Today is Black Friday in the U.S, and while some of us here in the U.K enjoy finding bargains as we kick off the festive season, there’s no reason why the people of Bedford can’t enjoy a Green Christmas too! There’s many amazing shops and services in the town helping us to cut our carbon footprint; here are some of our favourites.
We can’t talk about reducing our plastic consumption without mentioning The Store, in St Cuthberts Arcade. Bedford’s first refill shop takes the packaging-free concept to a new level; bring your own containers and fill up with pasta, cereals, snacks, hair and cleaning products, and much more to see you through the season. Need ingredients for your Christmas pudding? Grab some dried fruit while you’re weighing out your sugar and flour. If you’re looking for a Christmas present for the plastic-free person in your life, check out their reusable products too!
Also offering zero-waste haircare and beauty products is Bathroomatic, based in the Victorian Arcade. All their products are vegan, and most are organic, ethically sourced or handmade too. They offer refills on hair products, so why not reuse a pretty bottle and fill it up with someone’s favourite shampoo as a gift?
Speaking of vegan, going plant-based is one of the most effective ways of reducing your impact on the planet and Green Earth Cafe on St Paul’s Square has a tasty lunch menu and a daily selection of plant-based cakes, and is also home to Made in Bedford which showcases local makers’ and artists’ products. Make sure to pop down to their Christmas Makers Market on 11th and 12th December on Harpur Square to bag some locally made gifts and treats.
Another place in Bedford to pick up eco-friendly Christmas gifts is the Eagle Bookshop on St Peter’s Street. Browse the second-hand books and buy a loved one a special edition of their favourite book. Who could resist that wrapped up in recycled brown paper and string?
To fuel the party season, head to Beerfly on St Cuthberts Street where you can fill up a half-gallon Growler (that’s a flagon to the uninitiated) from any of the beers on tap. Or hire a 50 pint party keg to really push the boat out. For a local brew, look no further than Brewpoint on Cut Throat Lane (behind Aldi) and for wine, Warden Abbey vineyard will be holding their annual Christmas wine sale on 5th December, at Shuttleworth House, Old Warden (why not make a day of it?).
One of the greenest ways of getting about is, of course, cycling, and if you’re looking for a gift for the two-wheeled-wonder in your life, there’s plenty at Flamme Rouge on Bromham Road to fill their stocking. Combine it with a coffee at their café while you’re there too. And if you’re looking to invest in a new bike they have a great range and “try before you buy” too.
Of course not all presents need to be a physical gift, and it can sometimes be a lot easier on the planet to give the gift of an experience instead. Consider booking an activity at local attractions like Bedford Escape Rooms, Ready Steady Roll board game café or a Canoe Trail session, buy a year’s membership to exclusive club 3 St Peters or go see a play at The Quarry Theatre or The Place. Treat your loved ones to a meal at any of Bedford’s diverse restaurants and cafes; see if they do gift vouchers or stick a get together in the diary for January and give yourselves something to look forward to after Christmas!