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The Refillery: The Refill Shop On A Mission To Cut Plastic Waste

The Refillery: The Refill Shop Combating Plastic Waste
Bronagh Loughlin

Bronagh Loughlin

Refill shop experts ‘The Refillery’ are on a mission to cut plastic waste for good. Their plastic-free grocery stores are the start of a solution that could combat plastic pollution and protect our environment long-term.

Introduction

The Refillery is a plastic-free, ethical refill shop that encourages and assists people in moving toward a more minimalist lifestyle. They sell a wide range of products, from personal care items to groceries, accessories, household cleaning, and more. 

The team are committed to providing people with easy solutions to reduce their plastic waste and lower their carbon footprint. They have recently added to their sustainability efforts by partnering with us at One Tribe to protect rainforests. 

Continue reading as we share The Refillery’s brand story and what they are doing to make a difference and support a more sustainable world.

About The Refillery

The Refillery refill store
photo credit: The Refillery

The Refillery was established in 2019 by Kelly Wright with the vision to help as many people as possible to transition towards a less wasteful lifestyle. Kelly set out to achieve her mission by reinventing the local grocery store and creating an all-inclusive shopping experience which has less of an impact on the planet. 

Refill shops in themselves educate people about the importance of adopting a zero-waste lifestyle. They provide solutions for people who are trying to reduce the amount of waste they generate by limiting the use of wasteful materials like plastic. 

The Refillery is essentially a one-stop-shop for all your plastic-free needs with the added bonus of a high selection of sustainably approved goods. Customers simply visit the refill shop with their own jars and bags and fill them with the items they need. Then, they weigh them and pay, using zero plastic. This makes a huge difference considering UK supermarkets use 114 billion pieces of single-use plastic a year.

The Refillery sells everything from health and beauty, grocery products, accessories and gifts, fresh produce, cleaning products, supplements, freshly made plant milk, and organic nut butter. And that’s not all; The Refillery continuously enhances their product offering, so that consumers are never left needing something they could find easier elsewhere.  

One of their products that is due to come soon is meal kits for two. Their three stores are situated in Edinburgh, but they also operate online to make their accessibility easier for customers.

The Refillery’s product range alone includes more than 1300 products, and the team’s mission is to make plastic-free, ethically sourced products easily accessible to everyone.

How Does The Refillery Work?

Person weighing jar at The Refillery refill shop
photo credit: The Refillery

The concept of the refill store is that customers go in with their own packaging/containers and fill them up with the groceries and other store items they need. Using the dispensers, customers fill up their jars with what they need and pay by the weight.

Customers can bring their own jars as well as purchase jars or paper bags from The Refillery shop to curb their plastic usage. The aim is that customers return regularly to refill their groceries and get into the habit of using plastic free shopping goods.

Customers simply weigh their container once they have filled it up, and the scales print a barcode that has the exact weight of their container, and they pay at the till. This barcode can be used again, so they do not need to reweigh it the next time they come in. 

If they are using paper bags, they simply skip the first step and follow the remaining steps to get the amount of weight. When it comes to liquids, they are not weighed. Instead, the staff go by the number of millilitres in the bottle unless it does not have an ml indicator which means they will calculate the volume inside the container instead. 

Making this the norm for customers is what can curb the waste problem contributing to climate change. Refillery , consumers are still able to shop a multitude of groceries- just without  the unnecessary plastic.

What The Refillery Are Doing To Be Sustainable

The Refillery is dedicated to helping people adopt zero-waste lifestyles in conjunction with  sustainability.

In addition, they are championing what they preach by implementing an array of practices within their business that makes them  leaders in sustainability.

Ensuring all products are ethically sourced

Ethical products at the Refillery refill shops
photo credit: The Refillery

The Refillery ensures that all their products are sourced ethically, which is an essential aspect of sustainability. They care about doing right by the planet, people and animals. 

Their refill shop works with selected key wholesalers with strict policies on who they work with. Each of their products has a specification so that they can easily check the authenticity of the origin and the standard. 

For the products they source directly that are produced outside of the UK, they request an ethical audit certificate to ensure the product has been created ethically with consideration for people, place and planet. The Refillery do not stock products without this and does not advocate any kind of greenwashing. 

Even if products claim to be eco-friendly, they still conduct thorough checks to discourage unsocial and non-environmental practices. Slave labour, poor working conditions, and child labour are ever-present, and all issues that constitute the products we shop in our stores today. In addition, they are committed to cutting plastic waste. 

Working to reduce plastic waste

refill shop
photo credit: The Refillery

The Refillery is doing a lot to curb its use of plastic and educate and encourage its customers to do the same. Naturally, their refill stations are a big part of it, and so is their product range, which is free from plastic.

The refill movement has seen significant growth, with tonnes of refill stores popping up to help curb our reliance on plastic. 74% of consumers are now willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, with most looking to reduce their impact and live a minimal waste lifestyle. 

In addition to these efforts, The Refillery also ensures that they cut out plastics in other areas beyond the products. All of the waste in their refill store is sorted into paper, cards, plastic, tin, food, and general waste. Their waste is then managed by a charity which recycles and disposes of it responsibly called Changeworks. 

Their general waste goes to energy incineration, so you can rest knowing none of The Refillery’s waste goes to landfill. They are also very transparent about the packaging materials they use that are not sustainable. This is an incredibly important area that sustainable brands need to acknowledge. The Refillery’s ability to be transparent is what distinguishes their refill shop from other brands. The team  is willing to show the areas in which they can make a significant impact. As well as showcasing the areas which need more attention in order to be climate positive. 

One area concerns their paper receipts and labels. Refillery paper labels and till receipts cannot be recycled at home but can be recycled with Changeworks. So, they encourage customers to always bring these back to the refill shop to ensure they are recycled. 

In addition to this, The Refillery is also very dedicated to educating people about the importance of reducing plastic waste. They do this by writing and sharing numerous blogs about how we can tackle the plastic issue and how our overconsumption fuels the problem. The refill store also shares lots of messaging on its social media platforms which emphasises the need for people to transition to these more minimal lifestyles. 

Partnership with One Tribe

the refillery refill shop x one tribe

The Refillery is an excellent example of a sustainable brand. They are implementing an array of sustainable practices and constantly looking for ways they can become even more environmentally friendly. One of their latest actions includes partnering with us at One Tribe to save rainforests, and we couldn’t be more delighted to have them working alongside us!! 

We at One Tribe couldn’t agree more that curbing plastic use and adopting a less wasteful lifestyle is key to fighting climate change. Our values and mission are so aligned that we are excited to bring about a positive impact together. The Refillery are providing people with a means to be proactively more sustainable and find great products that are ethical to people and the planet. 

Working with us at One Tribe, whenever customers spend over £25, the Refillery will be paying to save 100 square metres of rainforest, essentially protecting 25 trees from deforestation. 

In addition, their progress will be trackable in real-time, so we retain their value of  transparency. As the lungs of our planet, protecting rainforests is a natural solution to climate change and one we must take if we are to create a better, more sustainable world.

Summary

A lot of the waste in our homes comes from grocery stores, and we can limit this waste by shopping at refill stores such as The Refillery. We could make a significant difference to the planet if we all joined the refill movement and stopped bringing plastics into our homes. 

We absolutely need to tackle our plastic problem. Food and drink stores can truly pave the way by taking a no-plastic stand, as The Refillery has done. If you have a brand and want to help the planet, join our vibrant One Tribe community today and start making positive change!

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