Updated: Oct 28
<< Local refill shops are an inspiration to Climate Action Newcastle members! Our previous blog and map (LINK HERE) celebrates increased numbers and shares our members' tips on the pleasure of discovering planet-friendly products and avoiding packaging.
To mark World Refill Day 2022, we asked our local Refill pioneer shops what’s changed and what’s in prospect for the future. >
SOMETHING GOOD (link here) – Lauren Wedderburn told CAN:
"The power of our own everyday actions shouldn't be underestimated when it comes to making positive change"
Biggest developments? – We’ve been able to welcome everyone back into our space to do their own refills after the pandemic – we’re so happy about this! – while still offering our popular delivery and click + collect services. We’ve also been able to host pop-up shops and meet-the-maker events (with some exciting workshops planned for later in the year).
What’s been most popular? – Our best-selling products are always our amazing range of refillable cleaning products. They work great, smell great, and are supplied by another independent family company via a totally circular supply chain. Other favourites on tap are barista-grade oat milk, organic tahini and Canadian maple syrup!
Planned improvements? – We’ve got some exciting refill collaborations with other local businesses lined up for summer ’22, including kombucha and (hopefully!) … vegan gelato! We’re also very aware of the increase in the cost of living, so we’re working hard to help our community save money while also saving single-use packaging waste.
Requests from policymakers? – In an ideal world, policy makers would simply ban all single use packaging and make refill the norm, but the system is too complicated, it just won’t happen.
Hopes, broader predictions for the sector: Refill Is the future! The small independent brands are blazing the trail and showing It’s possible to do things differently, and it won’t be long until the big brands and corporations follow suit if consumers demand change by voting with their money.
NIL LIVING (link here) – Anthony Pilman and Jessica Clarke told CAN:
Biggest developments? – The benefits of bulk buy are increasing for refill shoppers. We now have 100-litre containers for household cleaners – they’ve got better dispensers as well, to make it easier to refill without any spillage.
Reducing waste? – The discount shelf has been added – it’s all part of reducing waste and helping people to understand more about “best before” and “use by” labels so they don’t waste perfectly good food. There’s usually good staples, like passata, beans or soups, non-dairy milks. The discounts run from 25% up to 50% - we just cover our costs (after all, we’d donate them otherwise rather than waste anything).
Innovation? – Product ranges are getting better - we've been looking for sun cream for ages and have finally found a supplier!
Planned improvements? – We’re looking forward to reintroducing people collecting their own food – we just wanted to get a really smooth weighing and till operation first. But we’ll keep the other options like being able to do a bag drop, for us to fill it while you do other things for an hour or so.
What’s been most popular? – Ernie has been open for just over a year now and have been able to see clearly what people come to us for – most people come to us for treats – for the high day and holiday stuff! We won’t change our policy on stocking great quality organic veg, mainly from the UK and re-fillable, but have a focus on treated such as chocolate-covered coffee beans, chocolate honeycomb, yogurt cranberries, caramelised ginger, chilli crackers, spicy broad beans etc.
Planned improvements? – We continue to sell our refillable herbs, spices and seasoning mixes – with a plan to add more including matcha, cacao and turmeric and we are also currently sourcing refillable natural wines.
New products? - Our refillable household and personal products are to be joined by a new supplier who offers interesting cleaning powders. You can see more info on the link below. I used a sample at home, it was scented with Clary Sage and was a great way to clean my bath whilst enjoying a lovely smell rather than the bleach I have had to use at times in the past to get rid of the tide mark! I look forward to finding may more jobs in my home that I can tackle with this wonder stuff! https://www.fillrefill.co/product/scrub-powder-5kg-bag/
NEWS ON NEWCOMERS!
There are even more Refill Shops popping up around Newcastle’s boundaries – here are some newcomers mentioned by our members:
Eco Morpeth: https://www.ecomorpeth.co.uk/ - expanding and moving to new premises right now! - we’ll add links for The Market Place as soon as their exciting move is completed
All Good in the Hood, Monkseaton: we've heard great reports! https://allgoodinthehooduk.wpcomstaging.com/
Replenish By The Bay, Whitley Bay: https://replenishbythebay.com/
Alternative Stores at the Royal Quays Outlet Centre, North Shields, NE29 6DW. They have refills for household cleaning items and toiletries. https://alternativestores.com/pages/our-newcastle-upon-tyne-store. Scroll down the link a bit for info and prices.