Our daily experiences of Low Impact Living

Immy shopping at the Waitrose Unpacked test store in Oxford

Immy shopping at the Waitrose Unpacked test store in Oxford


Well hey there friends, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Over on the Low Impact Movement’s instagram I asked you all what your best and worst experiences were of low impact living whilst out and about, and loved hearing all of your responses. I thought it would be fun to turn them into a post and share them with the rest of our community so that we can build a stronger more engaged group of eco warriors.

I think it’s only fair if I go first and share my best and worst. Ok, so starting with the best because why not? My best experience was in London at the Zero Waste shop Hetu in Clapham Junction. This was the first time I was able to go into a shop and buy pretty much everything on my shopping list unpackaged. I didn’t have to ask if it was ok to fill up my own containers, but questions were certainly encouraged to ensure I had a positive experience in the shop. From red lentils to tofu to fresh produce, everything was as nature intended. Completely unpackaged. I’m so thankful for Laura, the owner of Hetu. Her values shine through every detail of her beautiful shop, and she encourages me to live as closely aligned to my values as possible.

Ok now my worst? Honestly I’ve struggled to think about what my worst could actually be. I’ve been incredibly lucky on the whole to have many positive experiences, almost everywhere i’ve been. I guess my worst experience has to be when I’ve asked for my coffee in my reusable cup and they’ve used a disposable cup to make the coffee and then simply poured it into mine…but to be honest I don’t really see this as a failing on their part. Unless of course they make an incredibly obvious display of displeasure at your request. In all seriousness though, reusables are still quite a new thing and unless companies have implemented some kind of structure to deal with lots of requests like Pret for example, there is still going to be a lot of miscommunication, waste and learning in the process. The trick is to always be kind and super friendly. Ok now onto yours!




“My simultaneously best and worst experience was at a Texan supermarket called Central Market, one of my favourite in my hometown. They have a vast bulk selection that far eclipses even that of the local Whole Foods stores, so I decided to try bringing my own containers there for the first time (I wanted to buy speciality flours, so lightweight bags weren’t ideal). So, I went in and was able to find all that I needed and more, but unfortunately my excitement got the best of me and I totally forgot to ask if it was even permitted to bring one’s own containers; the tare weights were written on the Tupperware in any case, so I didn’t think too much of it, though. Fortunately for me, the containers weren’t a problem for my cashier, but deducting the tare weight was, as apparently it’s not an option in their system. Nevertheless, the woman was extremely kind and tried her best to estimate the weights, giving me discounts equal to the price differences. I’m not sure how the situation would’ve gone had it not been around 20mins until closing time on a slow day, and I’ve not been back with containers to know if anything’s improved, but I was so very grateful to her! I’ll definitely try again when I’m home this month.”


“Tried buying lentils and they just hopped out of my tupperware and mostly landed on the floor.”


“Being rudely denied a water refill in my reusable bottle while on holiday in Barcelona. My friends were going to buy ice cream in an ice cream shop, so I politely asked if they could fill my water bottle up. They smirked, looked at their colleagues, laughed and flat out said no without any explanation. No “sorry it’s against our policy” or “health and safety” explanation, just a rude no. My friend immediately said “then I guess we’ll find ice cream elsewhere!” and walked out haha she had my back. Just so odd for someone to deny giving someone water in a hot country when they have a tap! I’ve actually never ever had someone say no before in the years and years I’ve been asking for refills, so I just found it so weird they said no, and especially with such attitude and zero reasoning!”


“The store I went to didn't understand what a tare tare weight was and they didn't know how to subtract the weight of my jars, so I had to pay for the jar weight in addition to the food 😭 I check with the cashier first now when I go to a new store..”


"When I bring my own mug to a coffee shop and I watch them make it in a paper cup and then proceed to poor it into mine.”

Thank you to everyone who left your stories in the comments, there will be many more posts like this to share with the rest of the community. It’s really important we hear about other people’s experiences as this can help us, especially if we don’t have a community around us, to learn and grow in our journeys. It can be really isolating to not have a frame of reference for what is normal and generally accepted in these circumstances. I remember feeling so silly the first time I asked for something in my own containers, but when that first person says “yeah, sure, no problem,” it immediately gives you a little boost of confidence to try it again and again! Thanks for reading today’s post, hopefully it won’t be so long until the next one!


Imogen Lucas