Using Refill Markets

Since making more of an effort to go greener, one of the biggest challenges I’ve found is the sheer amount of packaging there is on the food I buy from supermarkets.  Of course some things are avoidable – I can fill my bags up with loose fruit and veg rather than buying pre-packaged stuff for example – but some everyday items are just impossible to buy from big supermarkets without non-recyclable plastic or other materials.  So when I went to my local market (as I do every Thursday) and discovered that a new stall had opened up that allowed me to buy these things WITHOUT PACKAGING I was ecstatic!

What is a refill market?

The glass jars I use for some of the smaller items at the refill market

It’s basically what it says on the tin – a refill market is somewhere you can go and refill your containers with various produce.  This saves you from buying items with unnecessary packaging that would otherwise go in the bin – mainly plastic that cannot be recycled.

My new local refill market is run by a lovely lady who is on a mission to reduce waste.  If it is your first time or have just forgotten your containers she can give you your wares in a paper bag, or you can buy cotton bags or glass jars from her to use.  This is what I did at first, but since then I have been very good at remembering to take my various jars, bags and tubs for her to fill up! I love that you can also decide exactly how much of something you want, rather than just having to buy however much is being sold to you.

What does a refill market sell?

Obviously I can’t speak for other places, but my local refill market sells a variety of products – not just food either! You can get different types of rice, pasta, seeds, grains and dried fruits which is great, but my favourite thing is the herbs and spices!  I used to hate having to buy a new glass jar of a spice I had run out of, now I don’t have to! For example, I needed some more ground coriander a few weeks ago so I all I had to do was take my empty little glass jar that I had previously bought from the supermarket and refill it from the big jar on the stall – sorted! This week I also got some roasted fava beans with sea salt and cider vinegar which they boy and I snacked on – so filling and healthy, and no plastic wrapping, that’s a win in my book!

She also stocks some natural, Eco-friendly alternatives to various toiletries.  Bamboo toothbrushes, tins of toothpaste and big bars of gorgeous smelling soap are great, but I think the most exciting product is the deodorant.  My mum bought some for my dad as he cannot use standard deodorant any more since he had surgery, and he totally loves it! So much so that mum bought some for herself the following week – must be good!

If you can find one locally, I think that these markets are fabulous, and definitely worth going to each week if you can.  Hopefully then more of them will appear and less waste will be produced in the first place  – definitely something we need to aim for.


Refill Market Picture
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