Fabric Shops Button Box

 I got the printed cotton for my tabbard tunic, linen for the extremely wide pants, voile for the choir boy smock and denim for shorts from

Button Box, Huddersfield

At Queensgate Market where you can get a wide range of plastic free stuff

It looks more like a hobbies shop catering to quilters, stampers and card makers. But dont be put off by the decoupage, it has recently upped its fabric game. I remember the range as rather limited and extremely synthetic – think dance fabrics. Now it has some really nice stuff; funky prints, subtle colours and a lot of natural fibres.

More plastic free

They sell paper patterns and cotton bias binding by the meter. They have some hessian and cotton ribbens that look natural.


They do 100% cotton thread but it comes on plastic reels. You can get cotton on wooden reels online (link below), but you to be well organised and plan ahead, skills I have yet to master.

The Button Box stocks metal zips in what looks like a polyester fabric.


They have all the other stuff you need to sew with but it comes plastic packed (for plasticfree sewing supplies see the link below).

They have a great range of ribbons and laces which look to be mostly synthetic.


The Huddersfield store is located at the entrance of Queensgate Covered Market.

Samuel Taylor’s Button Box

4-5 Queensgate Market Arcade
Princess Alexandra Walk
West Yorkshire
HD1 2UJ  View on map

01484 435 235


Samuel Taylors is a family business that has a number of Yorkshire-based, fabric retail stores and an online shop. You can find them here…

Head Office & Internet Showroom 

Leeds Central

Leeds Market

Brighouse Store

Embsay Store

Harrogate Knitting & Haberdashery 


You can buy plastic free sewing supplies here.

Find other Yorkshire based #plasticfree products and shops here


Skirt Bombazine

Back home from the tropics and I desperately needed some new clothes. So I have been busy sewing. First off the production line is an enormous bell shaped skirt in black bombazine. I’m not sure it is bombazine but it looks as though it should be. Besides which I like the word.

The fabric is a heavy silk / wool mix. This is not so much clothing as architecture. It was made in Yorkshire. I bought it from Jacks, a small stall on  Leeds Kirkgate Market. Right at the back in the new part.They sell end of line remnants of Yorkshire made wooden fabric.  For very reasonable amounts. Anything from £5.00 to £12.00 a meter.

Bargain! Not only am I supporting a local fabric shop but this fabric was actually made in Yorkshire. How fantastic is that?

I made it using plastic-free, sustainable sewing supplies  (you can find them here) but had to use a plastic zip.

I made the pattern up.

Sustainable Rating

  • Natural fibres
  • Homemade
  • Supporting local fabric shop
  • Made with plastic free sewing supplies

This counts as part of my fair share of global fabrics – a self imposed rationing system. You can read about it here #

And  can see what else I have made, here





U.K made woolen string

Got me a new favourite string!

“twool® twine is a strong, soft and subtle British wool alternative to imported jute. Wool is one of the oldest naturally occurring fibres around, it’s a practical material – it lasts, we grow it well in this country, it’s renewable, super sustainable and is currently an underused natural resource.”

“A versatile garden twine made from Dartmoor wool. Super sustainable, socially-responsible and environmentally sound twool twine is strong enough for traditional garden use yet soft enough for floristry, crafts and gifts.”

twool® twine is a strong, soft and subtle British wool alternative to imported jute. Wool is one of the oldest naturally occurring fibres around, it’s a practical material – it lasts, we grow it well in this country, it’s renewable, super sustainable and is currently an underused natural resource.

It’s made in the U.K.from British wool and comes in different colours. See the full range and buy from the website

Other String

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGetting plastic free string can be hard work. It’s easy enough to get biodegradable plastic free string – go for jute, cotton, hemp, sisal, linen and avoid manmade fibers such as nylon and polyester.

Getting it unwrapped however can be a chore. Most big shops sell it plastic wrapped! As they sell everything plastic wrapped. I find it best to search out small hardware stores and market stalls. Even then it is scarce so whenever I see some I buy it.
NB check the bobbin. Once swooped triumphantly on some jute string only to realise later it had a blue plastic inner. How I missed that I don’t know!

My string collection now includes

white cotton from Marsh Hardware shop, Marsh, Huddersfield
brown jute from Todmorden Market
very nice string from a stationers in France.


Think I am OK for now! However if I needed some more string I could go topfree string garden Pound land. I have seen these and they are plastic free. You can find a store near you via the website.




