Guide to Zero Waste Living in Manchester by Lentils & Lather

Guide to Zero Waste Living in Manchester by Lentils & Lather

How to live a more sustainable life

Opened in September this year, Lentils and Lather is South Manchester’s number one shop for people who are conscious about the impact that their lives have on the environment.

We caught up with Carl Peachey, who runs the shop with his wife Paulina, to find out their ideas about some of the ways that people living in Manchester can live their lives in a plastic-free way.

Some of these top tips are local to their area, however many of them are applicable to readers living around the UK…or anywhere else for that matter!

Read on to find out more.

For many years, long before Lentils and Lather was a thing, we’ve been striving to manage our impact on the planet. In fact, we’ve been living like this for such a long time that it’s completely intertwined with our lives.

Our shopping habits, leisure activities, the way we travel to work or the way we go on holiday are all areas where it’s easy to implement small changes that:

  • prioritises sustainability,
  • reduces our impact on the planet,
  • limits the amount of plastic waste that we generate.

These are some of the things that we’ve been doing that can be easily replicated by others who are interested in reducing their footprint:

1. Reuse household containers

This is a big one! The plastic bottles you find in your bathroom and kitchen are great for the job they do: they’re strong and squeezy, durable and safe. However, using such a tough material just once and then throwing it in the bin isn’t great as it could be around for a very long time unless it’s recycled properly. If it doesn’t make it to the correct recycling facility it could end up anywhere – the stories of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are enough to make you shudder.

The answer to this is simple: once your squeezy bottles are empty, don’t bin them, but find your local zero waste shop and get them refilled! Treat them well and you’ll have many years of service from that single piece of plastic, rather than a month or two.

2. Refuse plastic packaging

There are many anecdotes for absolutely pointless plastic packing, such as single aubergines wrapped in cellophane or those pictures of a solo can of coke in a plastic tray wrapped in cling film (WTF!). Our personal pet hates are bags of bananas and shrink-wrapped cucumbers – it’s not like bananas don’t have adequate protection and it’s next to impossible to find a cucumber that’s allowed to roam freely on a supermarket shelf without a polyethylene rain jacket.

But there is an alternative! Avoid the aisles and queues of the super-mega-discount-hyper-markets and search out your local greengrocer where you can buy loose fruit and veg aplenty. We’ve been using one that’s really local and convenient to us in Withington village (part of South Manchester) for years and can’t fault their produce and friendly service. Sure, they might not have quite the range of products you might be used to getting, but you can buy mushrooms without a plastic tray, so that’s a win!

These kinds of shops exist in every corner of the country, so it’s just a case of hunting them out making a concerted effort to switch from supermarket shopping. It’ll be well worth it!

3. Switch to a reusable water bottle

Another super easy switch to make is to get a reusable water bottle. Say no to the plastic water bottle industry and carry your own reusable receptacle to fill up on the fly.

There’s a great scheme called Refill that encourages businesses to offer free water to customers or passers-by. They have a handy map-based app so you can easily identify places that will happily give you a hassle-free top up when you’re out and about. One of the first things that we did once we’d started operating was to get Lentils and Lather signed up to the Refill scheme, so if you’re in our neck of the woods and need a splash of water just pop in.

Of course, you’re going to need a nice shiny new bottle to make this work! The recently launched Manchester company Shole have got your back with their range of premium vacuum insulated drinks bottles. They look great and do the job perfectly. Their range extends to coffee cups and food containers as well. Check them out in our store now.

4. On your bike!

We’re not ashamed to say it, but we love bikes. They’re cheap to buy, easy to maintain, can literally take you from front door to destination and do not succumb to rush hour frustrations. Become a cycling commuter and you’ll see your travel costs plummet – which means more beer tokens!

Oh, and there’s a small thing about emissions that we’re not even going to get into.

Not being very hilly, Manchester is a top city for cycling. It’s compact too: you can get from South Manchester to the city centre in around 30 minutes. Sustrans manages the National Cycle Network, where you can find designated cycle paths near you.

But what about the weather? Manchester is renowned for being a damp city, but it’s easy to protect yourself when the sky falls. Get a set of full length mudguards fitted and you’ll be reet – your local bike shop can help you out with this. A decent set of waterproofs are a good investment too, see Planet Xfor some good buys.

Hopefully you’ve gathered from this that Lentils and Lather welcomes and encourage cyclists and has a bike rack right outside, so you can be sure it’s secure while you shop!

5. What’s the alternative?

As we become more aware of the problems that plastic is causing for the environment we have an opportunity to do things differently. One of the most exciting things about setting up a plastic free / zero waste shop in 2019 is the growing range of entrepreneurs establishing micro businesses to address problems they see in their lives.

Take Head in the Woodsfor example; a small team of creatives from Rossendale, Lancashire who are taking everyday items and reimagining them in a sustainable way. Things like reusable face wipes and baby wipes made from 100% organic cotton – use them, wash them, use them again. Or their sandwich bags and snack pouches made with and cellulose – an organic compound that’s tough, pliable and should last years.

We also like the Leave No Tracetake on things like kitchen roll, food wrap (cling film replacement) and dish sponges. Simple ideas and small changes but big rewards. And they look great too!

And that’s a (fully biodegradable) warp!

Hopefully these words will encourage you to think about ways to address your own environmental impact.

Lentils and Lather stock all of the items listed in the feature above – and many more, see our websitefor our list of products. Better still…pop in for a browse!

To meet the growing demand for sustainable shopping, plastic free shops are appearing all around the country and the great thing is that they’re all independent. No two shops are the same so it’s well worthwhile searching out your local shop and seeing how they do things differently.


