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Local refill and zero waste stores you’ll want to shop in

Check out these sustainable grocery, gift and household stores - it's refill, but not as you know it - tempting products, stylish stores and online ordering - it's a no-brainer!

Forget brown rice, hemp skirts and sawdust-like cereal – the next gen refill shop is all about high quality groceries, tempting toiletries and fab little eco gifts. Grab your chichi shopping bags, and Kilner jars and fill-’em-up at these gems – our fave refill/zero waste stores across Herts & Beds.

The Refill Pantry, St Albans, Carpenter’s Farm Shop and Berkhamsted

The Refill Pantry, established by Celina Mendoza in 2018 in St Albans, stocks everyday groceries, such as rice, nuts, pasta, dried fruit, chocolate and cleaning and beauty products, including jars of toothpaste. And, Celina also sells Hertfordshire-grown quinoa, chia seeds, red haricot beans and olive-green lentils; Chiltern rapeseed oil and St Albans-made granola. Who knew we could grow all that right here in Herts?! She’s now expanded to a site at Carpenter’s Nursery in Sandridge and a Berkhamsted store too, making it even easier to grab some goodies!

Unpckd, Hitchin, (also delivers to Central Herts and Cambridge)

This ingenious local delivery service, Unpckd, brings groceries to your door, milkman-style, in re-useable packaging. Join up (for an initial £10 fee), receive your first order of all things refillable (from pasta, to cleaning products) in re-usable containers (min order £20 + £2.50 delivery, which is cheaper than Tesco’s!), use’ em up, re-order and return your containers – easy peasy! Delivery areas include Hitchin and East Beds (mondays), Central Herts (Weds), South and Central Cambridge, Baldock and Royston (Fridays).

Bamboo Turtle, Letchworth and Biggleswade

Bamboo Turtle, Letchworth Garden City, was the first zero waste shop in Herts, and it is still one of the best,. It stocks the usual dry goods, and does a great line in alternative toiletries, bamboo straws, cleaning products, and even gifts and cards. Plus there’s a super easy ‘click and collect’ option if you’re short on time. They’ve now expanded into Beds with a store in Biggleswade, too. AND, you heard it here first, there’s a brand new deli offering opening above the Letchworth store this month – Deli Dot Zero, selling delicious locally produced dairy, charcuterie and breads in – you guessed it – re-fillable/re-useable packaging. Yum!

Wholesome Weigh, Hitchin

For predominantly fair trade and/or organic products and from Growers Co-Operatives with the least air miles possible, try Wholesome Weigh, Hitchin. There’s a huge range of products on offer here – including gorgeous Faith in Nature toiletries, shampoo bars and soaps; award winning raw vegan chocolate from the wonderful local artisan chocolate maker Raw Spirit, loose leaf teams (did you know that most tea bags contain plastic?) and local produce (including black garlic from nearby Sandy). A lot of the products are supermarket price matched, too – so it won’t cost the earth to save it.

Eat 17, Bishop’s Stortford

Now this is a slightly different set up. Eat 17 has a few stores – mostly in London, but one in Bishop’s Stortford. The team also works alongside convenience stores, and this happens to be in a SPAR. But don’t let that put you off – this sharply designed shop/cafe is not your everyday corner shop! The offerings are local, low waste and totally delicious, with an indoor street-food market vibe – think Bishop’s Stortford honey, a fresh fish counter, locally-made sausage rolls and pastries, craft beer, refills, and locally roasted coffee. Plus you can shop online too for everything from artisan to vegan goodies!

B. Green Store, Birch Green

B. Green Store is an eco-friendly village store, coffee shop and community hub between Hertford and Welwyn with a farm-to-fork ethos. It sells gorgeous groceries, coffee and homemade cake, freshly baked bread, artisan products from local suppliers and the usual refillables. Plus they offer a click and collect service on Tuesdays – just email ahead with your shopping list! And in normal times they run weekly community events too.

Vida Eco Shop, Hemel Hempstead

Online zero waste store, Vida Eco Shop, is waging war on single use plastics and stocks everything you need to change up your household and beauty regimes to be more earth-friendly – from plastic-free loo paper to loofahs and lunchboxes. You’ll also find vegan and cruelty-free beauty products and even plastic-free poo bags for your pampered pooch!

The Green Stores, Croxley Green

A lockdown business, The Green Stores opened it’s doors (by appointment only) in April 2020, serving the Rickmansworth and Watford areas. Now you’re free to pop in and browse the refillables and zero waste goodies, from dried, organic and gluten-free foods to household essentials, at your leisure.

Returned to Glory, Berkhamsted

Charitable upcycling enterprise, Returned to Glory, donates all proceeds from its re-loved furniture and homewares to the Hospice of St Francis. The Berkhamsted showroom is packed with bespoke pieces so you can get your hands on something totally unique and feel good for rehoming something that may otherwise have been destined for the tip. There’s a couple of Christmas shopping events on the 4 & 5 December, too, and check out the workshops on offer from upholstering to chalk painting.

The Store, Bedford

The Store is Bedford’s first exclusively zero-waste outfit. They offer the full gambit – pulses and everyday groceries, which your pour into your jars and Tupperware from the neat, and fun (kids love them btw) machines that line the walls; nut butter (crushed on site), oat milk on tap, cleaning products, toiletries, and also, locally grown, flowers and fresh produce. They also stock gifts, such as chocolaty treats and gorgeous smellies.

Mimic Gifts, Leighton Buzzard

Local gift shop, Mimic Gifts, sell all manner of refills for your bathroom needs – shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel and colourful bath bombes, melts and biodegradable shimmers (perfect for the kids’ stockings). They also stock household cleaners, as well as bamboo toothbrushes, candles, cards and gift sets. Your local answer to Lush!

Made in Bedford @ Number 13, Bedford

Made in Bedford is an absolute delight. Pop in for a coffee and a slice of vegan cake and pick up some unique work by local artists, designers, makers and producers while you’re there. The founders also run Bedford’s largest arts and crafts markets, the Artisan Fairs, so they really know their crafty stuff. The Christmas one is coming up on 1 Dec. At the cafe the menu is kept small to avoid food waste and the coffee is from the Wooden Hill Coffee Company, roasted just 16 miles away. They often run crafty events and workshops too.

Absolutely Shabbylass, Ampthill

Upcycled furniture is the mainstay of Absolutely Shabbylass, with beautifully pre-loved pieces re-imagined in a range of chic hues. But it’s also a chic boutique, stocking everything from locally crafted homewares and gifts such as pottery and textiles, to ‘kind living’ eco essentials, like bamboo products, wildflower bee bombs and herbal soap bars. Plus they run crafty workshops and sell DIY kits for getting creative at home, too.

1 comment on “Local refill and zero waste stores you’ll want to shop in”

  • Amy Whiting August 25, 2020

    There’s also a lovely zero waste shop in Buntingford called Replenish & Reuse

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