A new plastic and packaging-free shopping service is being launched in Liverpool with the help of a Crowdfunder campaign.
Going by the name Refill, the initiative aims to help tackle environmental issues with packaging by selling produce via a ‘weigh and save’ method, whilst also helping residents to cut back on food waste as they can buy what they need.
Later this month a self-service concession wall selling loose produce will open within South Liverpool’s Windmill Wholefoods store – a green co-operative which already stocks loose vegetables and refillable detergents.
Following the arrival of the concession, Melanie Sharp, who is behind the project, also plans to bring Refill to farmers’ markets and pop-up events, and eventually aims to provide collection and home delivery services from a Toxteth base.
With a target of £4,000, the Crowdfunder will enable the purchase of scales for the shop and a second pair for events, a small van plus insurance for moving stock and home deliveries, a licence for street trading, the purchase of initial stock and a website for online pre-ordering.
Melanie says research for the project first began in 2012 when she adapted to living on a stricter monthly budget for food and essentials.
Whilst she realised she could live on a lot less in terms of personal care items and could also source food items cheaply, Melanie noticed her recycling bin was “overflowing with plastic type packaging”.
She explains: “I will be stocking refillable items such as cups, bottles, lunchboxes and other zero waste home essentials, as well as loose organic wholefoods, personal care products and household cleaning products at markets and from the van when [Refill] is up and running.”
Melanie, who will initially operate Refill by herself with the help of volunteering friends, adds: “We hope to eventually be in a position to employ one or two people, and to make a regular donation to the mental health charity Mind.”
Calls and campaigns for businesses and the public to cut down on the use of single-use plastics and packaging waste have been gathering momentum this year, after the BBC’s ‘Blue Planet II’ series highlighted the effect they are having on our oceans and marine life.