were pioneers of the current war against single use takeaway cups. Having already banned plastic bottles and straws, this year they took decisive action against the 2.5 billion plastic-coated, single-use cups thrown into landfill annually in the UK. The move was a major one: single-use cups were banned across their Bristol cafes. Takeaway customers have three options: bring their own cup; buy a beautifully colourful cup from the BTP team; or loan a cup as part of their refundable deposit scheme.
Nestled on Gloucester Road, the chances are you've walked past Scoopaway Health Foods hundreds of times without venturing inside to this Aladdin's cave of whole foods. Take a second look, though; behind that unassuming yellow exterior lies a whole world of weird and wonderful health foods ready to be scooped up and away to your home. This ain't no average whole food shop, though – the Scoopaway team minimise their packaging and food waste by selling their most popular products in loose form, meaning shoppers can scoop the exact amount they'd like into containers they've brought from home. Simple and effective – just like us.
A recent runner up in the prestigious 2018 Observer Food Monthly Awards, Better Food Company is Bristol's own organic supermarket, stocking a dazzling array of ethical, local, eco-friendly, healthy, and delicious products. They've made headlines recently with their 'Waste Free Wall' – an amazing display of over forty different organic products to buy, with no packaging at all. Founded by a refill revolutionary, Catherine Conway, The Waste Free Wall came about as a response to the shocking fact that 98% of plastic is sent to landfill, downgraded to waste, or leaks into the environment. Wander over to Better Food's St Werbs store with your choice of jars, bags, boxes (and any other vessel you can think of), and fill 'em up guilt free.
The Bristol Reuse Network is an awesome collaboration of organisations who work together to encourage reuse and prevent perfectly good materials, resources and objects from being thrown away, by collecting and distributing to people who really need the help. A sprawling network of initiatives, Bristol Reuse Network sends your old clothes around the world to those in need; gathers old business resources to distribute for children's play; collected surplus food for those in need, and scrap wood for new building projects. 24 inspiring Bristol organisations work together, including Surplus Supper Club, Sofa project, emmaus Bristol and the Bristol Bike Project. Click here to donate your old, good quality objects, and if you're in need of help to find objects, click here.
Incredible Edible Bristol are an awe-inspiring team of growers and gardeners, encouraging the people of Bristol to take food-growing into their own hands. From your own tiny patch of back garden to the smallest corner of a park and the green patches beside pavements, the Incredible Edible Bristol team prove that every scrap of land has got the potential to grow something edible. The team of volunteers and partners have built and planted over 30 edible gardens across the city, and organise loads of community meet-ups and projects for those keen to get involved. To find out more and get involved, click here.
As your local guide to cracking food in Bristol, Wriggle are all too aware that takeaway food in particular generates a tonne of single-use packaging – we want to do our bit to stop that! We've launched a new BYO lunchbox campaign, where participating local eateries will allow you to bring your own reusable lunchbox to pick up your lunch, rather than using the venue's single use packaging. There's no shade here; most businesses in Bristol are awesome at using Vegware and other recyclable packaging for their takeaway options, but let's go one further: take your own, fill it up, wash it out then use it again! You can find a map of participating cafes, restaurants and street-food traders here, and grab yourself a beautiful bamboo, BPA-free lunchbox here to get you going, and you'll even earn Wriggle Reward Points for participating in the scheme!
Thali is one of Bristol's best loved Indian restaurants, serving delectable street food dishes that are packed with colour and flavour. Better still, they're super hot on their eco and sustainability credentials, too. Exactly the same style as those used by millions each day in Mumbai, Thali's insulated, plastic free 'tiffin' are the perfect way to transport your takeaway feast home safely. Zero waste, practical, and pretty damn cool. We're big fans.
Pasta Straws @ Brace & Browns
Yep, you read that right: pasta straws! We've all read the horrible statistics about just how damaging plastic straws are, so one Bristol restaurant, Brace & Browns took innovative measures to cut back on their plastic waste. The fully compostable straws are made of pasta flour and water, and reportedly don't even taste like our favourite carb! We think they're a great idea – especially if, like Team Wriggle, you're a bit forgetful and worry you might lose a metal or glass reusable straw.
