Our eco-friendly holiday in Hampshire included an exciting visit to a zero waste shop we had been to once before. We couldn’t wait to see how it had developed from its humble beginnings, and we’re pleased to report it didn’t disappoint!
Eco Freaks Emporium is a quirky eco shop in Gosport, near Portsmouth, that you simply must check out if ever you’re in the area.
We headed out first thing in the morning to try and avoid the worst of the heat that day. We were in the midst of a scorching summer heatwave and had a half-hour journey to get there. Upon arrival, we found we were actually too early to go into the shop so we took a little walk along the high street.
To pass the time, we decided to make a stop in Costa where a single, overworked barista was rushing to and fro. Socially-distanced coffee was pleasant enough, except everyone was ordering frappes and the blender scared Matilda to tears.
Moving swiftly on, we headed over to Eco Freaks Emporium once the opening time arrived. In all honesty, when we had passed it whilst it was closed, it would have been easy to think the building was empty. The shop has no grand sign above the door – an indicator of their commitment to being a true zero waste shop. There is just a large blank sheet of chipboard; a material that has been used to construct many of the shelves and cabinets inside.
This is the first thing that impresses about Eco Freaks Emporium. You cannot help but notice the integrity of the ‘zero waste’ principle. There are some who think that eco living and the zero waste lifestyle are mere fads brought on by hipster yuppies. In some zero waste shops, the cute interior design choices sometimes reinforce this opinion. But at Eco Freaks Emporium, you will see:
- No shop sign
- Self-built shelves and cabinets
- Reused pallets and bookshelves
- Almost no plastic in sight
A Zero Waste Shop with Everything
Eco Freaks Emporium has the things you expect to see in a zero waste shop. This means containers full of unpackaged consumables from which you can fill your tubs, jars, boxes and the like. But the size of the shop means there is more choice than you typically see. The range of liquid refills on offer is really impressive.
As you can see, there are soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, laundry detergents, floor cleaners, surface cleaners…everything you could need! We helped ourselves to the paper bag of non-bio washing powder from bio-d (we needed some for our stay). We usually go with powder detergent for our laundry because the packaging contains very little plastic, even from supermarkets, and it is safe to use with Matilda’s cloth nappies. If you want to discuss laundry ideas please feel free to contact us or comment on this post! 😊
In addition to the liquid refills, there is also a huge selection of other goodies to fill your containers with. The options fill an enormous shelving unit across a wall as well as a couple of tables. A wide range of nuts, pasta, lentils, rice, seeds, herbs, spices, teas and other such things are at your disposal. Simply take your containers to the counter and have them weighed, then fill them to your heart’s content. You only pay for the amount you need – an attractive alternative to the preset weights and quantities dictated at supermarkets.
There was also a section for fresh vegetables and fruit. And if you fancy a bite to eat, you’ll find some yummy snacks to buy at the counter. We helped ourselves to some homemade fudge that was simply delicious! 😋
Though these options are above average for richness and diversity, all those refills are what you expect to see in a zero waste shop. This is another reason Eco Freaks Emporium really impresses – they have far more to offer.
A Zero Waste Shop to Enhance Your Lifestyle
At Eco Freaks Emporium, there is a section full of plastic-free products to help you cut down on waste. We saw:
- Bamboo toothbrushes, combs, etc
- Wax wraps (we bought some of these!)
- Safety razors
- Bamboo washing up brushes (with replaceable heads)
- Plastic-free sponges
- Zero-plastic coffee mugs
- Natural toothpaste and mouthwash
- Cloth nappies
- Much, much more
Essentially, Eco Freaks Emporium is your one-stop solution to kickstart your zero waste lifestyle. One nice touch was a section full of donated glass jars, plastic tubs and other containers. If you haven’t bought/don’t want to spend money on fancy containers to fill, simply take one of these. They are clean and won’t cost you a penny!
Of course, as is always the case, shopping this way costs more than heading to your local supermarket. We understand that price can put zero waste shopping out of some people’s reach, at least for the time being. But if you CAN afford to pay a little more to cut down on plastic waste, then you have a responsibility to do so.
Ultimately, we all need to start finding ways to reduce the amount we buy anyway. Ideas like growing your own vegetables and making your own bread are worth pursuing on your journey. But for now, zero waste shops like Eco Freaks Emporium are a great way to get started on this new commitment.
Rare Recycling Options
For people who simply aren’t able to give up certain items (no judgment 🧐), Eco Freaks Emporium has you covered. The recycling section at the back is a really nice touch. Even if you don’t want to buy zero waste, you can take things like empty crisp packets, used coffee pods, wipes, plastic bags and makeup consumables into the store. They are signed up to a wide range of recycling programs for items that are not commonly recycled.
These places can be hard to find, and it is particularly rare to find them all in one place.
If you live anywhere near Gosport then please consider taking advantage of these recycling options. There is more information on their website.
Eco Freaks Emporium is a real gem of a place for hardened eco enthusiasts and beginners alike. It has everything you need to embark on a no-plastic, zero waste journey or it can support the efforts you are making already. We strongly urge anyone who lives in Gosport or elsewhere in Portsmouth to check it out.
Similarly, if you are visiting the area, stop on by Eco Freaks Emporium and experience a superb zero waste shop. We have been to a number of these types of shop since we began our journey and we can definitely say we wish this one was closer to home.
We’ll be reviewing more of the UK’s zero waste shops as we explore them on our journey. We’d love it if you would follow us and hopefully gain a little inspiration. Perhaps you have some thoughts and suggestions to help us on our way? Whatever your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave us a comment or get in touch and we hope to see you again soon!
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