How it works


I’ve never been to a refill shop before, what do I do?

Don’t panic! You’re not alone and we’re here to make it as easy as possible for you.

Firstly, feel free to pop along, say hi, and familiarise yourself with the shop. There’s no pressure to buy anything and we’re always happy to have a chat. If it's your first time ordering for home delivery please do just send an email with any questions you may have.

If you want to be prepared for your first visit we advise that you take a look at our product list so you can prepare a list. Take a look in your cupboards and see what needs topping up. All our prices are listed as per 100g (Herbs and Spices as per 10g) but you can buy any amount you like, small or large.

If you want to be really organised you can label your jars with what you want inside; this way if you’re busy you can always drop your containers off with us, we’ll fill them up while you go off and do something lovely and we’ll have them ready for when you come back.

Once at the shop you’ll notice that WE serve you, so you needn’t get flustered about weighing or making a mess - we do that! We take your containers, tare them on our scales and fill them up with what you want. It is also worth mentioning that your containers do not have to be completely empty. If you have half a bottle of washing up liquid you want to top up that’s no problem - we’ll only charge you for what we put in your container.

Hopefully this sounds like a fun experience, it may be a bit daunting at first but we know from experience that once you start you’ll soon get into the routine and you’ll find it hard to go back to a supermarket being surrounded by all that unnecessary plastic packaging.

Do I have to bring my own containers?

We like to follow the 5 Rs of zero waste (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot) and therefore think that reusing what you already have at home is great rather than using up a new resource. But we understand that it can take some getting used to. Try to bring along your own containers from home.

If you don’t fancy bringing your own containers, or happen to forget, we have paper bags available that can be used for our dried foods. We have a selection of affordable glass jars and bottles that can be purchased for use with our liquid refills. We also have containers donated from other Zero Waste customers for you to borrow at no extra charge.

What containers can I use?

You can use what you already have at home and reuse any packaging you come across. You probably have loads of options already around the house; you can reuse plastic and glass jars and bottles, reuse takeaway boxes, keep hold and reuse resealable plastic bags, create your own fabric bags out of fabric you have around the house and refill your herb and spice pots instead of throwing them away.

If all else fails we have a small selection of jars at the shop and most of our customers come back with their paper bags and get as much use out of them before recycling.

When refilling there are some best practice guidelines for making sure your product stays in the same great quality as when you buy it.

While we can top-up a product for you we do advise to make sure all containers brought for refilling are empty, cleaned and dried thoroughly. Any dampness or residue in containers can contaminate new product. Be mindful of any odours left in the container from previous product as this may also affect new product.

Its best to use containers for like product, for example using an old washing up liquid bottle for washing up liquid refills, a laundry liquid bottle for laundry refills etc.

Ensure containers close properly and are air tight as this will lengthen the life of your product and reduce possible contamination.

Once at home it is best to store products in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight.

How do your prices compare to the supermarkets?

Our main aim is to make zero waste refill shopping more accessible - this is our passion! Part of this includes carrying out price checks against supermarkets. We always work hard to make sure our prices are as competitive as possible. There are many items that are better value than a supermarket (herbs, spices, cocoa powder, quinoa and seeds for example). Others are matched against the supermarkets for items of similar quality. We feel confident that with a balanced shop your basket shouldn’t cost more than a supermarket shop. We’re also happy to add discounts on certain items if you are buying bigger quantities (kilos).

Unfortunately we’ve got to this plastic crisis because plastic is so cheap to make, which means there’s not a huge amount saved from buying unpackaged. You can see bigger savings when comparing things like herbs as in most cases the single-use packaging is more complex, so a saving can be noticed when you’re not having to buy the packaging each time, but when looking at lightweight thin single-use plastic packaging there’s not a huge cost saving.

In general sustainably and ethically sourced products have higher production costs. All of our products are fair trade which means that a fair price has been paid to the producer/grower. Supermarkets are retail giants with huge buying and negotiating power that in some cases can squeeze suppliers into selling at rock bottom prices. Supermarkets can also sell huge volumes at much lower margins. We are not in the business of stack it high and sell it cheap.

When you shop with us you’ll be buying fair trade, non GMO, primarily organic or low input farmed products, you’ll be supporting a local, sustainably minded business and you’ll be avoiding single use packaging.

