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.


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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

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. 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. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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