How to shop green in York

The plastic-free, organic fruit and veg at Alligator Wholefoods. Photograph: Facebook
29 May 2019 @ 7.06 pm
| Environment

Many of us are keen to go more green.

Thanks to Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and others, we know all about the environmental challenges facing the planet.

So how can we do our bit and shop in a way that doesn’t cost the earth?

Here are the places where you can buy all your eco-friendly alternatives in the city-centre, from shampoo bars to cocoa powder refills.

Missed anywhere? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line.

Alligator Wholefoods

Alligator Wholefoods. Photograph © Google Street View
  • 104 Fishergate, York YO10 4BB
  • 01904 654525
  • Website

Alligator has been supplying organic produce and wholefoods since 1972. Each week, customers can choose from a range of seasonal loose fruit and vegetables, grown locally or sourced from a European wholesaler.

You already know to take public transport, cycle, or walk in order to reduce your carbon footprint, but shopping locally also reduces emissions by shortening the distance from grower to home.

Aside from the fresh produce, the shop is packed with large bins full of dry goods for you to fill up containers with, plastic-free.

On offer is flour, rice, oats, dried fruit, nuts, and spices, but also washing up and laundry liquid. Here, you can find a wide range of eco-friendly products, such as Ecover washing up liquid, or soap and shampoo bars.

With the UN’s report that eating less meat and dairy is the single most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint as an individual, Alligator’s assortment of vegan and vegetarian foods including tofu, jackfruit, tempeh, seitan ragu, and vegan chocolate is the perfect place to start.

Pop in to the shop, or you can set up a home delivery service if you live within the York outer ring road area.

The Bishy Weigh

A new addition to the zero-waste scene in York, The Bishy Weigh provides a plastic-free alternative to your weekly shop. Simply bring an empty container, or buy one in store, fill it up with whatever you want, then weigh it on their self-service scales before bringing it to the till to pay.

Do your part in saving our seas from being clogged with plastic by choosing from the wide range of pantry and household goods, including cooking oils, nut butters, plant milks, pasta, oats, dried fruit, nuts, tea, cocoa powder, shampoo, and more.

Also on offer are plastic-free kitchen utensils and toiletries, such as shampoo bars, metal safety razors, toilet paper and beeswax wraps.

At the till, customers are tempted by freshly baked cakes and other sweet treats. They even had a special cake to celebrate the birthday of the man responsible for transforming the British relationship to our planet, Sir David Attenborough.


  • 1-2 Colliergate, York YO1 8BP
  • 01904 636437
  • Website

Tullivers is the place for natural and organic remedies and bodycare. Think echinacea drops, vegan supplements, bamboo toothbrushes, and reusable face wipes.

Aside from their natural personal health and hygiene products, Tullivers also boasts shelves full of wholefoods, Fair Trade and free-from products, herbs, and spices.

Not only is the shop home to eco-friendly goods, but supports 40 other local businesses, is run entirely on green energy, and staff use bikes and public transport to get to work.

Shops like Tullivers and The Bishy Weigh are also collection points for items which can’t be recycled normally, like toothpaste, pens, and biscuit wrappers.

Shared Earth

  • 1 Minster Gates, York YO1 7HL
  • 01904 632896
  • Website

Shared Earth has been supplying York with Fair Trade and eco-friendly products, mostly gifts, since 1986. It’s range is so extensive that it is crowned the largest retailer and wholesaler of Fair Trade products in the UK.

The colourful shop in the shadow of the Minster is packed with recycled and sustainably made products, such as ceramics, stationery, jewellery, bamboo socks, and incense.

A true eco-store, Shared Earth also works to minimse packaging and energy consumption in the store, as well as to promote shipping by sea rather than air.

HEIMA Hardware & Homeware

Photograph: HEIMA Hardware + Homeware on Facebook
  • 34 Gillygate, York
    YO31 7EQ
  • 01904 624180
  • Website

HEIMA has become well known over the last three years for a range of eco-friendly household products that include refills of a large range of Bio-D cleaning products, biodegradable cloths, plastic free sandwich bags, paper straws, cotton produce bags, natural twines and more.

They also sell Earthborn claypaints which are completely natural, non-toxic, odour-free and which are said to coat far better than the big named brands.


Shambles Market. Photograph: YorkMix
The government has promised plastic-free aisles in supermarkets, and while most are slowly catching on, a trip to the greengrocers pretty much guarantees unpackaged produce (aside from the odd punnet of strawberries or bag of spinach). York has a few dotted around.

Fruitique, Bishopthorpe Road
Fruitique sells most of its fresh fruit and vegetables plastic-free. 96% of produce, to be exact. Fruitique also offers local delivery, if you can’t make it to the shop.

Millie’s, Bishopthorpe Road
Millie’s has been on the scene since 1920, providing local fruit and vegetables, as well as dairy and deli goods. They also have a great website, where you can set up delivery of specific products or choose a vegetable box.

Love’s Greengrocers, East Parade
More fruit and veg, with the added bonus of also supplying pet food!

The Greengrocer of Acomb, York Road
A neat grocer in Acomb selling fresh fruit and veg, Yorkshire cheese, home-made produce, and local preserves.

Shambles Market
We can’t forget the city centre’s own Shambles Market, where local sellers set up stalls brimming with local produce: fresh fruit and veg, Whitby fish, Yorkshire meat, cheeses, and conserves. If you’re already in town, why not pop over to the Market?

If none of these suit you, there are plenty of local organic farms which deliver fresh and seasonal Yorkshire produce right to your door, all you need to do is choose what you want online.

Some are The Organic Pantry, Goodness Growing York, and Riverford Organic Farmers.

I Am Reusable

John McGall runs I Am Reusable in York
This York-based national organisation runs both ‘Bring Your Own Cup’ and ‘Bring Your Own Container’ schemes.

It has linked up with many city businesses, including Henshelwoods Deli on Newgate and Appleton’s Butchers on Lendal to encourage shoppers to ditch single-use cups and bags for more sustainable solutions.

Find out more, and buy your green cups, bottles, bags, straws and more at the I Am Reusable website.

So, save the planet by choosing locally sourced, organic, seasonal and low-waste produce in York. And remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle.