The rise of the refill store
Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword right now, it’s the driving force behind a bevy of stylish new eco-conscious stores offering Essex consumers the chance to shop green – and skip the guilt.
Promising zero packaging and a plethora of green credentials, these high-street heroes deliver everything from organic cereals and artisan teas to skincare and superfoods – without a shred of plastic in sight. Here’s where to head for your shopping essentials (just don’t forget your containers and totes, people)…
This stylish, bijou refill store is all about serving up planet-friendly food and home solutions, with a range of products and services in place to ensure eating wholesome, veggie and vegan fare guilt-free is easier than ever. You can pop in for all your usual grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, loose teas and pasta, and be sure to let them know if you’re whipping up a particular recipe and know the exact (often slightly odd) quantities you’re looking for – staff will be happy to measure out that 227g you won’t find in a packet on the supermarket shelf. (Top tip: if you’re ordering online and opting for home delivery, round the measurements up and add your desired quantities in the comments section, instead – these green gurus will package up only what you need to ensure zero waste, then refund you the difference within four working hours. HEROES.) Also good: the store sells (and delivers) ready meals, home-cleaning products and delicious cafe dishes, such as smoked butter bean, tomato and basil vegan soup and a mouthwateringly good vegan banana and walnut loaf. What’s not to love?
Officially the county’s first zero-waste store, this rustic beauty in Elm Road, Leigh, oozes apothecary charm and encourages customers to bring their own containers to shop in-store. Don’t worry if you forget your tea caddy, though: staff have brown paper bags at the ready, plus plenty of reusable jars and bottles available to buy. The savvy owners have even adapted to online shopping and now offer plastic-free drops direct to your door or a click and collect service – all plastic-free, natch. We’re loving The Refill Room’s Liquid Love Hot Chocolate right now, but the store stocks everything from baking goods and grains to pasta and household cleaning products, so think of it as your one-stop pantry shop.
Chelmsfordians, say hello to Refill, which opened its doors on Bond Street last year. Offering a variety of ethical, local, organic and cruelty-free products, come armed with your own glass/refillable containers and/or cotton totes, then weigh your container before refilling. That way, once you weigh in again, you’ll only be charged for the goods you’ve stocked up on. Simples. Inspired by David Attenborough’s call to aims for a zero-waste society, we’re loving this forward-facing, family run gem.
Reuse, refill, restore: that’s REco’s motto and we’re sold. Situated in Tower Business Park, Tiptree, this eco shop was founded by two pals passionate about shopping package-free and reducing waste – and its selection of organic and low carbon-footprint goods will keep you coming back for more. From spices and seeds, to shampoo bars and soy candles, REco’s got all your basics, and beyond, covered. Handily, you can even drop your list (and containers/tote) off and nip back later when your shopping’s ready to pick up. Who says shopping greener isn’t convenient?
Other refill sites to check out across the county…
An Ethical Life has two stores for you: one in Hythe Quay and another in Brightlingsea. Based near Billericay? Hit The Sustainability Store in Summerhill Garden Centre. Meanwhile, Maldon’s movers and shakers can head to Silo in Bright’s Path (just off the high street) for all their waste-free wares.
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