Refill Larder

Refill Larder in Teddington High Street was one of the first entries in our Green Guide and just the sort of business we set it up to promote.  We interviewed the owner Kate Chesshyre.

What prompted you to set up your business?

I opened the Refill Larder in September 2018 having been frustrated by the lack of plastic-free, refill options in the local area. I had been inspired by the town of Penzance in Cornwall and the way many small businesses there had changed their methods to reduce the amount of waste and plastic they produce – so much so that they had been awarded as the first ‘coastal plastic-free town’ by Surfers Against Sewage.  They also had an old style scoop shop which got me thinking, along with other zero-waste shops opening in Totnes, Brighton and Bristol.

Please tell our readers about what your business offers/provides? 

Simply, the Refill Larder is an organic food shop where customers bring their own containers to fill.  Food is ethically sourced and we use trusted long standing cooperatives as well as smaller individual suppliers for every day essentials such as nuts, rice, herbs and spices as well as oils, chocolates and plastic-free snacks. We weigh the containers and then serve as much as the customers would like.  If shoppers do not have their own containers we also have paper bags to serve the dried items in – we do also sell cloth bags, kilner jars and glass bottles.  Our aim is to minimise waste both in our supply chain and for the consumer.  As well as organic dried food we have a large cleaning and bathroom refill section – with everything from washing up liquid to hand cream. Beyond refill we have a large selection of household items that are compostable or biodegradable which make for good alternatives to plastic in the home.  Examples include everything from beeswax wraps and reusable water bottles to hand made shampoo bars and toothpaste tablets.

What areas do you cover (including deliveries)?

The shop is on Teddington High Street and we deliver within a three mile radius of the shop.  We also do postal deliveries throughout the UK for the non-food or liquid items!

What are your plans for the future? 

I want to continue expanding the range within the store and improve the website for users. I would potentially like to open a second store when the time is right.

How do you see the future for similar types of business?

Independent refill shops are opening all over the country and I hope they become much more commonplace.  Pre-covid, supermarkets had invested in the idea and many were running trials, I hope more consumers eyes are opened to reducing waste and understanding the limitations on the recycling system currently.

Gaia Healthfoods

Gaia Wholefoods in St Margarets Road, near St Margarets is an old local favourite.  We talked to its owner/manager Dave Kennington.

Would you tell us a bit about the history of Gaia Wholefoods and how long you have been running it? 
I opened the shop in November 1983 with my partner. When I was a student I was involved in a lot of green activism and I was brought up in the countryside – the shop is an integration of all these things that mean something to me, the connectedness of all things. When I met my partner we agreed to start a shop together. We believed that organic agriculture was kinder to the planet and would better sustain a countryside that was pleasing and satisfying to visit, live in and work in.

Would you like to tell our readers more about what Gaia offers?
We sell wholefoods – very little is refined but you’ll find some tofu.  I’m not great at self-promotion but I do my utmost to stock products that are 95% vegan and without added sugar. 80% of our products are organic, including all of the vegetables which are supplied by a wholesaler we’ve worked with since opening – a small company based in Melton Mowbray, Leicester (who started out as the UK’s first manufacturer of tofu based in Archway, London in the 1970s). They source from British smallholdings who are well established soil association organic growers. We source our other products from as near as possible, the furthest being from France, Spain or Holland, and nothing is airfreighted.

The shop was set up to help make these types of food more available at a time when the idea of ‘healthy eating’ was not widespread.  Times have changed, and awareness of how agriculture affects the planet, and of how what we eat affects our wellbeing, has increased greatly.  Our shop helps make these choices clearer and simpler for those who are concerned.

What are your plans for the future?
We’ll continue the shop’s aim to sell foods and supplements that are useful for helping the body to maintain and care for itself as well as possible. I want customers and employees to feel nourished and feel wholesomeness.


Jeremy Boorer is a director of Teddington-based Green-Mopeds  which opened recently on the Broad Street side of the railway bridge.

What prompted you to set up Green-Mopeds?
Green-Mopeds was set up to help solve 3 challenges: a) Help in reducing the environmental impact of vehicles (2 wheeled vehicles typically omit 70% of the emissions of cars) b) Help in congestion concerns c) Reduction in moped and motorcycle theft (our bikes typically have removable batteries and are unrideable without them.)