You can find Lentils & Lather at 50 Burton Rd, Manchester M20 3EB

We open 09:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday. Late night shopping on Thursday until 19:00.

On Saturday we’re open from 10:00 – 17:00. And Sunday it’s 11:00 – 16:00.


Zero Waste Shopping in Greater Manchester

Lentils and Lather Bulk food / Household Refills
50 Burton Rd, Manchester M20 3EB

Want not Waste – Students’ Union Bulk food / Household Refills
Academy 1, University of Manchester Students’ Union, Oxford Road, Manchester, M139PR

Unicorn Grocery Co-op Bulk food / Household Refills
89 Albany Rd, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0BN

Village Greens Co-op Prestwich Bulk food / Household Refills
1 Longfield Centre, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AY

McCall’s Organics Bulk food / Household Refills
Unit 6-7 Church St Manchester, England M4 1PN

Eighth Day Co-op Household Refills
111 Oxford Road Manchester M1 7DU

Plentiful Bulk food / Household Refills
46 Bridge St, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9AQ

The Good Life Heatons Bulk food / Household Refills
472 Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey, Stockport SK4 3BS

The Elder Tree Pantry Bulk food (online)
Based, in the heart of Manchester’s City Centre

Spice Drive Bulk food – spices only (online)
Delivers to Oldham, Rochdale and Tameside or collection from Spice Drive HQ based in Oldham or Balti Hut Indian Takeaway based at 319 Wigan Road, Leigh WN7 5EL.

Ancoats General Store Ecover Refills, Wine & Beer Refills
57 Great Ancoats Street, corner of Blossom Street Manchester M4 5AB

M20 Refills Bio D, Ecoleaf, Faith in Nature and  Suma Body Wash, Shampoo & Conditioner Refills
They deliver throughout South Manchester and certain parts of Stockport which are within 6-7 miles approximately. Within 3 miles of M20 2EU the minimum order is £15, and over 3 miles is £20. Minimum order excludes the £5 deposit which is collected on your first order. They also offer collection from West Didsbury or at the ‘Want not Waste’ shop within the Student Union at the University of Manchester on Oxford Road.

Il Gusto Oil & Vinegar Refills
– Selfridges Trafford Centre No. 1 The Dome, The Trafford Centre, Manchester M17 8DA
– Arndale Manchester Arndale 1st Floor Management Office Manchester M4 3AQ
– Percy Street Newcastle upon Tyne Eldon Square NE1 7JB

Bird & Blend Tea Co Loose leaf tea
57 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD

Veg Box Scheme

Veg Box People Veg Box Scheme
They have a growing number of convenient collection points across Greater Manchester, offering different pick-up days and time. The veg bags come in four sizes: a starter bag for £6, a small bag for £9, medium for £12.50 and large for £15.85.

Northern HarvestVeg Box Scheme
A family business that has been growing specialist seasonal fruit and vegetables at Kenyon Hall Farm in Cheshire since 1979. They’ll deliver to your door or you can collect straight from their farm.

A Small Good Thing Veg Greengrocer & Veg Box Scheme
29 Church Road, Bolton BL1 6HH
A Small Good Thing are branching out into veg boxes. You order the box that seems right for you a month at a time and they’re delivered to collection points every Friday. The boxes cost £10, £15 or £20 and their first collection locations are The Kitchen and All Souls, both in Bolton.

Household Goods/Personal Care

Deadstock General Store
This small store sells beautiful products that have been sustainably sourced. They sell beautifully made products that are designed to last – including traditional string shopping bags. The store also offers repairs and alterations to clothing, meaning fewer items of clothing will be thrown away because their own does not know how to repair them.
46 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HN

Lush – The Naked Shop Unpackaged skincare
Manchester 10 Market Street Manchester M1 1PT

Farmers Markets

Altrincham Market Everyday but Monday and Wednesday
Altrincham Market Greenwood St. Altrincham WA14 1SA

Arndale Food Market Open all week
Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ

Ashton Farmers and Producers Market Monthly, every last Sunday
Wellington Road, Ashton under Lyne, OL6 6DL

Bolton Market Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9am – 5pm.
Ashburner Street, BL1 1TQ

Bury Market Every Wednesday & Friday, 9am – 4.30pm; Saturdays 9am – 5pm
Bury Market Hall, 1 Murray Road, Bury, BL9 0BJ

Castlefield – Royal Mills Market Monthly, every first Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Royal Mills, Redhill St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6JG

Chorlton Green Market Monthly, every last Saturday, 11am – 4pm
Chorlton Green, Chorlton, M21 9HS

Eccles Farmers Market Monthly, every third Saturday from 9.30am
Main Shopping Area, Eccles, M30 0EA

Heaton Moor Producers Market from March to December on the first Sunday of each month, 11:00 – 15:00
Shaw Rd, Stockport SK4 4AG

Littleborough Farmers Market Monthly, every first Sunday, 10am – 3pm
33 Market Place, Peel Street, Littleborough OL15 8AQ

Radcliffe Fine Food Market Every Saturday 9am-3pm
Radcliffe Market Hall, Blackburn Street, M26 9WQ

Ramsbottom Farmers Market Monthly, every second Sunday
Market Place, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9AJ

Saddleworth Farmers Market Monthly, every second Sunday, 9am – 2pm
Saddleworth Museum, High Street, Uppermill, Saddleworth, OL3 6HS

Urmston Market Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 9am – 4pm
Railway Rd, M41 0XL

Westhoughton Farmers Market Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 9am-5pm
Westhoughton Market, BL5 3AN