A Guide to Sustainable Businesses & Initiatives in Milton Keynes

You guys know I love supporting local businesses which contribute to the local community so in this blog post, I’m sharing the sustainable businesses and initiatives in Milton Keynes that you need to know about. From cutting down on plastic waste to buying local produce, these businesses are making it easier for you to benefit the environment and your local community. I’m sure that you often think about your own impact on the environment, so hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful!

How to start being sustainable

So where on earth do you start?

Well for me, it all started whilst reading Bethany’s Everyday Ethical blog and listening to her podcast (which by the way is excellent and non-preachy offering lots of ethical advice) Another fabulous blog I would recommend is Twins That Travel, local travel bloggers who regularly write about sustainable goodies!

Reading these blogs made me me realise that I don’t need to do everything perfectly – I just need to start making small changes in areas of my lifestyle, rather than overhauling everything at once. I’ve been using reusable cotton pads and a menstrual cup for the past year. Which doesn’t sound like an awful lot, but it’s saved me money and so much waste from pads and tampons.

Sustainable Businesses & Initiatives in Milton Keynes

Here are some eco-friendly businesses and initiatives in Milton Keynes that I love! I hope they will inspire you to take steps to lessen your environmental impact.

  1. Branch Out MK
  2. Bucks Star Beer
  3. Conchus
  4. MK Community Fridge
  5. MK Swap Shop
  6. My Refill Market
  7. Reuse Community Project MK
  8. Sew & Grow

Branch Out MK

Sustainable, seasonal, locally grown flowers

Did you know that only 14% of cut flowers that are bought in this country are grown in the UK? The other 86% is imported from countries as far afield as Chile, Israel and Kenya!

Branch Out MK is based in Stony Stratford and advocates locally grown, seasonal floristry. The carbon footprint of a bunch of locally grown flowers is 2-4kg CO2 compared to 31-32kg CO2 for a bunch of Kenyan flowers. How crazy is that!?

But they aren’t just is an environmentally friendly business – Branch Out is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which helps people with autism and learning differences to learn horticultural skills through the growing of flowers and plants.

You can find Branch Out’s Botanical Boutique on the top floor on York House Centre in Stony Stratford which sells a range of botanical goodies and hand-cut flowers. Branch Out kindly provided the most beautiful table decorations for my supper club at The Brasserie at MK College, so if you need flowers for weddings or events, hit them up!

Bucks Star Beer & Growler Swap

Eco, vegan, zero-waste beer

Many pubs and local breweries do growler swaps by refilling the growler. But Bucks Star Beer do things a little differently. Their Growler Swap business actually uses the growlers as a key part of the brewing process, so the beers finish brewing in the bottles. Datis Gol, founder of Bucks Star Beer and its sister company, Growler Swap, is the brains behind this initiative.

You buy your 2L growler for ยฃ16, then when you return, you simply buy the next one for ยฃ11. The growlers that you return are then washed and reused for more brewing. Bucks Star Beer is also vegan-friendly and the brewery is solar-powered. Amazing right?!

Read more: Bucks Star Beer Brewery Tour & Tasting Experience

Bucks Star Beer Growler Swap

Conchus

Natural, plastic-free bathroom swaps

Bathrooms are a great place to start cutting down on plastic waste. Just take a look at your own bathroom shelf and see how many bottles you can see!

Conchus is a brand based in Milton Keynes and owned by the lovely Camilla. She handmakes natural toiletries which are plastic-free, and come in biodegradable packaging. Yep, even the sticky labels can by composted.

My favourite products are the body wash bars and the Miracle Body Balm. I just feel like they are so good for my skin and they also smell divine! Conchus are also very community conscious – every soap bar is hand-cut which means there are loads of off-cuts. Camilla collects them all and turns them into HUG bars which get donated to various charities across the country. I think this is such an amazing idea and even more of a reason to shop with them.

Click here to shop the Conchus range.

Conchus Shampoo Bar and Body Wash Bar

MK Community Fridge

Fighting food waste

MK Community Fridge is a fantastic initiative in Milton Keynes that helps to fight food waste. The food in the fridge is for anyone to take and use. It’s not a food bank – a lot of people are under the misconception that it is. There are four fridges in Milton Keynes: Wolverton, Woughton, Netherfield and Great Linford. To find your nearest fridge and find out when it’s open, visit the MK Community Fridge website.

