Wait . . . what?

Frequently asked questions

In store

Aren't zero-waste shops really expensive?

Well, yes they can be, but SCOOP isn't. Actually one of our core principles is that sustainable living shouldn't be a luxury for people who can afford it and that's why we run non-for-profit shops at low prices. All our shops purchase food at bulk wholesale prices and sell them at just above that price. We're covering our costs, not making a profit and that means that you can shop at SCOOP without spending more than you normally do. In fact, you'll probably be saving money as we operate a price-match guarantee which means we make sure our prices are the same or below supermarkets in the surrounding area. Zero-waste shopping doesn't have to be expensive. Come to SCOOP and you'll see for yourself.

Do I need to bring my own containers and what if I don't have any?

SCOOP shops are refill shops which means you do have to bring your own containers. We have big jars or sacks of dried foods and you can take as much as little as you want, weigh what you take, and pay for the exact amount. The best containers you can bring are tupperware, jam jars and anything similar. Don't have your own containers? Not a problem. Each SCOOP shop may do things slightly differently but most of them run a recycling scheme whereby other customers can leave empty jars or containers that they don't use - so you might be able to pick up one of those. Some of our shops also stock containers made out of recyclable materials that you can buy in store. If you're unsure, get in touch with your local SCOOP team and if you're really unsure, just turn up anyway - we'll make it work for you!

I have allergies and I'm worried about cross-contamination.

The best thing to do if you have an allergy is contact your local SCOOP shop and ask for their stock list and allergens. As a general rule, SCOOP doesn't stock nuts or products that contain nuts so that if you have a nut allergy you can feel confident to shop at SCOOP. We have allergen information for all our stock, and your local SCOOP team will happily help you if you need that information. However, because SCOOP is a refill shop that involves having containers of different dried foods in close proximity, we cannot guarantee that there will not be cross-contamination between food stocks. If you are concerned about cross-contamination, please contact your local SCOOP team to see if there are allergens present that you are concerned about. If there are, you may choose to shop at SCOOP knowing that we use different metal scoops for each food product which are cleaned regularly, but we cannot guarantee no cross-contamination.

Get involved

How do I set up a SCOOP shop at my uni?

The first step is to reach out to the Scoop UK team and tell us of your interest. We can let you know if a Scoop pop-up store already exists at your university and give you the most up-to-date advice on what to do next. The SCOOP UK team offers a starter pack and complete guidance on starting a SCOOP group and opening a zero-waste shop at your university. So contact us! But as you're interested, the first steps typically consist of: 1) Seeing if there is an appetite for SCOOP at your university amongst the student population (try posting on your university Facebook pages and watch the reaction). 2) Starting to put a team together by reaching out to friends or advertising on social media. 3) Making a Scoop Facebook page specific to your university and start marketing. 4) Looking for funding! For more detailed information and guidance please contact the SCOOP UK team and have a look at the Scoop UK Starter Pack.

How does a SCOOP group at university relate to SCOOP UK?

Student groups at different universities can operate Scoop pop-up shops (the zero-waste shops we keep talking about). These shops offer non-perishable dried foods at affordable prices and promote sustainable living amongst other students. As well as operating the Scoop shop, a Scoop group is also dedicated to promoting sustainable living at their university by sharing content, running events and spreading our message far and wide. Scoop UK is a central team of Scoop team members across different universities who aim to spread the Scoop idea to as many different universities across the UK and beyond. We coordinate with local student Scoop teams across the country and are in charge of the wider Scoop brand. This involves giving up-to-date guidance to Scoop teams, reaching out to different universities to spread the word, and creating political campaigns for Scoop supporters to get involved with.

How can I get involved with SCOOP?

SCOOP is run entirely by volunteers, so we'd love to have you. There are lots of different ways to get involved with us depending on where you go to university and how you'd like to help SCOOP. We currently have SCOOP groups at Cambridge, Durham and UCL - so if you go to any of these universities, the best place to start is by contacting them and asking how you can get involved - whether that be volunteering to run the shop, helping with social media, events or whatever ideas you may have. If you don't go to one of these unis, you can still be involved! You can start your own SCOOP group in your university. Gather a team of like-minded students, reach out to SCOOP UK and we'll help you set up your own zero-waste pop up and group at your university. We're also always looking for people to contribute to SCOOP UK - writing articles, sharing ideas about sustainable living, and finding ways for our community to get involved with political lobbying. However you'd like to get involved - reach out to us and we'll take it from there.


What is a zero-waste shop and how does it reduce waste?

A SCOOP zero-waste shop is a store where you can buy a range of dry, non-perishable foods (such as pasta, rice, grains, beans and all sorts) without any packaging. When you come to a SCOOP shop you'll see lots of glass jars full of food and you can scoop as much or as little as you need of each product from our stocks into your own container. You weigh the food you've taken and pay. Simple as that. Zero-waste or 'refill' shops like these are great for reducing waste because we buy in bulk quantities. In the UK at the moment, all food has to be packaged in food-grade plastic when it's transported - so that's unavoidable. But, once it's been transported, the food is divided into small plastic packages that customers then buy (a 500g plastic bag of pasta for example). Refill shops cut out that step entirely, and the difference between a bit of plastic for a large quantity of food vs plastic for each individual 500g portion is huge. At SCOOP we're also committed to ensuring our supply chains are as low waste as possible. Wherever possible we prioritise local suppliers and we only purchase supplies from stockists who pride themselves on being low-waste.

Does it really make that much of a difference?

Yes it does. One of our core beliefs at SCOOP is that every individual action is significant - no matter how small - and we won't be convinced otherwise. It is the combination of small, individual actions that results in a huge difference and given that our plastic pollution problem is pretty big at the moment, a huge difference is what we need to make. And if you commit to shopping only at SCOOP then you'll reduce your plastic waste by a significant amount over the course of a month, a term, a year, and beyond. But there's more. For us at SCOOP, our social impact is just as (if not even more) important to us than our physical impact (that is reducing plastic). We know that zero-waste shopping and sustainable living is the future that we want to live in. But right now, the opportunities aren't there: supermarkets and big shops are clinging to plastic packaging like there isn't any alternative. We know there is and we're here to make that message clear. We're leading the way in sustainable living, starting conversations, sharing ideas and gradually normalising zero-waste shopping as an alternative to what we're used to now. By doing that, we're being the change we wish to see and making the rest of the world catch us up. So remember, next time you shop at SCOOP, the impact of your actions is bigger than it seems and the choices you make can influence others around you and beyond. And make sure you always act with intention.