All over the UK, independent ‘refill shops’ have been popping up where you can bring your own storage containers, and refill them with everything from rice and pasta to flours, teas, spices, chocolate buttons and other dry food goods. You can top up your empty laundry liquid bottles, or hand soap and washing up liquid bottles too, and sometimes buy refills for drinks. The Chilterns area has its own are zero waste shops and businesses that have been popping up recently.
Zero waste shops help us to cut down our dependence on single-use plastics. They can also help cut food waste – when you are charged for what you buy by weight, you can choose to buy just a small amount of a food if that’s all you need – you just pay for what you buy.
Refill shops aren’t a new idea – you could say it’s a return to how people used to shop – but as more and more people become aware of the heavy cost of plastic production and disposal to the environment and wildlife, refill shops have sprung up to meet this new ethical shopping demand. Independent movements often influence the mainstream, and some supermarkets have followed suit – but small businesses often have the most diverse range, offering specialist ethically sourced products, and even ‘free from’ products for customers with special dietary needs.
Hot on the heels of COP26 (the United National Climate Change conference), we’ve compiled list of refill shops and businesses in the Chilterns. Walk in and you might catch a welcoming scent of spices, teas, dried fruit, breakfast cereals and soaps – and there’ll certainly be a friendly community atmosphere.