Refill shop

Action: Use refills

Cost of taking action: Saves money!

Buying refills is one of the easiest ways to follow the main definition of a circular economy – to reuse.

We can eliminate single-use plastic from our lives, and indeed lots of other type of packaging too, by visiting a refillery. Refilleries provide products in bulk – you simply top up your own reused containers – and are popping up all over the UK and across many other countries too. Check it out where you are at or use any other search tool, the key words are “zero waste shop”.

Here’s a link to a great example, please check it out for ideas – or even visit if you are in Rugby in the UK!

Rugby Unwrapped
Click the image to learn more …

What to do

  • make your shopping list. At most refilleries you can buy a wide range – foods such as pasta, rice, flour, pulses, dried fruits, porridge oats, oils, vinegar, dried herbs, tea, and coffee, as well as cleaning products and cosmetics. Often there are fresh fruits and veggies on offer too, and glass bottled milk.
  • have a little search around your house and gather up a set of containers in which you can transport and store purchased products in. These can be anything –  plastic bottles, boxes, jars or bags. If you can’t find anything don’t worry – there’s usually a bank of jars available at the store where you can just help yourself. Maybe next time just take along an extra jar to leave for others.
  • at the shop you’ll find scales where you weigh your empty container and mark it with the result. Then fill it with the product and that’s you ready for check out – the cashier will deduct the weight of the container from the total so you’ll pay for the product only.
  • think about how many plastic bottles and other packaging you just saved and the local business you just supported. Bear in mind that this kind of shop often take their containers back to re-fill them again for the next delivery so the loop is secured from their side too.

Why is this a good idea?

This kind of shopping is very kind to our environment. Buying using refills:

  • eliminates single use packaging from our lives (especially plastics)
  • supports the circular economy
  • keeps resources in use for as long as possible by customers and suppliers
  • helps to reduce CO2 emissions because supply comes from local business
  • means goods are not usually imported from overseas, unlike in the supermarkets
  • reduces waste because you only buy as much as you need
  • for the same reason, saves you money
  • supports local businesses, often local farmers for example
  • allows you to shop in a friendlier atmosphere
  • encourages community interaction

This article is based on one originally contributed by Barbara Wysocka at 365 Actions: @yourwastefreehome

Take action

Please check to see if there is a refillery near you, and commit to trying it out.

If you haven’t done so already, please sign up to our bulletin “Take Action” using the form below, and thank you for your support.

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