As I was doing some research as to which physical eco shops were in Hertfordshire, I came across Replenish Refill Store based in Hertford that has just opened in February this year.
Being any business is hard at the moment for obvious reasons with Covid-19, but it’s amazing to see stores diversify quickly either in the products they offer or the way they operate. Replenish Refill Store is no different, now offering a click and collect service for the local community. Read all about how they got set up, the products they stock and more below, from Emma the owner of Replenish Refill Store.
1. Refill stores are all the craze at the moment. I feel they are getting more of the attention they deserve! What made you set up shop?
I work in Letchworth, I visited Bamboo Turtle there and was inspired, it made so much sense shopping in a refill shop. When I started talking to friends they also said they would like to shop in a way that would enable them to reduce their waste. The only other shop was The Refill Pantry in St Albans, both quite a way from Hertford. I explored the idea of having a refill stall on Hertford market. Then Vic Hobson from Mudlarks Cafe asked me whether a refill shop within the cafe could work.
2. Hertford is a great town to live in. Have you always lived locally to here?
Yes, I was actually born in Hertford, and have lived in the local area all of my life. My ancestors have lived around Hertford and Ware for 250 years.
3. How do you decide which products to stock in your shop?
The food stock was easy, I considered what people usually have in their store cupboards. The non-food items are all eco friendly, sustainable and are in plastic free packaging. All products have been tried and tested by family and friends.
4. What are the top sustainable products you’d recommend we try?
I love Beeswax wraps – such a simple way of totally excluding cling film. Swapping your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one is also so easy to do. Refilling your plastic bottles you use for cleaning, laundry and personal care can quickly help reduce your waste. Many food packing is not even recyclable so by refilling on dried goods like pasta can really help stop single use plastic going to landfill.
5. Refilling is an unknown concept to many still. What advice would you give to a newbie looking to come in and shop with you for the first time?
I advise people to come in have a look at what we stock, take pictures to remind them of what we sell. Maybe try swapping products one at a time, or maybe take one room at a time to swap in more eco-friendly products.
6. If we have an impulse buy, do you have any containers in your shop for us to take home?
We have paper bags, cotton produce bags to purchase that can be reused and a container library, people donate containers, we cleanses and sterilise them and then customers can borrow them to take produce home in.
7. Do you follow sustainable living practices in your home too?
I try really hard to be as sustainable as possible by using products that are eco-friendly, not wrapped in single use plastic, refilling and reducing waste going in to landfill. If everyone could change one habit, on a global scale it could make a massive difference.
8. For someone looking to start living sustainably, where would you recommend they begin?
Start refilling, fill up as your bottles become empty, you don’t have to swap everything at the same time. The great thing about refilling is that you can try a little bit of a new product to see if it suits you. You can buy as much or as little as you like.
9. Finally, we hope you’re surviving the lockdown! Are you managing to adapt to the changing times?
For now we are running a click and collect service as the shop is closed at the moment due to Covid-19, we have a order form that can be downloaded from our website, alternatively you can email a list of your shopping to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will then contact you with collection and payment details. We will be moving to a new premises in the next couple of months with Mudlarks Cafe. We will be on the ground floor which will make the shop more accessible for customers. See more information here.
Brilliant you’re moving to a more accessible location – excited to see your new store and hopefully once you’re back up and running we will be in to see you and all your lovely products soon. Best of luck with it all Emma!