Where do your products come from?

We source our products from a variety of suppliers. We ensure that everyone we work with shares our values in caring for the environment.

We source the majority of our food through two main cooperatives based in the UK Infinity Foods and Essential. They have vigorous checks in place to make sure the food and products they supply are fairly traded, non-genetically modified and are produced in an ethical and sustainable way. We also work with Hodmedods, a British business supplying beans and other products from British farms.

Our household cleaning refills come from Greenscents and Miniml. Greenscents is a family owned business working with organic plant based ingredients to produce their concentrated products here in Somerset. Miniml is a family owned business based in Yorkshire, offering vegan, cruelty free and biodegradable products made in the UK. Both of these use a circular refill container system, meaning that we return the 20 litre containers to them to be reused.

For our lifestyle products we work with a number of different suppliers and we like to support local, Somerset suppliers where we can. In Taunton & Somerset we have suppliers including Currypool Orchard, Cup of Tea, Melbury Farm, Significant Salvage and Greenscents

If you are a potential supplier please get in touch by emailing telling us about your product and how it fits with our ethics

Do you offer organic options?

The overall aim of the shop is to be environmentally better in every way. Part of this includes supporting organic farming. There is a growing body of evidence that pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used on our land has a devastating impact on soil health, insect populations, overall diversity as well as human health. Eliminating these chemicals from our lives cannot be a bad thing. Where products are sourced from abroad we also need to consider the workers on the farms producing these products. Non organic farms use huge amounts of pesticides, many banned in the UK (but we still manufacture them, export them to be used on farms abroad, and then import the food). Workers on these farms will often be exposed to horrific and dangerous amounts of these and are given little to no PPE. We therefore prioritise organic food.

Some of the products we source from the UK are not certified organic, and may be labelled as low input farmed. We work closely with the farmers and suppliers in these cases to ensure we are happy that a sustainable approach to farming is being applied.

Please feel free to ask us if you have further questions on this issue, we are passionate on this subject.

Why is everything vegan?

We have a no animal cruelty policy for our products, and while this is open to some interpretation and will vary from person to person, the easiest way to ensure this is not to stock animal products at all (even from organic sources). The one animal product we stock is our British honey, as we are happy with the production methods used and that no bee cruelty takes place.

How do I know what weight to buy?

We can easily show you what 100g of a product looks like and you can tell us if you want more or less. We can do all sorts of measurements : a handful, jar half full, a pound or a monetary value as a few examples. Gather together your containers (we do also have paper bags if you forget something) ready to come along to visit.

Here are some examples to help you:

Herbs: 15g jar

Spices: 30g jar (One nutmeg weighs approx 5g)

Loose tea: 75-100g bag

Coffee beans: 225g bag

Cereals 375g (granola, cornflakes, branflakes) 500g (muesli, oats)

Dried Fruit: 100g is a handful

Nuts & Seeds: 100g is snack bag size (pine nuts usually 50g bag)

Snacks: 200g is a snack bag size

Chickpeas: 120g = equivalent of a tin

Nutritional Yeast: 125g tub

Rice & Pulses: usually come in 500g bags, or serving sizes range from 50g - 90g

Pasta: usually a 500g bag, or 90g serving size

I have allergies, what should I do?

We stock a variety of products that have various allergens and although we carefully make sure each product does not come into contact with the other we cannot account for trace contamination as products are stored together. When shopping with us please alert us to any allergens you are looking to avoid and we can advise.

For skin allergies and our liquid refills we stock products that have no artificial preservatives or colours and are gentle on the skin, all of Greenscent's range is accredited by Allergy UK.

Potential Allergens

  • Gluten

  • Wheat

  • Nuts

  • Soy

  • Sesame

What are your top easy swaps?

Lesser Litter started due to frustration at the amount of single waste plastic I had in my weekly shop - this was mostly from pasta, rice, cereals, sugar and nuts. Starting with these types of food should get you seeing a reduction in plastic very quickly. The other easy swaps include refills for toiletries and cleaning products. We stock all the basics you should need for home and human cleaning, and you can simply bring along an empty bottle once you run out. Crisps are also an easy swap, and we will happily suggest our favourite seasonings to you.