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Small Changes: Shopping Sustainably

Making that first step to a more sustainable life can be daunting, especially after the year we've all had! Your Conscious Creatives society leaders, Kaya (your elected Sustainability Officer) and Guy, share their recommended retailers for all things ethical and reassuring us all that the small, everyday changes we make can have the biggest impact.

Banner with repeated black line illustrations of a person holding a flower. The banner includes the words 'Create, Challenge, Change' and 'Small Changes Shopping Sustainably'

Sometime during this month of last year, I [Guy] was walking out of John Lewis having gleefully thought that I was about to reinvent myself. I had bought 3 large jars and told myself I was set on a journey to say goodbye to plastic-wrapped Sainsbury’s penne pasta. To this day, those jars stand as an empty gesture of mine to the world of sustainability, but quite literally, they have remained empty.

Sustainable fatigue even affects the most headstrong of environmentalists. Unless you’re intending to go off-grid, we can’t expect ourselves to become carbon neutral anytime soon. So don’t punish yourself for not going to the refill stations every week. Little but often changes so you don’t burn yourself out is one of the most proactive ways to introduce yourself to a sustainable lifestyle.

Here are some of our recommendations for shops and food places (because let's face it, one of the best things in life right now) that are still open in Lockdown 3.0!


  1. Panda Refills (was the Jar Tree) - Inside Leeds Kirkgate Market, open Monday-Saturday. Find them @pandarefills or

  2. Dopplle app - The biggest thing I’ve struggled with is missing charity shops! If Depop isn’t cutting it, this is the next best thing! Download today and find some hidden gems. Find them @dopplle or

  3. Plastic freedom - Honestly, the best all-rounder and super speedy delivery! Start shopping @plasticfreedom_ or

  4. Veg 2 table - Bulk buying can save both money and your back (from carrying too many bags). 25kg plastic-free British potatoes for £10.50? YES PLEASE! Get yer spuds @veg2tableleeds or

Eateries to support

  1. Hyde Park Book Club - Recently reopened their kitchen which is amazing news for our weekend plans! We love their bagels and sausage rolls! They also sell coffee, beer, plants, and vinyl and support the creative scene no end. Ve/veg-friendly. Visit our pals @hydeparkbookclub or

  2. Doner Summer - Perfect for a payday treat takeaway! Just check out that Instagram feed. Need we say more?! Feed your soul @donersummer or


This past year has been difficult for everyone in so many ways, and it’s perfectly understandable to have suffered ‘sustainable fatigue’. It can be hard at times to make more sustainable changes when we have become so conditioned to the convenience of single-use, and the pandemic certainly hasn’t helped this. But that's okay! As long as you are actively trying and acknowledging, you are doing enough.

For even more sustainable shopping tips, definitely check out our Leeds Sustainability Map here! Make sure to keep an eye out for “Small Talk”, the shiny new Union podcast launching soon …


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