Each fridge receives donations from local food businesses and supermarkets (like Asda, Lidl, Tesco) – it is all food that can no longer be sold and would go to waste. My Mum regularly picks up goodies from the Wolverton fridge and it’s a good feeling that you’ve stopped food going to waste!

MK Community Fridge also runs a pop-up cafe which uses up the food from the fridge. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date with what’s in the fridge and upcoming events!

MK Swap Shop

Slow, low-impact fashion

Get your new wardrobe fix is of course through second-hand shopping or swap shops!

MK Swap Shop aims to slow fast fashion down and is a great way to give your unwanted clothes to new homes and also find some new gems for your wardrobe! What I love about this Swap Shop initiative is that all the clothes are checked before they are put out, so you know you’re going to get good quality garments.

Simply turn up with your clothes (or get them picked up before!) and get your swap tokens to shop the swap shop. Follow MK Swap Shop on Facebook to stay up to date on their latest events.


My Refill Market

Zero-waste Shopping

My Refill Market is a zero-waste shop in Stony Stratford. Having set up a pop-up stall at local markets, owner Karen Jouet crowdfunded the money to set up a physical store.

And it’s amazing!

From shampoo to spices, you can fill up your own containers with goods for your kitchen, bathroom and home. Just weigh and pay! It’s a fantastic way to shop and is totally zero-waste. Just bring your own containers or use the recyclable paper bags on offer.

You can find My Refill Market in Eddie & Pearl on the high street in Stony Stratford.

Reuse Community Project MK

Environmentally friendly furniture

Reuse Community Project MK is a not-for-profit organisation set up to raise money for charities in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.

They encourage residents to donate items (like furniture!) that could be reused. By selling these items on or recycling the materials in unsellable goods, they raise money for charity. Many of these goods will end up in landfill sites so you help the environment and help someone else in need. Win win.

I have used the Reuse Project myself – it’s great for new homeowners looking to save a bit of money. I collected a small chest of drawers which were basically brand new with a RRP of ยฃ90. With a discount, I got them for ยฃ34 which is just amazing!

Follow Reuse Community Project on Facebook to see what goods they currently have, or you can go and visit them in Kiln Farm.

Sew & Grow

Eco-friendly fabrics

Sew & Grow is an MK grown social enterprise that is run by Ciara, who makes hand-crafted, artisan products using recycled and naturally dyed fabrics like reusable cotton pads and flannels and scrubbers for cleaning. Everything is grown or foraged to create natural dyes.

Sew & Grow works closely with the local community, offering training programmes for young people. I think this is a great initiative that clearly has a positive impact on both the environment and the local community. The plants are grown locally at the Urb Garden in Wolverton.

You can find Sew & Grow products at Mrs. B’s Emporium in Wolverton or buy online here.

Other Businesses Doing Sustainable Stuff

I can’t cover absolutely every business in MK doing sustainable things, I’ve just showcased those that I use and love, but I will keep it updated with anything I think is worth shouting about!

Here are some other businesses that are doing sustainable stuff.

♻️ Charity Recycling MK turns your household waste into charity donations for Willen Hospice and MK Cat Rescue. You can drop off everything from Nespresso pods to biscuit wrappers, air freshener products to plastic tops. Check out the Facebook page to find out how to donate.

♻️ Bubbles Laundromat are now stocking eco-conscious household cleaning products and sustainable loo roll – yay!

♻️ Old School House in Wolverton is working to make itself as green and sustainable as possible. It has an electric car charging points, uses upcycled furniture and will be installing solar panels. The cafe is also an official Refill station! Download the Refill app to find your nearest station, top up with tap water and reduce your plastic bottle waste.

♻️ Green’s Butcher’s in Stony Stratford encourages customers to pick up meat in their own Tupperware to save on plastic bags. Woodstock Bakery also supports this! You can buy your grocery bags from My Refill Market.

♻️ MK Biergarten has 3-pint reusable containers called Growlers which you can fill from the tap at the bar and take home. Simply come back and refill it! All of the steel kegs are also returned back to the breweries instead o being discarded.

♻️ Get 20p off your takeaway coffee from Out of Office if you bring your own reusable cup. If you purchase a bamboo cup from them, you’ll get your first drink on the house!

