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.