the clean kilo
The Clean Kilo is the largest zero-waste supermarket in the UK; based in Digbeth, Birmingham city centre. Our ethos is to: sell plastic-free products, source as local as possible and reduce food waste. We set up to challenge the food system and its overpackaged supply chain by sourcing in bulk and selling without packaging.
We sell most items you would expect at a conventional supermarket – including dry food, household products and toiletries. To further our impact, we pioneered the growth of zero-waste shopping by expanding our product range to include a frozen section, delicatessen counter, fruit and vegetables, orange juice/coffee machines and chilled milk dispensers. With convenience being key in our busy lifestyles, we continually push the boundaries of what we offer package-free. We believe having the widest product range is extremely important to have the greatest impact on reducing plastic pollution.
We use bulk dispensers to eradicate the need for individual packaging. Customers bring their own containers to refill e.g. an ice cream tub. We encourage customers to stop treating packaging as single-use and to reuse where possible. Only 9% of the world’s plastic is currently recycled, so we need to slow down the production of plastic to protect further irreversible damage to our environment.
Most of our products are either organic or artisan-made, so the quality is high. However, we believe sustainable options should be available to those on lower income, therefore we try to keep our prices competitive. Buying in bulk without individual packaging also allows us to pass on savings to our customers.
One third of all food produced is wasted so we allow customers to buy as little as needed; there’s no pressure to buy pre-packed bags. Furthermore, we can help lower income households to budget without buying more than they can afford or need.
Our aim is for the zero-waste food system to become ubiquitous, so we can achieve a waste-free environment.
By challenging and making our own food system, we’ve affected our supply chain and the future of packaging. We buy in bulk and have strong relationships with our small, local suppliers - many of which exchange containers with us, creating a circular economy.
Sourcing locally helps cut carbon emissions, keeps money in the local community and improves rural-urban links. Our oil producer/potato crisp supplier, Anthony Froggatt, delivers from Staffordshire in reusable containers that we exchange. We’re the only zero waste shop in the country to offer plastic-free crisps – a product that is notorious for its non-recyclable packaging. We strive to make changes to the supply chain so both suppliers and customers produce less waste. We’ve recently won ‘Best Grocer’ 2018 award from Slow Food UK, an organisation that strives for good, clean and fair food.
We’ve featured in national media including the BBC, ITV and The Guardian for being pioneers in food retail. The Clean Kilo is being recognised as an environmental hub within our community and we have been pivotal in the resurgence of the Digbeth High Street - recently named the ‘coolest area in Britain’ by the Sunday Times. We’ve been working with Birmingham City Council to be in their scrutiny committee meetings to make the council plastic-free. Hours of work have also been dedicated to our community; educating young people on plastic pollution and involved in initiatives to tackle food waste with The Real Junk Food Project.
Since opening June ‘18 we’ve saved nearly 130,000 pieces of plastic from potentially existing/entering the environment in just one year! We aim to shape the future of food retail and revolutionise supermarkets and packaging!