Fred Aldous Manchester

string fred Aldousmulticoloured cotton on cardboard tube form Fred Aldous. Check out their fantastic craft store and website

pfree general

They also sell  Nutscene string. You can buy this jute (?) string in a tin or loose. It comes in a range of vibrant colours.

You can also buy string in a tin from the shop at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It comes plastic free and unpackaged.

If you can’t get to Yorkshire or Manchester, you can get it direct from the manufacturers (lovely website wide range of products), or from Amazon.

I have never bought on line so I don’t know if it comes plastic wrapped. Do check.

Cotton Wool

You can go to wool shop and buy knitting cotton.


Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.

If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

If you can’t do that then you can buy String from Amazon – see a wide range here.  

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.



Huddersfield Queensgate Market

Queensgate Market is a covered indoor market in the center of Huddersfield. It is home to over one hundred shops open six days a week.
Bus Stop • Town Centre
Address: Princess Street, Huddersfield HD1 2SU, United Kingdom
Phone:+44 1484 223361

It was Market Hall of the year in 2013 and like all markets is a great place to buy stuff loose and unpacked.
Meat & Fish
Huge knickers
Cotton hankerchiefs

However it is also an architectural landmark.

From Kirklees Council website

Opened on April 6th 1970 the Queensgate Market Hall was built with a bespoke roof system of 21 asymmetric curved shells. The design allows for maximum light into the market and is considered to be the best example still standing of a retail market from the 1960s and 1970s.

In 2005 Culture Minister David Lammy listed the building as Grade II, stating, “It is an imaginative structure that combines innovative technology of its time to produce a dramatic space full of natural light with the striking focal point of the roof.”
The exterior of the building incorporates natural stone with exposed concrete and several art relief panels all individually sculpted by the artist Fritz Steller.

The Hall has been haled by local architecture expert Adrian Evans as “A spectacular combination of architecture, engineering and art.”
For further information and images visit Huddersfield Gem


Shea Butter Leeds

This is a quick introduction to Shea Butter

Semi soft buttery oil. Read more about butter oils and waxes here.
Imported usually from Africa.
Has a soft velvety texture.
Can be used neat as a very rich moisturiser.
Mix with coconut oil to make a lighter body butter. Recipe here.
I love it added to home made creams and lotions.

Which Shea Butter?

Unrefined shea butter is going beige or ivory or ‘off white’
Bright white refined shea butter
Pale yellow may be shea from Nilotica (Viterallia Nilotica) and it’s natural
Deep yellow Shea Butter has been dyed originally with a natural dye from the Borututu tree or more likely now a synthetic dye.

Raw Shea Butter
In it’s natural form.
Unrefined Shea Butter
Some filtering allowed so remove larger particles.
Refined Shea Butter
Some form of processing which also removes its smell.

Read more about shea butter in Wikipedia


It can of course be bought online but here in Yorkshire we have a local supplier. Maya’s stall in Leeds Market. They specialise in black hair and beauty so if you don’t live near Leeds check to see if there is a similar store or even hairdressers near you.It does come in a plastic tub though.

Wether bought on line or locally there will be some plastic packaging either a bag or a tub. As I get huge amounts of product from one tub or bag I consider it a worthwhile compromise as it still represents a huge decrease in plastic consumption.

We Made

Body butter


See a full range of homemade #plasticfree personal care products here 


The Hut

Polish deli on Wood street, Huddersfield. Sells  cheese, salami, bacon, gherkins, bread and cakes and sweets sold  #unpackaged

N.B. The cheese is in large blocks wrapped in plastic. The piece they cut off is plastic free. – You can find more cheese here

The gherkins are  in a bucket and you help yourself. Was absolutely thrilled to find the latter. I love gherkins and I sometimes I buy them in glass jars. The jars have metal lids which are of course plastic lined so I have to count it as one of my guilty pleasures. I thought I had found a solution. Sadly I didn’t like the taste of them. Sigh.

The sweets are loose but wrapped in plastic or foil.

The butter looks like it is wrapped in paper. It is not! It is wrapped in plastic.

You have to take your own plastic free packaging. I took biobags. 

08 Other bags - 2


T towns for loose food

Find refill stores in

Find towns beginning with w different letterhere …

What Are Refill Stores?

Bulk buy or refill stores are places you can buy food loose.You take as much as you want/need from a larger container and you can usually use your own packaging.