Aside from the obvious, being animal friendly, there are other ways a vegan diet can help to save the world.
Meat and dairy production is responsible for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the products themselves provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein levels around the world. Cutting these products from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73%. It can also help to conserve water - a recent study showed that a soy burger has a water footprint of 158 litres, whilst a beef burger has a water footprint of 2,350 litres, that’s a 1387% increase in water usage. The production of plant-based foods is a far more efficient use of our resources, as it requires less energy from fossil fuels, less land and less water. By removing animal products from our diet we can play a vital role in reducing the damaging effects on our environment.
In Bristol, we're lucky enough to have more vegan restaurants than you can shake a (celery) stick at. Here are our favourites to help you cut back on the meat and dairy.
Part of the St Monica's Trust, John Will's Trust warmed our hearts when we heard about their award-winning community fridge initiative. In the St Monica Trust's care home, staff arranged for any spare cooked food leftover after lunch to be boxed up into containers and put into a small community fridge. Staff at the care home then buy the food by making a donation into an honest box – the proceeds of which are used to buy food for the North Bristol Foodbank. Having won the Food Redistribution Award at the 2018 Waste2Zero Awards, the small team have got big plans to roll the project out at other sites – we think it's an inspiring idea and would love to see the initiative replicated around the city!
Suncraft have only recently burst into bright, colourful life on Gloucester Road, but they're already making a big splash with their eco-friendly approach to serving food. Apart from the fact they're a fully plant-based restaurant (with Veganism regarded by many as the single most effective way for individuals to limit their negative impact on the world), Suncraft have got myriad other strings to their sustainable bow. From cutting down food miles by growing their own greenery for dishes using hydroponics, to writing menus on wipeable boards rather than printing them on paper, to taking donations at the table for WaterAid – the Galli's new restaurant have got a lot to offer the sustainability-conscious eater.
(Photo Credit: Hattie Ellis)
A truly fantastic, Bristol born and bred initiative. Download Refill's free app to find drinking water for free near you. Fill up your bottle at cafes, restaurants around the country, completely free of charge. You'll never have to buy a single use plastic water bottle again!
The Bristol Bike Project works to repair and relocate second-hand bikes, distributing them around Bristol and particularly to those in greatest need of an affordable, sustainable means of transport. Based in Hamilton Houe, the inclusive workshop teaches marginalised groups valuable new mechanic skills, placing an emphasis on empowerment and learning, whilst preventing functional bikes and parts from ending up in landfill and scrap by fixing them up and finding them a new home. These guys have been on the scene since 2009, and we hope they stick around for much, much longer still.
Another fantastic Bristol-based initiative, City To Sea are a non-profit organisation whose mission is to prevent plastic from polluting our seas. Championing reusable items in order to reverse the trend for single use, disposable options, the City To Sea team run an epic array of campaigns, initiatives and projects. You may have heard that in. 2017, plastic cotton bud sticks were replaced in major retailers in favour of paper versions – that was down to City To Sea, and the same team are also behind the Refill initiative, mentioned above. For more information and to donate to City To Sea, click here.
Rogue Wines are another shining star of Bristol's sustainable scene. Quite apart from their fabulous branding, Rogue Wines are winning hearts around the country for their innovative, environmentally friendly approach to wine quaffing, and it all boils down to one thing: the box. It turns out that boxed wine is far better for the environment; the stackable cardboard boxes are far lighter, meaning fewer trucks are needed to transport the wine; fewer trucks = a smaller carbon footprint. Up to 28 billion glass wine bottles a year still end up in landfill, where they will never decompose, whereas 84% cardboard (like the box the wine comes in) is recycled in the UK. Winner. From a booze perspective, the bag-in-a-box technology keeps wine at its best and most drinkable (yaaas!) for 30 days, meaning there's far less wasted vino with boxed wine – that's a result in our book! Finally, the plastic bag inside the box can be posted back to Rogue Wines to be reused, meaning it won't end up in landfill. To find out more about Rogue Wines or order some beautifully boxed booze, click here.
Have we missed somebody out? Send us a tip on your local hero and we'll spread the word so others can get involved in their projects, schemes and ideas.