Zero waste shop opens in York to help people go plastic-free

Mel Metcalf in the new business

You’ve heard of two-for-one deals before – but how about a two-for-one shop?

That’s what you get when visiting a new business on Burton Stone Lane – The Giftery and The Shop Of Small Changes.

The first is a straightforward gift shop, selling gifts for all ages as well as cards and wrapping paper.


The second is a non-food zero waste shop which offers off the shelf, plastic free replacements for items that people use on a daily basis, including

  • toothbrushes
  • shampoo
  • make up pads
  • shaving equipment and
  • cleaning products.

It also offers bulk refills where customers can use their own jars and containers to fill up with products such as washing up liquid, multi surface cleaner, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner and bird seed.

Family business

The interior of the shop(s)
Both shops, which opened today (5 September) in the former York Flower Company premises, are run by the same family – Mel and Andrew Metcalf and their son Harry.

They have run a gift business for several years, trading at festivals. They sold zero waste items at those events too.

Mel said:

  • We wanted to move into a more permanent home and as this is the area we have lived in for 20 years, we knew it had to be on Burton Stone Lane.

    Like so many families, we have become increasingly aware of the damage that plastic is doing to our planet and have taken many steps to reduce our overall plastic use.

    Sometimes people know they want to use less plastic but just don’t know where to begin. We wanted to help with that.

    This may be a new way of shopping for many but we are hoping to make it as easy as possible so that people aren’t intimidated or put off trying to reduce their plastic use. The shops are very informal and, we hope, welcoming to all.

Ditch the cling film and buy a vegan butty bag
Shop info
  • Opening hours: Tues & Weds 10am-2pm; Thurs 10am-7pm; Fri & Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 11am-3pm
  • 177 Burton Stone Lane, York
  • Facebook
  • 07771 812639

She said they’d received an “astounding” response to the concept – “lots of people from the local community have commented on the concept and seem to like the idea of two shops in one”.

When people pop in to buy a gift, it “often gives us the opportunity to talk about the zero waste shop”. So what tips would she give to people keen to cut back? Mel said:

  • Many of us know about the items that can help to reduce waste including reusable cups and water bottles and these are definitely on the list for us.

    Other great swaps that we think are very easy is to start using bar soap at home rather than liquid soap in a plastic bottle and to always take a bag with you when you go shopping.

    We all have these bags, remembering to take them is the tricky part!

She added: “We have been made to feel so welcome by residents that live near the shop which is lovely.

“We really do hope people are as excited as we are to see this opening in Burton Stone Lane.”