While these shops provide bags and they are almost always plastic ones. You will need to take your own plastic-free /reusable bags, tubs and bottles.


The weight of the container may make a difference at checkout. Some shops  subtract the tare weight but other don’t. The tare weight is the weight of the empty container.


Reaper @ReapersTiverton
18 Bampton Street, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 6AA 01884 255310


The Uk’s only Zero Waste, organic, bulk-buy, plant-based, wholefoods shop. Visit our family-run shop in Totnes, Devon.


The Market
Local markets are a great place to find plastic free food and I love Todmorden Market. There is an indoor covered  hall and outdoor stalls. You can get everything you need and some fantastic treats including loose
Coffee beans and tea
Tobacco for pipes.
There is a great hardware stall that sells loose screws, grass seed by weight and cotton boot laces

Biscuits The same as those in Huddersfield Market. You can read more here.

  • Hooks
  • Olives
  • CHEESE!!!!
    Opening Times
    Indoor Market
    Monday to Saturday (half day closing Tuesday)
    9.00am to 5.30pm
    Open Air Market
    Wednesday, Friday, Saturday – General retail.
    Thursday – Second hand.
    Sunday – General retail and second-hand.
    9.00am to 4.00pm
    You can even shop online for selected goods from the market and get them delivered direct to your door.
    Address: Todmorden Market, Burnley Road, Todmorden OL14 5DJ
    Telephone: 01706 819731
    Todmorden Market WebsiteYou can see a some of the stalls listed here

    Todmorden Shops

    The Bear Co-op

    Does olive oil refills

    The Wholefood Shop 

    Cover refills – read more about this washing up liquid and other refills here. And find a refill point near you here.


    Sometimes supermarkets can surprise you – check out the plastic-free and reduced packaging products here.

    Help Me

    Please add any shops you know of in the comments below and I will incorporate them into the post.
    Links to reviews particularly welcome.
    Dont have a blog? Love guest posts…


    You can find a list of all other plastic free products over at the A to Z

    You can find other loose food outlets here …

  • Drinking chocolate

    Plastic free July  beverages include  the rather luxurious real drinking chocolate. I have long been on a quest to source plastic-free cocoa. It has not been going well. Morrisons let me down and then there was my mothers disappointing cardboard box. I was nearly there  in  Whitby but had to leave  before it happened. If you want to know more you can catch up here….

    Well Todmorden Market once again come up trumps. The deli stall sells real drinking chocolate wrapped in paper and foil. You buy it in bars, bash it into bits and melt it in hot water or milk, (or my personal fave half / half mix), to make drinking chocolate. Or you can chuck a chunk in a shot of espresso in to make a funky, monkey mocha. It tastes good but there is a downside – it  is not cheap and you can’t use it to make chocolate cake!


    Tea & Coffee Merchants

    Since the bad news about Twinings tea bag (compostable packaging but tea bag part plastic), I have been drinking loose tea or rather cake tea which we bought in Malaysia, wrapped only in tissue paper. But one tea can never be enough! And Malaysia is rather too far to go for some tea – think of the air miles! So we are putting together a list of loose tea merchants.

    You will need to take your own bags

    New Boys


    The Teapot has  coffee beans and leaf tea from all round the world. Really lovely stall in the food hall. Also makes coffee to drink. See what else the market has to offer, here.


    We’re a micro coffee roastery based in Nottingham. We roast all of our coffee in very small batches to order. Our environmental and ethical values guide us in how we run our business. We have a zero waste to landfill policy informs our purchasing decisions and use only 100% recycled and recyclable paper packaging and labels for our coffee. At events when serving hot coffee, we use both ceramic reusable cups and fully compostable takeaway cups.


    Coffee Evolution
    Coffee beans from the superlative Coffeevolution  our independent coffee shop. The boys there import their own fair trade beans and roast them themselves. I give them my own bag they give me fresh beans

    Lancaster tea merchants I promised I would tell you the name of the Lancaster tea merchants where I got loose tea last summer. Also loose coffee. The shop has been there years – I used it back in the early 70s. Lyn Bull x

    Nitty Gritty Wholefoods  do loose spices and tea.

    Loose tea can also be found on Todmorden Market.

    WHole Food Market have branches in London, Cheltenham and Glasgow  Tea & Coffee beans and are happy for you to use your own bag.

