Sustainable Shopping in Nairobi

Kenyans, and especially those living in Nairobi, are becoming increasing aware of the benefits of sustainable living.

In fact, 57% of recent respondents in a survey indicated that they prefer to spend MORE on sustainable products than spending LESS on unsustainable ones.

While sustainable living has a place in just about every aspect of your life there is one area that is becoming a top priority – shopping. In order to lead a truly sustainable life you need to be extremely conscious of your shopping habits.

Although only shopping at zero-waste shops is ideal, it is not always possible. Thankfully, there are a number of places in and around Nairobi that offer a significantly more sustainable shopping experience than most other outlets.

Seek out supermarkets with sustainable sections

A number of supermarkets and other retail outlets in Nairobi are aiming to appeal to a more diverse market by offering sustainable products to their clients. Tuskys Supermarket added a designated wholegrain section to their stores that is filled with cereals and grains that are both packed and measured on-site. Instead of buying pre-packed beans, flour, rice, and even spices, customers can make bring their own containers or purchase paper bags which results in almost zero wastage. Healthy-U has a similar initiative where customers can buy everything from healthy grains and seeds to pulses and nuts that are free from unnecessary plastic packaging. Another retail outlet that has gone plastic-free is Zucchini, which focuses solely on offering customers unpackaged fresh fruit in vegetables that are sourced both locally and abroad.

Shop at the local produce market markets

One way to engage in sustainable shopping is to shop at one of the many local markets situated in and around Nairobi. At the local produce markets you can pick up a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetables directly from the grower, cutting out the middleman completely. Most of the markets in the city, including the City Market, Ngara Market, Dagoretti Market, and the Kawangare Market also offer grains and cereals at a fraction of the cost of those typically found at large supermarkets. The Organic Farmers Market currently sports outlets at the Marula Studios in Karen, the New Muthaiga Shopping Mall Market, and the Two Rivers Shopping Mall. It aims to bring farmers and other food producers together while encouraging a healthier, more sustainable way of living.

Visit the Rosslyn Riviera  

The Rosslyn Riviera is Kenya’s very first eco-friendly neighbourhood mall that is built according to global ‘green’ building standards. Situated in the upmarket suburb of Rosslyn near the United Nations offices, the Rosslyn effortlessly combines top-class design with an inviting natural setting. Although not every outlet at the mall offers a sustainable shopping experience, visitors can be rest assured that the mall itself is conducive of a culture of responsible shopping in what can only be described as a green, clean environment. Spread over 116,000 square feet, the mall boasts a range of shopping, dining , entertainment, health, and wellness outlets including popular names such as Cape Foods, Java House, Goodlife Pharmacy, and Blume. 

Shop online at LilaBare 

If you are looking for 100% sustainable fashion items look no further than the LilaBare online boutique that has its roots in the heart of Nairobi. With a motto that reads ‘Made for the Mindful’, it is not surprising that the proudly-Kenyan boutique aims to design beautiful and functional clothing that benefit the makers as much as it does the wearers. All textiles are sourced from manufacturing excess to ensure that no unnecessary waste ends up on the country’s landfills. At present, the company’s average percentage of wasted fabric per collection is less than three percent, making it a truly sustainable entity and one well-worth supporting.

As consumers there are a lot of seemingly small things we can do to make our shopping experiences more sustainable. Apart from seeking out sustainable suppliers we can also refrain from buying products with excess packaging and remember to take our own shopping bags along when going to the supermarket.

Ph: Aleksandar Todorovic 

Justine Bishop
Justine Bishop
I am Justine Bishop, a passionate and creative freelance writer, coffee addict, and cat lover from Cape Town, South Africa. When I am not delivering copy for my clients, I can be found digging for crabs on the beach, watching Grey's Anatomy reruns, or exploring the phenomenal city I call home.
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