Forget brown rice, hemp skirts and soggy cornflakes – the next gen refill shop is all about high quality groceries, tempting toiletries and fab little eco gifts. Grab your chichi shopping bags and get over to these gems – here are our fave refill/zero waste stores across Oxon and Bucks.
The Pantry, Prestwood
Cool, clean, rustic, artisan… shopping at The Pantry is zero waste 2.0. You can expect all the usual refill goodies – pasta, grains, spices, tea, baking, dried fruit, but there’s also the Pantry Cafe, which serves a decent flat white and does a click and collect WFH lunch of sandwich, salad and nibbles. So long to beans on toast. Open 8.30-4pm Mon-Fri & til 3pm on Sat.
Aylesbury Eco Stores
There’s a massive range of cupboard essentials here as well as toiletries and liquid refills, and you can take your own containers or use their donated ones. The opening hours are quirky – 9.30-2.30pm Tues-Thurs, 10-4pm Sat & 10-2pm Sun, but we love the late night Mon option 6-8pm. A refill shop that actually works around your life. Whoop!
The Refill Project, Chesham
Going to a refill shop can be time consuming if you don’t know what they stock and don’t have time to wait, so the Refill Project has addressed both of these – there’s a full stock list on the website, and you can email your order through, drop off your containers and wait for the text to collect. Easy. The shop has a village store feel to it and is packed with dry foods, household products and toiletries. Open Tues-Sat 9.30 – 4pm
It’s Marlow, so obviously it has to be gorgeous – no lentil-strewn floor and grubbing food dispensers here. There’s acres of dry goods plus household bits, but we also love the snacks, sweets and gift items (we challenge you not to add a bag of caramelised cashews to your shopper). Seed1 also has a membership scheme that gives you money off the more you spend. It also offers delivery, with details on the website of the delivery schedule. Open Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30pm (see website for late night openings).
Four State, Marlow & Henley
Yes, you did just walk into a refill shop, and not a lifestyle store/yoga studio/Scandi homewares shop. There’s eco gifts galore here from fabulous water bottles to plant hangers, throws and loungewear. It’s a veritable Pinterest fest. Plus of course you can get your cupboard staples. There’s stores in Marlow, Henley and Windsor, so take your pick. Open Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30pm and even open Sun 11-4pm.
So Sustainable, Watlington
This store has had the local community behind it from the beginning, with a hugely successful crowd funding initiative following the success of its ‘through-the-kitchen-window’ operation. There’s all the dry cupboard essentials from baking and cereals to chocolate, tea and spices, plus toiletries and gifts. It makes for a perfect stop-off on Watlington’s increasingly glam high street – the deli, the butcher, the bakery, the chocolate shop…. not forgetting the Scandi interiors place and the bijoux giftshop. Best put aside a couple of hours for browsing the neighbourhood while Steph and her team pack your list of refills.
Wild Honey, Oxford
Part of the increasingly hip enclave along Oxford’s Magdalen Rd, Wild Honey is a fab little health food shop with a big plastic-free and petite refill section. The aim was to bring organic produce from surrounding farms into the city and that very much remains, with a fresh veg and fruit selection out front every day. Inside there’s an emporium of sustainable toiletries, gifts, vitamins and food. We love it for its proximity to some fab indie pubs and cafes, though if you want more refill choice, check out the somewhat more utilitarian Flo’s and Oxford Unboxed.
The Willow Basket, Henley
The Willow Basket is a whole lot of fun – dog ice cream with your refill lentils anyone? Its daily soups are also superb and the snack range is stellar. This is refill, with benefits. Open Thurs-Sun 11-5pm.
The Market Garden Shop, Eynsham
What started as an organic market is now a big airy retail space with over 100 bulk products to buy as refills, plus some of the area’s finest fresh produce. There’s sourdough and patisseries from Gatineau in Summertown and Degustibus in Abingdon, Oxfordshire milk and dairy, and Hanborough honey. Forget the supermarket, it’s all here!
This fab little shop is the passion project of Csaba and Beata, who have brought an epic range of refillable home and grocery goodies to Witney. The bathroom and kitchen/household ranges are particularly strong (compostable sponge anyone?), plus with sections labelled ‘baby’, ‘lady’ and ‘personal care’, we reckon they’ll have your bathroom cabinet fully stocked.
LOCAL MOBILE REFILLS
If getting to the refill seems like too much of a stretch, check out these mobile services. In Woodstock and surrounding villages, you can summon The Village Refill, leave your empty bottles and jars out and they will refill them on your doorstep. Likewise Bucks-based, The Rolling Oats, is on the move – find them at Winslow, Bicester, Steeple Claydon Buckingham and Quainton at various points during the month. Or there’s Renewed Eco Shop, which makes an appearance at various markets in Oxford, Botley and Princes Risborough, or they’ll deliver. See if you’re on the list by checking the delivery destinations on the website.
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