University of Manchester students are working towards a cleaner more sustainable planet with their Want Not Waste store in the Students’ Union.

The project was started in 2018 by Ex-Activities and Developments Officer, Lizzie Horton, who was elected that same year.

A huge part of Lizzie’s manifesto was to address the plastic crisis in Manchester and set up a zero-waste shop.


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Over 30 students now volunteer to work at the store, which you can visit to purchase refills of cleaning products, toiletries, dry foods (e.g. oats) and more.

With funding from Student Action, which supported the training process of volunteers, the shop seems to be becoming increasingly successful each year. They even have a waiting list of volunteers!

The store encourages you to bring your own containers for refillable goods. However, they do have a selection of glass jars available to purchase.

They also have a jar swap process where you can wash and bring in your old jars that will be kept on the shelf, and swap them for smaller ones if needed.


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Holly is a third-year Psychology student who has worked previously on other sustainable projects like the Manchester Ecosia Campaign.

She said: “I was really looking for something at uni that brought like-minded people to me.

This was a new passion of mine I discovered in sixth form – I started thinking more about the environment and things.

The shop was a great place to go, meet loads of new people, do cool things [and] learn things along the way.

Lauren, a third-year student who studies English Literature and American Studies added: “For me, [the shop is] somewhere to go where you can talk about sustainable issues and being eco friendly without judgement.”

Despite being run by students, the store is open for the general public to stock up on refills.

They also have a recycling scheme in place called ‘Terracycling‘, where you can bring in recyclable waste and turn it into charity donations.

♻️✅ TERRACYCLE SCHEMES 2020/2021 ♻️✅

Please see a final updated list of the schemes we are offering 2020/21. These…

Posted by Want Not Waste on Thursday, 12 November 2020

There are so many ways that you can begin becoming more sustainable.

Natasha, a third-year Psychology student, talked a bit about how valuable using secondhand products is.

She said: “Taking a second to think about a product that you’re buying, does this need to be brand new? Can I actually get this from eBay or a charity shop?

Products like that kind of have a story to tell, someone else has already owned it but it might still be brand new.

In a charity shop, you find plenty of things that have the original label on, it’s just never been worn. You can get it some much cheaper and it’s not feeding the demand because it’s already been created.

When you buy something, brand new from a shop that creates a gap and then that has to be replaced.

If you’re wondering how you can make better choices, Holly, Lauren and Natasha had some wonderful advice, for those of us who are looking to make more sustainable choices in our everyday lives.

You can learn more on sustainability and find out more about Want Not Waste by heading to their social media; Facebook, Instagram and their blog. The blog has tonnes of reviews, tips and tricks on all things sustainable.

Are you looking to become more sustainable in 2021? Let us know any tips you have @PieRadioUK