It’s amazing what’s on your doorstep

Filed in Blog by on July 22, 2010 12 Comments
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Refill your bottles here

Refill your bottles here

No, this isn’t a Yellow Pages rant. It’s much more positive than that!

You might remember I found a farm that would happily let us use our own reusable containers? I’ve been buying sliced meat, coleslaw and cheese from Over Farm whenever I go past the door now.

In Newent, one of our closest and favourite little towns, I was browsing Budgens (which I’m disheartened to see have removed their deli counter due to lack of financial success) when I spotted something rather exciting.

Mrs A found a similar deal in her local Holland and Barrett last month and it looks like this service has come to the market town of Newent!

We can now buy oil and vinegar in our own bottles! According to the notice, not only will they do the refill service, but they are delighted to do it.  Yipee!

I haven’t tried it out yet, but they do some rather delicious sounding oils; perfect for dipping crusty bread into for an al fresco summer lunch. All I need now is summer to give it a go!

What about you – refills are a great way to reduce waste and resources. What refill options are available locally to you?

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth’s fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Ben says:

    I’m fortunate to have an independent coffee shop that sells a huge selection and will refill my containers with ground coffee, which is very helpful as coffee usually comes in plastic-foil stuff that can’t be recycled anywhere. I’ve also noticed a company locally that refills various detergents for washing clothes, dishes and cleaning the house, so hope to try that out. My local market has a cheese stall too, which cuts and weighs for you, who will hopefully fill my boxes, but I need to investigate that too. I’ve been selling my glass jars and buying jam in refilled jars for some time now.

  2. LJayne says:

    We apparently have a health food shop nearish by that will refill Ecover containers. As zero waste isn’t always the top thing on my agenda, I have to work out the balance between having to drive there and the benefit of refills.

  3. Teresa says:

    I wish more shops would do this. I think it will come but it’s going to be very slow progress. Living in a small village I have the same dilemma as LJayne with balancing with the cost (actual and environmental) of driving the extra distance.

  4. Hooray for Over Farm! They also sell excellent net bags for the loose veggies etc in packs of 5, and they are SO useful!

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Ben: Wonderful about the coffee, Ben – that would be a dream come true for Mr G. Good luck with the cheese counter.
    @LJayne: Hi Lesley, yes I understand the ethics of this one. We have to do what is right for us.
    @Teresa: Hi Teresa, thanks for sharing your thoughts. We live in a village and I keep toying with the idea of doing an Ecover refill station from my porch! Just not sure if it would work out.
    @Michele Nicholls: Hi Michelle; welcome to the site and thanks for sharing a mention of Over Farm – glad to find they are helping you 🙂

  6. nick lewis says:

    Agree that to many hangers go to landfill so we have designed the worlds first carbon neutral multi size and multi use hanger to prevent so many hangers going to waste. see hanger4life.com

  7. Ben says:

    @Mrs Green: The coffee place is fantastic, but very much a local thing, like a lot of the best zero waste options around here. However, some shops still sell ground coffee in recyclable paper bags, including the chain Whittard of Chelsea. The recyclable packaging is great, but I also asked about refills at my local Whittard, and while the staff were extremely helpful and knowledgeable about coffee and tea, they were clearly puzzled that anyone was asking about packaging and didn’t take to the refill idea that well. It reminds me of the general response I used to get to reusing bags a few years ago. Staff in shops used to be surprised anyone would take a bag shopping! I always used to be the weird customer with Lidl bags in M&S.

  8. Ailbhe says:

    Our zero-waste coffee shop locally has started using Nazi symbols (the Nuremberg Eagle) as its logo so I no longer feel able to shop there. Which is a real pain; they definitely have the best coffee available locally, as well as being zero-waste.

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @nick lewis: Thanks for the link Nick and great news on setting up this company. I shall take a good look later.

    @Ben: I’ve noticed that too Ben – much of what I write about is probably irrelevant to readers because it’s so localised. Still, it is good to share news of these places doing wonderful things to support the zero waste movement. Funny how some companies take ages to catch on too and unfortunately highlights how little thought we give to things at times.

    @Ailbhe: What a strange thing to start doing, Ailbhe – have you asked them the significance of this?

  10. Ailbhe says:

    The staff refused to work with the swastika, so the Eagle it had to be.

  11. Jane says:

    Any ideas for reusable containers for hot food? On Fridays the boys in the office bring back spit-roast chicken in the dreaded polystyrene. Now I wouldn’t have a problem in taking my own box but how can I persuade them? And I wonder if anyone has tried at McDonald’s yet? Hmm

  12. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Hi Jane. A stainless steel tiffin would be ideal for hot food, but at a cost, I doubt someone who is not an enthusiast would participate.

    We went to a local takeaway once and he wanted to give us our food in a polystyrene box – I think it was a salad filled pitta, some fries and a burger or similar. We managed to get around the language barrier (they were Italian!) and get them to balance it all in a cardboard pizza takeaway box – they were most obliging even though it was a weird request.

    For fish and chips we ask for just paper and no polystyrene tray (taking a tea towel and bag to put it in to avoid burnt fingers). McDonalds we don’t eat, but last time I was in there it was just paper and cardboard, so nothing too scary. Maybe just ask sans the polystyrene…

    I’m wondering if a foil container would be the answer; at least it is more recyclable than polystyrene and can be reused several times at home

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