Be a sustainability hero and buy zero at new campus shop

Monday, 02 March 2020

A new zero-waste shop is opening at the University of Nottingham offering a range of goods that are completely free from single-use plastic packaging.

Portland Zero is a permanent addition to the retail outlets in the Portland Building and opening its doors at the start of the university’s Sustainability Week (2 – 7 March) and will stock a huge variety of products from nuts, cereals, grains and oils to eco -friendly cleaning products and toiletries, all of which are free from plastic packaging.

Research carried out by the Students’ Union which surveyed 1,500 students showed that sustainability was one of the most important issues to students and 82% would be willing to change their shopping habits to be more sustainable.

Changing shopping habits

Portland Zero has been set up by Lee Taylor, Environmental and Social Justice Officer at the Students’ Union. 21-year-old Lee is a Nottingham local and was a previous director of the successful Foodprint shop in Nottingham.

I’m hugely passionate about the finding ways to make living more sustainably more accessible for local people. Bringing a zero-waste shop onto campus makes ditching the plastic much easier and we hope will encourage not just students but also staff and the wider public to change their shopping habits to help protect the environment.
Lee Taylor, Environmental and Social Justice Officer

The new shop has been part-funded by money raised through the university’s latte levy scheme which put an extra 20p onto every drink purchased in a disposable cup, in a bid to encourage the use of reusable cups. The latte levy helped to save over 75,000 cups and raised over £60,000 in 2018/19 which is being reinvested into interventions to reduce waste.

The new Portland Zero shop will stock a wide range of wholefoods that will be sold by weight, so customers can buy as much or as little as they need and can use their own container, pick up a recyclable paper bag, or invest in a reusable jar or lunchbox from the wide range on offer in the shop.

There is also a refill station where people can fill up bottles with liquid products including oils and vinegars. Cheaper and better for the environment, refilling is a great alternative to buying a new plastic bottle every time you run out of these items.

It is great that through our WasteNotts campaign we have been able to not only bring about positive environmental behaviours but also support the wider university community by funding the creation of this waste free shop on Campus, which will instil further positive behaviours across the university. Our community is an integral part of our environmental journey and it is through our collective actions that we will continue to see change.
Gavin Scott, Environmental Manager at the University of Nottingham

Sustainability Week is a week-long celebration of all things sustainability, from the environment to health and wellbeing to social justice to equality. Incorporating events for Fairtrade Fortnight, University Mental Health Day, and International Women*'s Day, Sustainability Week covers all aspects of sustainability as defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There are over 70 events planned and the sustainability awards. Details of all the events can be found here.


Story credits

For more information contact Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science on 0115 74 86462 or

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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