This week I thought I’d delve into one of our refill store shops recently added to the zero waste directory. Kelly Wright, the owner and founder of The Refillery in Newington Edinburgh In their first 10 weeks customers have saved 18,320 pieces of plastic packaging by choosing to refill!
That’s incredible and a great achievement. “Either plastic wins or we do” says Kelly.
The Refillery is certainly customer lead, feedback increases the product range and helps to improve their shopping experience and gives a feeling of community.
Here are some lessons learned by Kelly after 4 weeks of the store’s launch…
Lesson one: There is no typical plastic free shopper
The most positive and motivating thing for me has been the wide range of people that are actively seeking to reduce their plastic consumption. There is no typical shopper. This is a grocery shopping revolution and it’s being embraced by a diverse range of people of all ages, backgrounds and budgets.
Lesson two: You can refill in anything!
I’m collecting images of all of the unique things that people bring in to refill into. I also get asked a lot if you are allowed to bring your own jars. Definitely! we actively encourage this as it’s part of the reuse culture we are trying to promote. Don’t worry if you forget though, we have paper bags and jars at the store.
Lesson three: It’s better value than you thought
If I had a pound for every time a customer has said at the checkout “is that all!” I would be taking the team out for dinner. Buying plastic free is much better value as you don’t pay for packaging and you only buy what you need. Most of our stock is organic so it’s more expensive than conventional products but you can buy less to offset the cost. Spices in particular are great value as the cost of packaging is high compared how much you are actually buying.
Lesson four: There is still a fear of getting it wrong
There is still a lot of fear and intimidation as for many this is such a new way of shopping. Sometimes it’s the fear of dispensing too much or maybe spilling something. There is nothing to fear. If you overfill you can tell us and we can put it safely back into the dispenser. If you spill something we will clean it up – it’s not a problem. We have lots of people come into the store to ‘check it out’. I guess they are getting familiar with how it works before they come back. This is a great way to prepare and if you are still a little nervous ask a member of staff to show you how it’s done so that next time you are prepared and confident.
Kelly continues to be so inspired by all of their customers no matter what stage of the plastic free journey they are on. What she does know is that people want this and we will continue to work hard to deliver the best range, affordable prices and a great experience
You can find The Refillery listing here