Would you like to tell our readers more about what Green-Mopeds offers?
Green-Mopeds was formed in 2017 and provides the largest choice of electric mopeds, motorcycles and road-legal scooters in the UK. They are ideal for into and inner city commuting, business use such as delivery, and public sector use such as parking enforcement. All our models are 50cc and 125cc equivalent so can be ridden on a pre-2001 car license (50cc) or CBT + L-Plates. Ranges are typically from 30 to 90 miles on a single charge from removable lithium-ion batteries chargeable from a standard 13amp socket and have speeds up to 75mph. They have no road tax and are ULEZ and Congestion charge exempt. Prices start at approximately £1700 and are nearly all on the Government’s OZEV Grant scheme providing 3 year warranties on the batteries and 2 years on the bike and a 20% rebate to encourage take up. All the bikes we sell are reviewed on our YouTube channel.

What geographic area do you cover?
National and international – our furthest customer is in the Caribbean!

What are your hopes for the future?
We have plans to get investment and expand with more shops.

Mint Hair and Beauty

Mint Hair & Beauty in Church Street, Twickenham is a previous winner of Salon Business’ Green Salon of the Year.  We talked to owner Dan Benson.

What prompted you to green your Business?
The biggest prompt for us was that we had organised our home life to be as green as possible and the realisation that we were in the workplace just as much as we were at home. Mint is a family run business so why should we treat it any differently from our home? We have 12 team members and lots of guests walking through our doors every day – we thought if we made visible changes it would maybe make them think about making changes too.

We enlisted the help of the Happy Ocean Company who came and carried out an eco-audit on our business. The findings were reported back to us in one of our team. This was quite a turning point for the team to get on board with many thought-provoking facts that for once weren’t being delivered by their bosses. We came to the conclusion that if we all made small easy changes it could actually make a big difference.

What services do you offer?
We offer premium quality hair and beauty services using only the finest products including Oway products, a biodynamically farmed product range from Italy. We also offer a refill service on all of our shampoos which has proved to be incredibly popular.

Other products
As mentioned earlier it’s a family run business and over time we have bought eco-friendly products for ourselves and loved them so why not sell them in the salon. Here is our list of our favourites available in salon rated in popularity:
1 Boc n Roll sandwich wraps
2 Kutis Deodorant
3 Sandstone nail file
4 Oway washing up brush
5 Hydrophil Bamboo Toothbrushes
6 Cheeky reusable drinking straws
And lots more!

Plans for the future
Since winning the Green Salon of the Year award it’s opened up many doors with lots of other like-minded businesses wanting to work with us so keep your eyes out for new ranges coming in the new year including our first 100% Organic beauty range.

Strawberry Fill Station

Strawberry Fill Station is a new plastic free refill delivery service offering free local next day delivery in cotton bags and glass bottles. We talked to its founder, Louisa.

Louisa, congratulations on starting a sustainable business. What prompted you to set up Strawberry Fill Station?

I had always wanted to set up a business serving the local community. I’ve had various ideas in the past but this one stuck! It feels good doing something which can actually have a positive environmental impact. Our aim is for people to make small changes to help overcome one of our biggest global problems: plastic waste!

Would you like to tell our readers more about what Strawberry Fill Station offers?

We offer a plastic free, refill delivery service for your cupboard essentials and household goods. We deliver our products in reusable, eco-friendly cotton bags and refillable glass bottles. By using our services, you are cutting out single-use plastic altogether. Our customers just need to remember to return them when we redeliver. We take care of the rest – washing, refilling and redelivering for our next customer. As an online business our overheads are low, and we pass on those savings to our customers.

Which areas of the Borough you cover?

We cover all of Richmond Borough with free delivery. There is no minimum order for TW1 and TW2. For other Richmond postcodes, a £25.00 minimum spend applies. This allows us to focus on serving the immediate local community of Strawberry Hill and Twickenham, but also reaching people from further afield who share our values and are looking for organic produce without the unnecessary plastic waste.

What are your hopes for the future?

To significantly reduce plastic waste in our community. It is a simple and achievable ambition that helps us tackle one of the greatest threats to our planet!