Edinburgh shoppers come round to idea of circular economy

The refill revolution is gathering momentum in Newington where the Capital’s largest plastic-free store celebrates its first anniversary this week.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 7:00 am
Many happy returnables: Refillery founder Kelly Wright, right, and her team celebrate the store’s birthday.

In the past year, customers of The Refillery are estimated to have saved almost 120,000 pieces of plastic by choosing to return with containers and refill.

Founder Kelly Wright is particularly pleased to see the shop becoming an established part of the community as it grows in popularity.

“Edinburgh has really embraced the refill revolution and Newington has proved to be a great location for us,” she says.

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“As consumers we all hold so much power – and it’s working. The popularity of plastic-free refill shops is growing, more businesses are embracing the circular economy model, governments are legislating for the reduction of single use plastics and more people are becoming conscious consumers.”

The Refillery sells a large range of wholefoods, oils, vinegars, household cleaning and personal care items, as well as seasonal organic fruit and vegetables, fresh organic eggs and locally baked fresh bread.

Always looking for ways to improve and develop, it now employs five people, has 70 suppliers, more than 800 products and around 1000 customers a week.

“While refilling our wholefoods is really easy, detergent filling isn’t always as slick, so we are working on ways to improve it,” adds Kelly, who worked in food manufacturing for two decades before opening the shop. “We also want to get our prices down as we know this is a barrier for a lot of people.”

Other plans include the introduction, in May, of a new delivery service, offering a basic range of everyday grocery items, supplied to customers across the UK in brown paper bags and taped boxes.

More immediately, the shop will be running a series of giveaways, offers and competitions on social media to thank regulars for their support of the shop and its vision.