♻️ Suds is based in Stony Stratford and makes plastic free homemade shower and bath products. You can buy them from My Refill Market or online here.

Shopping local is one of the best ways you can live more consciously; not only are you putting money back into the local community, but many of the products you buy won’t have been imported which also reduces your carbon footprint.

I will always advocate shopping local and independent where I can and I hope I’ve proved there are some fantastic businesses in Milton Keynes doing it already. Who’s feeling inspired to save the whales!?

What changes will you make to become more sustainable?

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Hello!

I'm Sophie, a 20-something blogger and content creator helping you to discover great independent eats and adventures in Milton Keynes. I work with and champion local businesses to show people that there's more to MK than chain restaurants and roundabouts.

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9 Comments

  1. DAVID FRETTEN wrote:

    hi Sophie, we use food that’s is in excess from the old bathouse Wolverton and reuse the fruit and vegetables and turn them into quality delicious jams chutneys and marmalades which we then sell for charity, whether that be the Community Fridge Project, or Nras National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society . We use the community Fridge produce to stop food wastage, we also use the mk play association in kiln farm to buy our material to make jam jar mop heads which also helps that charity and we are commited to recycling so for every one of our jars we get back empty we will give you 50p back on your next purchase so encourage further recycling we don’t have a website as we do this voluntarily although hold level 2 catering food safety certificates and use the commercial kitchen at the bathouse which is 5 star rated we sell at local fetes and Fayres and on occasion at stony stratford Odells market

    Posted 1.3.20 Reply
  2. Carol Barac wrote:

    You have forgotten to mention Camphill Community shop and restaurant, that stock Fair Trade goods and home baked bread and their own produce. The restaurant is vegetarian. They also make and sell baskets and other woven goods. And ice cream in summer.

    Posted 1.11.20 Reply
    • Sophie wrote:

      Thanks Carol I will check it out!

      I feature places I’ve been to myself and I haven’t made it to Camp hill just yet

      Posted 1.12.20 Reply
      • Phil Tipper wrote:

        Camphill community shop also offers a refill service too. Take your bottles and pay per 100 ml for shampoo, conditioner, laundry liquid, washing up liquid, toilet cleaner etc. All fair trade.

        Posted 2.7.20 Reply
        • Sophie wrote:

          Will absolutely check them out when I have a chance – thanks phil ๐Ÿ™‚

          Posted 2.7.20 Reply
  3. Barley Bay wrote:

    Hi Sophie, based in Wavendon, we design and publish our beautiful fsc naked greetings cards. Our original textile designs are from scrap, waste and sustainable materials, cards sent out in reused packaging or catch us at Woburn Sands community market. Check out our ‘green matters’page on our full website (www.barleybay.co.uk) shop listed opposite.

    Posted 1.12.20 Reply
    • Sophie wrote:

      Thank you I will check your website out for sure

      Posted 1.12.20 Reply
  4. Emma wrote:

    Hi Sophie,
    Iโ€™m Emma from a Hapitat, I live in Stony as well. I make huge flower headpieces out of recycled vintage fabrics, I get a lot of custom orders from brides wanting something a little different, and ladies wanting to stand out at the Races. I also make crazy floral creations for festival goers, as well as running my Hapitat recycled headpiece workshops at Glastonbury and Shambala festival. Everything I use is recycled from vintage leather, silk and satin offcuts, I also use all sorts of odd recycled bits and bobs in my workshops, we even make unicorn horns and cute animal ears out of cereal boxes, fabrics and recycled embellishments.

    I sell on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/hapitat.
    And I have my own Facebook page here Facebohttps://m.facebook.com/hapitat/

    Btw I bought the shampoo and body wash from My Refill Market on Stony high st and I absolutely LOVE them, the lady was sooo lovely and helpful too, Iโ€™ll be back for more very soon โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

    Love Emma
    Xxx

    Posted 2.7.20 Reply
    • Sophie wrote:

      Hi Emma, Thanks for your comment! Do get in touch via email about your business – I’ll be sure to check it out. There’s almost too many businesses doing brilliant things to feature them all in this guide! And feel free to join my Facebook group, Eat & Explore MK. x

      Posted 2.9.20 Reply