Growing up in the 70s and 80s raised by parents from the post-war era, their 'waste not, want not' ethos was drummed into us from the start - no meal went uneaten; no yoghurt pot went unsaved in our household...
Sure, back then the Squire Household's minimal waste operation was financially motivated, and driven by that rationing spirit. However over time my love of nature and my despair at the widespread use of single use plastic - and its devastating impact on the environment - has given this cause a renewed sense of purpose for me.
I had dreams of opening up a refill shop nearly 10 years ago when living overseas whilst shopping myself for the first time in that way. However, what with moving half way across the world, working and having children it was never the right time, until now...
I put a hold on my career in food development last summer to embark on this exciting new challenge. And that challenge was how could I bring a service closer to the customer?
A mobile shop was the answer for me and Refill Hub was conceived.
I hope that you will join me on this journey!
Rethink... Reduce... Reuse... Refill...
I work with a few suppliers to get a good selection of commodity and treat products into my shop. There is a range of organic and non organic foods at a price range that I hope will enable all customers to shop with me.
Some of the criteria I look for when sourcing products:
Using a core base of suppliers who are ethically minded with sustainability, Fair-trading, healthier eating and plastic reduction at the forefront of their ethos.
No Palm oil is used in any products.
Organic and GM free - I have a good mix of organic and non organic products. All suppliers are accredited to organic standards. All products are GMO free.
Local where possible. This may mean coffee roasted locally or sourcing products from Europe instead of Asia. This will evolve over time and I hope to work with British growers of some beans and lentils. Where products are sourced from overseas, suppliers aim to avoid airfreight thus limiting air miles.
Vegan. Many of the products I stock are naturally vegan but I want to offer some great treat items that everybody can enjoy — whether you lead a Vegan lifestyle or not.
Circular loop. Manufacturers of all cleaning products, toiletries and oil collect empty drums for cleaning which are then reused, meaning we can operate as truly zero waste for these items.
Great products! I aim to use or try all of the lines stocked. I will be constantly monitoring the quality and listening to feedback to ensure that I have a range of products that I am happy to serve to my own family. I also encourage suggestions of what you would like to see stocked.
When it came to my choice of van, I would have loved to have purchased a zero emission electric van for my new venture, but unfortunately for the size I required this was financially non-viable, even with a loan or grant.
I looked at other alternative fuels but availability was limited so, I decided upon the lovely Peugeot Boxer van, which has fantastic space at the back to fit all of the shop and is ideal for heavier loads. Whilst it may not be the perfect green machine, ultimately I am cutting down on the number of journeys customers need to take by bringing the service closer to you.
That said, the future will be electric, but for now, take a look at the van's journey.