Shopping and eating sustainability at Oxford’s independents for Oxford Green Week

 In Inspiration, News

This week sees our wonderful city celebrate Oxford Green Week – a county-wide week-long summer festival which uses culture, creativity and community to inspire local people to live a more sustainable life. We’re always keen to hear what our fabulous indies are doing to encourage our customers to consume sustainably so we’ve listed a whole host of ways to shop and consume the indie way.  

Eat Your Greens 

OK, so you don’t have to eat only greens this week but we’d certainly encourage you to consider your food and drink choices and adopt new habits. This might be reducing your plastic consumption by shopping at local markets instead of large supermarkets or picking up your daily coffee from Modern Baker in a vegware cup – a compostable takeaway cup made from renewable, lower carbon or recycled material which can be composted in food waste bins. At the other side of town, The Magdalen Arms also use compostable take away cups, straws and takeaway boxes for left overs as well as giving away their unusable wooden and plastic fruit and veg crates to wanting customers.

Alternatively, next time you’re in town and find yourself in need of H2O replenishment, pop into Turl Street Kitchen and they’ll refill your water bottle free of charge for you. They’re recently been awarded a certificate from Friends of the Earth Oxfordshire for their work on plastic avoidance and are taking part in new initiative, Refill Oxford, which offers free water refilling at shops, cafes and businesses to encourage people to consume less plastic.  

If wine is more your thing then the wonderful Silvie on Iffley Road offers a refill wine bottle scheme for take out wine to save single use bottles. For those staying in the guest house part of their venue, Browns, you’ll also find them going green by reducing plastic consumption with the use of local organic soaps from La Eva, communal tea and coffee facilities to reduce single use packaging and a whole range of wonderful pre-loved furniture that makes you feel thoroughly at home.

If you’re looking to eat out sustainably, then why not try Handlebar Café or BRICK in Modern Art Oxford who only use local produce where possible. All their meats are carefully selected and high welfare from award winning butcher Patrick Strainge in Bampton and they source seasonal vegetables from Medley Manor Farm less than two miles from the city centre. So not only is the food on the plate healthy, but they’re environmentally conscious and always looking to find new, sustainable suppliers in the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire.  

Browns Guest House Oxford

Handle Bar Cafe

Modern Baker also considers the impact their suppliers have on the environment and are currently taking part in a research project looking at heritage grains. The grain they use is tall with deep roots that need less water and no nutrients as deep roots find them naturally. The novel way they’re growing means they’re changing the opinion of UK grown grains (imported grains are seen as better) which allows local bakers to work directly with local farmers. That’s some feel good baking going on right there!  

Shopping and Living Sustainably 

If you’re looking to live sustainably, then look no further than Fair Trade at St Michaels and Headington Fairtrade. Fair Trade at St Michaels have a whole array of products that address plastic consumption (as well as offering fair pay to producers) including the brightly coloured MOWGS baskets. These colourful baskets, which have graced the pages of British Vogue, come from a remote part of Burma where the villagers are using traditional basket-making techniques to recycle plastic strapping salvaged from local markets. As there are no roads suitable for motor vehicles, the finished baskets start their long journey to the UK by ox cart. Weavers are paid in advance, and at a higher rate than the local market value. The project supports four remote communities in Burma where, this year, 130 local children have had all their school books and stationery donated. 

Headington Fairtrade Oxford

Headington Fairtrade is helping you be kind to the environment by offering Ecover product refills while you wait. Say goodbye to single use plastics and hello to environmentally friendly, plant derived cleaning products for your home and clothes including washing up liquid, fabric conditioner, all-purpose cleaner, laundry liquid and handwash. Cleaning suddenly feels much more appealing…  

If you’re keen to consider the impact washing your clothes has on the environment but it’s not your favourite task, then take a look at new Indie Oxford member, OXWASH. OXWASH was founded to disrupt what is traditionally an unsustainable industry that has remained largely unchanged for decades. They believe processes such as dry cleaning that use toxic solvents to clean garments are unacceptable and are transitioning to a fully eco-friendly process known as ‘Wet Cleaning’. This process is performed in water with specialised eco-friendly detergents at lower temperatures, using a fraction of the energy per wash. Garments also come out looking, feeling and smelling amazing and their laundry systems use water reclamation technology and renewable energy. They also use zero-emission electric cargo bikes to pickup and deliver your washing in the city centre! 


Finally, if you’re now feeling better about washing your clothes but the fast fashion and clothing industry still doesn’t sit comfortably with you, then stick to vintage! It was thought that last year in the UK, 235 million items of clothing made their way to landfill with 95% of them still usable. What better way to combat this then to head to new store, Eagle Vintage, for their awesome range of vintage and retro clothing? You’re actively preventing items going to landfill and you’re guaranteed to have a one of a kind outfit – double win we say. They also use recycled paper bags so you’re cutting down your plastic use when shopping with them too!  

How do you shop sustainably? Have you got any tips or favourite green shops in Oxford?  


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