Why Plastic Free?

During the summer of last year (2018), we were experiencing some of the hottest temperatures on record around the globe. This was telling us something. The world needed to do so much more to help our planet.
When pondering what was next for Thornton’s Budgens, we realised, as much as we were helping the planet by using electricity more efficiently, using more ethically sourced products and investing in local communities that support our planet amongst other things; there was something big we were missing. The rising amount of plastic wastage that was harming our ecosystem. 
Plastic is one of the most toxic materials for our environment (which takes around 1,000 years to decompose) and we needed to cut down on how much plastic waste we were producing. 
That’s why we decided to introduce plastic free zones dedicated to products packed in plastic free packaging in November of 2018 and became the first UK supermarket (and only the second in the world) to launch plastic free zones, with c.1,800 plastic free products. 

Our Plastic Free Zones


This is our produce section where you will find our fresh produce unpacked, or packed in plastic free beechwood netting. We have a range of different exotic fruits and vegetables and of course the usual ones too.


Fish Counter 

Looks like Alex is very happy with his fish display! Here you will find a range of fresh responsibly sourced fish from our fishmongers Premium Seafood London. Just ask Alex, Ray, Dam or Adrian if you’re unsure what to get and they will help you and also pack your fish for you in plastic free packaging.



This is where you will find a rage of different plastic free items such as wooden cutlery, metal containers, wooden scrubbers, metal and bio degradable drinks containers, plastic free soaps and plastic free toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

Also you will find plastic free loo rolls and kitchen towel in this section too. 


Refill Stations

Throughout the store we have three different refill stations. A coffee refill station, an Ecover refill station, and our latest addition a seeds and pulses refill station.
Here you can bring your own containers/bottles for refilling or use one of our plastic free ones. You get 30p off of your purchase if you bring your own. 



Here is one of our lovely team members Tiggy showing off our lovely seeds and pulses refill station.


Our Plastic Free Materials


You know the different plastic free sections that we have in the store now, but you’re probably wondering what the materials are and how you can dispose of them properly.
Here is a list of the main materials that we use instead of plastic and how you can dispose of them. 

  • Beechwood Netting – This is beechwood cellulose, which means it’s made up of plant cell walls and  vegetable fibres like cotton. This is material is biodegradable which means it  can be disposed of  in your compost bins at home.
  • Glass – This material is infinitely recyclable and will be used again for something else, unlike plastic. You dispose of it in your recycling bin. Some bins will tell you to separate it from other recyclable items. 
  • Aluminium – This is the most recyclable material on the planet and doesn’t deteriorate through the recycling process meaning it can be used again.
  • Sugarcane – As it says in the title it’s made from sugar canes, the left overs specifically. It’s a plastic like material that’s biodegradable and can be composted in your compost bin at home. 
  • Paper – Of course this one needs no explanation and can be disposed of in your recycling bin at home.
  • Bamboo and Coconut – Believe it or not, we are selling products made from coconut and bamboo. Bamboo is great for straws and cups, and coconut is great for bowls. These materials are ethically sourced and of course are compostable.   
  • We are constantly getting in new products so if you see a plastic free marked product and you aren’t sure of it’s materials, just ask a member of staff. 


At the latest count (2nd of September 2019), we have 2,380 plastic free products and we are aiming for 3000 by the end of the year.