    CHeck out the stores on the refill food list as they may stock one or the other

    Refill Food shops A to Z

    Find out if a shop near you sells bulk food loose. This is stuff that that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt. And yes these shops do exist in the U.K. There’s just not many of them.

    Heres a list of towns with shops selling loose food.

    Bags & Packaging

    Shopping plastic free means taking your  OWN PACKAGING. Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

    Help Me

    I will be researching  other plastic- free, loose teas available in the UK . If you know of any please do leave a comment.


    How to make plastic-free tea – it’s all in the tea balls

    Need a splash of milk – you need to get yourself a milk man who delivers milk in glass bottles (details here)  and possibly a milk jug!



    Of course you can get beer in bottles but those metal caps have a plastic liner or small disc to prevent leakage. It’s a tiny amount but it is plastic.
    Cans of beer  are plastic lined!
    The only way to get plastic free booze is to use a refill service. Take your own flagon to the alehouse and get them to fill it. These are the ones I know of


    The Sportsman Huddersfield  will sell you your own reusable flagon. Yes its plastic but it will last you a good long time.
    The Grove
    The Head Of Steam ( also sells plastic flagons)
    All sell great real ales and very reasonable priced. 

    Magic Rock sell metal reusable flagons. Very stylish! Also sells  great real ales but they are more expensive.

    If anyone else knows of other beer refill options please leave a comment below… many thanks.


    Hi Kate, I have been out and about in Kentish Town again  A review of Clapton Craft – refill beers and wines.

    You can find other plastic free beverages here…



    My plastic boycott started because I didn’t like the impact plastic packaging had on the environment – as I learnt more, I began to worry about the impact it might be having on me.Plastic contains phthalates which are (possibly) carcinogenic and cause the feminization of male animals exposed to them. They are found in the stuff used to wrap meats and cheeses.

    Bisphenol A is known to cause neurological and hormonal damage to lab animals. This is found in plastic food and drinks containers. There are indications that these chemicals can leach into the plastic wrapped products.

    Two good reasons then to reject plastic wrapped products but it’s not easy and means going without all manner of foodstuffs. So while the sensible part of me, (the part that wanted my hormones undamaged), said stick with it, the greedy me was lusting after a piece of phthalate ridden cheese.

    You will need to take your own packaging! Paper or biobags work best for cheese.


    Hurrah then for Huddersfield Queensgate permanent market where I recently discovered stalls that sell loose cheese. It is not entirely plastic free – the large cheeses are packed in plastic and covered with Clingfilm but it is better than individually wrapped pieces – to my mind at least!

    I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided. The market traders humour me and that’s another of the joys of shopping locally.

    Same with the Polish Deli on Wood Street


    I have done this is Tescos and other supermarkets. Again not entirely plastic free as the large block comes plastic wrapped.I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided.

    Wholefoods in Cheltenham sell loose cheese but in their other stores it is wrapped.I take my own packaging and ask that it be used instead of the plastic bags provided.

    Artisan Cheeses – almost always completely plastic free!!!!

    Every so often you come across a cheese maker. Hurrah. Pricey but good!


    If you live near Bideford, get yourself down to the farmers market held on the harbour on Saturdays. There is a cheese stall that sells proper home-made, unpackaged cheese. It’s good, really good! Remember to take your own bags….


    Gemma, Darren & Ian can be found at Whitney Market selling their unwrapped and totally delicious cheeses. They also have a website 

    Monkland Herefordshire

    You can cheese from the working diary or go one step further and learn how to make it yourself! Here’s the website

    Utracomida Aberystwyth restaurant and delicatessen

    Located a stone’s throw from the sea on Pier Street – our Aberystwyth deli and restaurant offers a wonderful selection of artisan food and drink.And wonderful cheese. Here are the details


    Peapod Grocery – Fruit, veggies, fish & jam!

    In between the blustery walk to the post office and putting the stew on, I need a break; a cup of tea and some bread & jam  would see me through  as supplied by the fantastic Peapod Grocers, Marsh Huddersfield

    Peeped do

    • lovely fresh and mostly unwrapped fruit and veg (they supply paper bags),
    • Vegeboxes delivered to your door
    • artisan bread of all kinds. Very tasty!
    • home made jam
    • Fish(take your own biobag)


    The jam is homemade and  comes in glass jars with metal, plastic-lined lids. So some plastic. But get this…. you can return the jars. They get reused! Plastic reused is not rubbish plastic.

    Plastic Notes

    After years of dealing with me they are quite used to plastic free requests!