Reducing plastic at Ely Markets: together we can make a difference

Buying little and often from Ely Markets isn’t just convenient, it also reduces food waste and cuts down on plastic packaging. If we all make little changes to the way we shop, together it’s possible to make a big difference.

reducing plastic at ely markets

Change the way you shop

Susanne Stent of Silver Oak Coffee has been trading for five years and has noticed a huge change in peoples’ attitudes in that time. “At the beginning nobody asked us about the paper cups,” she explains. “About three years ago, around the time of the Blue Planet series on TV, we noticed a big change. Our customers started getting interested in our cups – what they’re made of and what happens to them afterwards. It was the start of a big change for us.”


 Unlike big supermarkets, our traders are flexible – if you fancy bringing your own bag or container for your vegetables, bread or cheese then that’s completely OK with us. Simply hand your bag or basket to the stallholder and they’ll be happy to pack your produce straight into it.

Silver Oak Coffee now offer discounts for customers who bring their own cups. “Our customers were totally up for the change,” Susanne explains. “If you bring your own cup, we’ll knock 10p off the price. Over the last 12 months we’ve give away 8721 discounts which means that we’ve saved nearly 9000 cups from going into landfill!”

Compostable and recyclable packaging

We know you can’t always remember to bring containers and cups with you, so we’re helping our traders source compostable and recyclable packaging where possible.

“Ely Markets have been very supportive of our move to fully compostable coffee cups and lids,” says Susanne of Silver Oak Coffee. “Our customers are happy with the change, and we’re also now able to offer a recycling service for our black coffee bags.”

Sophie Ellis of Sophie’s Cakes has also made the switch to cardboard packaging. “Some of my customers love bringing their own re-usable containers but treating yourself to a slice of cake is often a spur-of-the-moment thing!” says Sophie. “People love to know that the boxes I package my cakes in can be easily recycled.”

Hannah George of Oriolo Jewellery agrees. “I’m committed to using as little packaging as possible at my stall. I’ve stopped automatically offering bags to my customers, but I still make your purchases look pretty and special,” says Hannah. “I also offer repairs for everyday costume jewellery, helping you save your favourite pieces from going to landfill!”

We want everyone to get involved with our commitment to reducing plastic at Ely Markets. Here’s some simple ways you can help: 

  • Remember your shopping bags on market days
  • Buy your fruit and vegetables loose from our stalls
  • Invest in a bamboo coffee cup and some re-usable cutlery for street food
  • Swap plastic-wrapped bread for a simple loaf in a paper bag from our bread stalls
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