The Low-Waste Weekend Guide: London activities that don’t cost the earth

·5-min read
 (Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)
(Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)

There are lots of factors to bear in mind before planning your itinerary for the weekend, from location to booking times to cost. But what about making sure your fun doesn’t carry a large carbon footprint?

Here are some ways to enjoy your weekend in the capital without a side of eco guilt.

1) Book tickets for the Arcola Theatre

Outdoor seating at Arcola Theatre (Arcola Theatre)
Outdoor seating at Arcola Theatre (Arcola Theatre)

Based in East London, this venue hosts new, original work as well as well as contemporary productions of classic plays. It aims to be the world’s first carbon neutral theatre, and has reduced its footprint by 25% since 2012 through investing in renewable and sustainable energy options.

If you decide to buy a beer in the interval, there’s a 90% chance it was brewed less than four miles away. There are concessionary tickets available to students and those who are 26 and under, 65 and over, people in receipt of disability benefits, people in receipt of unemployment benefits and Theatre Union members.

2) Dine out at Farmacy, Notting Hill

 (Farmacy)
(Farmacy)

Serving seasonal food in Notting Hill, Farmacy sources ingredients from local, environmentally conscious suppliers, or grows it on its own farm in the Kent countryside. The menu is plant based and free from dairy, refined sugars, additives and chemicals. If you’re planning on having a garden party over the weekend, Farmacy can also help you create a bespoke menu for the occasion.

 (Farmacy)
(Farmacy)

3) Visit the Know The Origin pop-up

 (Know The Origin)
(Know The Origin)

A lot of fashion brands claim green credentials these days, but if you want to ensure your clothes really are ethical and sustainable then Know The Origin is a pretty safe bet.

Like a Net-a-Porter for sustainable fashion, the online department store has just opened a large London pop-up in Angel Central which stocks some of its best-loved brands - all of which meet the store’s rigorous 20-point sustainability vetting - including bamboo clothing line Hara The Label and hip recycled athleisure company Girlfriend Collective. This one is good for discovering new or more under-the-radar fashion, beauty and homeware brands - even if you’re just window shopping.

4) Have a pint at London’s first 100% vegan pub

 (Image courtesy of the Spread Eagle)
(Image courtesy of the Spread Eagle)

The Spread Eagle in Hackney is a boozer with a plant-based twist. With a seasonal, minimal-waste kitchen, all the food is sourced directly from foragers and local producers and gives traditional pub staples (pie and mash, burgers and even a ploughman's) a vegan spin. There are 14 beers available on tap, all chosen by responsible producers, as well as a range of organic wines.

5) Stock up on groceries the green way

Kilo, Holloway Road

Kilo, Holloway Road (Mark Lukas Creative)
Kilo, Holloway Road (Mark Lukas Creative)

If you dread grocery shopping on the weekend, head to Kilo for a modern, sustainable shopping experience . You’ll have to bring you own tupperware, in line with Kilo’s minimal waste ethos. The Scan, Weigh & Pay app promises a speedy shop as you can keep a library of your pre-weighed containers and pay using Apple Pay and Google Pay. If your weekend is truly jam packed, you can place your order online and drop your containers off using the Jar Drop service to pick up at your own convenience.

Kilo’s pantry staples, Holloway Road (Mark Lukas Creative)
Kilo’s pantry staples, Holloway Road (Mark Lukas Creative)

The Source, Richmond

 (The Source)
(The Source)

At The Source, you don’t have to go in intending to empty the whole shop. They advocate buying as much as you need, to reduce the chances of ingredients ending up in the bin -as long as you bring your own container, of course. Their shop contains over 400 bulk food bins full of locally sourced products, from organic wholefoods to sustainable household products. Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of their Source Snack Boxes, a curated selection of customer favourites.

 (Scott Mains - INGRAINED Creative)
(Scott Mains - INGRAINED Creative)

Re:Store, Hackney

 (Re:Store)
(Re:Store)

Again, this store operates on the basis that you bring your own containers. Anything from sandwich bags to old plastic takeaway containers will be accepted. They strive to be accessible in terms of pricing and aim for complete transparency about how the products arrive to Re:Store from their wholesalers.

 (Henry Kenyon)
(Henry Kenyon)

6) Book an eco-friendly cookery class at Little Portland Street

 (Cookery School at Little Portland Street)
(Cookery School at Little Portland Street)

London’s ‘most sustainable cooking school’ offers classes to transform you into a cooking extraordinaire - without wasting ingredients. The classes will arm you with a range of skill, from making delicious food out of ingredients that would otherwise be scrapped, to slicing and dicing. 100% of the energy used in the kitchens is renewable, and single use plastics are banned from the kitchen.

As part of its National Cooking Programme, Cookery School is also holding free classes to teach teens how to make delicious, simple meals. These classes are live-streamed on Youtube and Instagram on Wednesdays at 5:30pm.

You can find out more and see which classes are on offer here: https://www.cookeryschool.co.uk/

7) Buy a coffee and plant a tree

 (Kiss the Hippo, Fitzrovia)
(Kiss the Hippo, Fitzrovia)

Here’s one for the coffee connoisseurs - Kiss the Hippo café. Not only is the coffee roasted in house, in the first carbon neutral coffee roastery in the UK, Kiss the Hippo offsets the carbon it produces with international reforestation initiatives.

The food is made using ingredients from sustainable local farms and suppliers and none of it wasted. Alongside the cafe’s partnership with the app Too Good to Go , Kiss the Hippo donates the leftover food to local charities. It also recently launched 100% Compostable Coffee Pods, filled with the Organic House blend. If you buy them as part of a subscription, Kiss the Hippo will plant a tree on your behalf.

 (Kiss the Hippo)
(Kiss the Hippo)

8) Soak up nature at the biodiverse Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

 (Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)
(Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)

Situated two minutes away from Dalston Junction Overground, the Garden provides a leafy oasis right in the centre of Hackney, where you can wander round free of charge. A dedicated team of employees and volunteers tend to the plants, which have been specially chosen to support bees, butterflies and wildlife. If you want to grab a bite to eat after, the café serves homemade cakes, teas and coffee. All proceeds go back into the maintenance of the garden - so your weekend slice of cake will help to keep the garden flourishing.

 (Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)
(Dalston Eastern Curve Garden)
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