October 1, 2020, by sustainablenottingham

Portland Zero is back in business

The University of Nottingham’s exciting new zero-waste shop ‘Portland Zero’ opened in March 2020, offering a range of goods that are completely free from single-use plastic packaging. Within weeks they went into lockdown, but the store lived up to its name and had zero produce go to waste during the pandemic. The Portland Zero team explain more. 


Phew! And we’re back! Portland Zero has officially returned for the academic year with new opening times of 10am-4pm every weekday. We’re so excited to be up and running again post lockdown and welcoming Nottingham students and residents back through our doors.

What was it like having to close during lockdown having just opened in March?

So tough!! Whilst to many the store seemed to have appeared overnight, it took many months of planning and co-ordination by 2019-2020s Environment and Social Justice Officer Lee Taylor and his team. It seemed we had only just opened our doors when we unfortunelty had to close them due to the UK lockdown. Our team weren’t discouraged though, and knew we’d do everything we could to get the store up and running again once it was safe to do so.

One of the best things about Portland Zero is that all our perishable products are contained within airtight containers meaning we can maintain their quality and freshness to the best standard. This meant that all our products were able to be preserved through the entirety of lockdown!

What preparations did you make before re-opening again in September?

Well for starters the entire store was given a thorough deep clean. We wanted our customers to be assured that their safety and security is our number one priority here (aside from reducing waste of course). This meant every cabinet, surface, handle and pump were all cleaned and disinfected. Where products were empty, product dispensers were removed and washed ready for fresh produce and a cleaning plan was established to ensure the store maintains its cleanliness throughout the academic year.

We of course are always trying to reduce waste here at Portland Zero, and this even includes when products go out of date. Only 3 of our products reached their expiry date over the lockdown period, and these were all disposed of in the most waste-less ways possible! Our organic hazelnuts for instance were given away to local staff, students and residents for use in squirrel feeders! We heard they went nuts for them!

So what’s changed in? Something must have right?

Bring your own containers and stock up on spices

Well yes and no. While you can still find us in the same location in Portland building Floor B, and still with incredible products and prices, things in store will be running a bit differently for the foreseeable future. For starters, we’ve implemented a two customer limit in store at any time. This means that you may have to wait outside in our new queuing system at busy hours. Upon entering, you’ll also see a new one-way system along with a hand sanitising station, which our friendly staff will ask you to use. Once inside, you may notice our staff hovering around, don’t worry! We’re just checking which stations and product dispensers you use, this way we can clean them once you’re finished so they’re ready and sanitised for the next customer.

How can customers find out even more about Portland Zero?

Follow us on our socials! @portland.zero on Instagram you’ll find a full list of our products and prices PLUS we run exclusive competitions and are constantly posting new content to update you on what’s going on in store, so don’t miss out! Have any questions of your own? Send us a DM and one of our friendly staff will be sure to reply during store hours. Help us to reduce waste in Nottingham by bringing your own reusable containers and be a part of the community creating a sustainable future.

We can’t wait to see you soon!

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