Manchester’s students are embracing sustainable beauty with a zero-waste store

When they aren't busy revising, these students are volunteering to make sustainable beauty more accessible in Manchester.

Daisy Bradbury Daisy Bradbury - 6th December 2020

A group of students have set up a zero-waste store offering sustainable beauty solutions to the population of Manchester.

Located on The University of Manchester’s campus on Oxford Road, Want Not Waste is the city’s first student-run, plastic-free shop – selling a variety of ethical products that can be refilled, reused and recycled.

The aim of the project is to make ‘sustainable’ lifestyles more affordable and accessible for Mancunian students – as well as encouraging them to become environmentally conscious in their beauty routines.

A wide variety of eco toiletries are up for sale – including shampoo and conditioner bars from Manchester start-up Grüum, natural deodorants and handmade feminine hygiene products.

Want Not Waste even sell handmade soap made by a psychology student.

Want Not Waste

“We have a focus on local products and small businesses/student enterprises, which means our shelves are always changing as students come and go,” a spokesperson for the store stated.

“We’re not for profit, and this allows us to provide more accessible prices and support smaller businesses who may have higher up-front costs.”


Alongside sustainable beauty products, Want Not Waste also offers cosmetics recycling (to avoid these pesky products going into landfill) as well as dried goods, cleaning products, and a new line of upcycled clothing and jewellery from Junk to Funk.

“As part of Terracycle we accept any brand of makeup packaging that cannot go into kerbside recycling,” said the team.

“This includes flexible tubes, mascara wands, lipstick and concealer sticks, compacts, and face wipe packaging.”


Like everyone else, the Want Not Waste team have been forced to adapt during lockdown – hosting a variety of online workshops, upcycling events and even a blog to reach as many people as possible.

“For the most part, we’re just happy that the shop is surviving and thriving still in the pandemic, not just for the volunteers, but for the customers and our online community,” said the team.

“We’re planning some online events for the new year, including a potential collaboration with The Closet.”

Want Not Waste is based next to the University of Manchester’s Students Union on Oxford Road, M13 9PR.

You can keep up-to-date with their latest sustainable ventures via their Facebook page.