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Hertfordshire’s Amazing Zerowaste Shops

There’s no question that it’s a worrying time for small businesses due to Covid-19, but somehow many entrepreneurs are adapting to the tough circumstances and still managing to launch new ventures. With Zero waste Week earlier in September, at Happeninginherts.com we wanted to find out more about many of the fantastic refill shops which have been springing up this year in Herts.

Sugar & Scoop in Ware (Courtesy Sugar & Scoop)

Sugar & Scoop, Ware

Kirsty Taylor-Moran who lives in Ware has just opened zero waste shop Sugar & Scoop on the High Street in the town. She had been planning the project well before Lockdown and is excited finally to be open for business.

“I’m terms of main products, we have lots of pantry staples and snacks (with a focus on vegan, organic products although not all are), toiletries like shampoo and shower gel and cleaning products for everything,” she tells Happeninginherts.

“Our bestseller so far is definitely the fresh nut butter and as soon as I get myself organised we will also be offering nut/seed/oat milk on tap too. As a semi-reformed beauty product addict I’ve really enjoyed sourcing green alternatives for bath and beauty products in particular and they have gone down a treat.

“When I first started planning the shop we had recently swapped from disposable to cloth nappies and it was like a switch had been flipped. I was so totally overwhelmed and frustrated by all of the rubbish produced by every trip to the supermarket and I was really struggling to find alternatives that were easy to get hold of. I hope you’re able to pop in soon and take a look!”

(Courtesy Replenish Refill)

Replenish Refill, Railway Street, Hertford

Meanwhile, Replenish Refill in Hertford, which opened on the top floor of the former Mudlarks Café premises on Railway Street just before Lockdown, is now downstairs in the same building. Originally the store had planned to move with Mudlarks to its new premises in Fore Street but Covid-19 restrictions meant that space was too limited there.

“The new space is doing really well,” owner Emma Riddle tells Happeninginherts.  “We are being discovered by more and more new customers every week as we are now on the ground floor.  We have a real street presence.”

Emma has also been able to introduce some exciting new products thanks to the extra space and she strives to source as many items locally as she can.

“We are working with local producers and suppliers, and are now supplying local roasted coffee beans by Sustain Coffee, tea from local supplier Tealicous, beeswax wraps from Marion’s Beeswax Wraps in Welwyn, and sourdough bread from Proto Artisan bakery in Cheshunt,” she tells us.

“We are also now offering a new beauty range from Heavenly Organics, developed by a former Hertford resident, Mary-Ann Mills. The extensive range is made from vegan and organically-sourced products.  We have stocked a proportion of the range for two weeks now and have sold out already on many of the lines.”

Funky reusable sandwiches wrappers…

During the Lockdown, Emma introduced a click and collect service and that continues. Meanwhile, other innovative products include a range of waste-free body butters and soaps from Naturally Gorgeous cosmetics, the range was developed in Leoni Adams, a marine biologist, based near Wembury in Devon. “The products speak for themselves and literally fly out of the door,” says Emma.

Plus a range of re-useable sandwich wraps in funky designs, to replace single use cling-film have also proved popular.  The wraps, which are made in Scotland with the help of the inmates at Kilmarnock Prison, can be used time and time again and also unfold into a plate. 

Victoria Hellum & Carly Irving of B. Green

B. Green – Birch Green

Neighbours Victoria Hellum and Carly Irving opened their B. Green Store in the village of Birch Green at the end of December 2019 but soon found themselves becoming an important support hub for villagers during the Lockdown.

“As residents of the village (we are next-door neighbours) we felt a strong need for a community store – a place for people to meet, shop and enjoy coffee, cake and simple food. We set out to do this as sustainably as possible as we had both independently started out on a journey to shop more consciously, reduce plastic and single use items,” they tell Happeninginherts.

Goodies at B. Green Store in Birch Green

“When we first opened our doors we had a small cafe that sat about 12 people and we sold a range of unpackaged dry goods like pasta, grains, pulses, dried nuts and fruit along with liquid refillables and sustainable alternatives to common household items.

“We planned to increase our zerowaste offering as we went along, but Covid somewhat put a spanner in the works and we needed to step up and help those in the community who were vulnerable and shielding. We increased our range of daily essential items in responsive to customers requests and our budget for more gravity dispensers had to be allocated elsewhere as we required extra refrigeration.

“We’re now getting back on track, albeit without a cafe area, but with the addition of a fantastic range of top quality fresh fruit and vegetables that customers can buy unpackaged in the quantities they need.”

The demands of Covid have meant that Victoria and Carly have had to introduce certain products that they wouldn’t have envisaged selling.  “Whilst the new additions to the shop – packets of everyday biscuits or sliced meat and cheese wrapped in plastic for example don’t always sit comfortably alongside the plastic free alternatives – it serves to remind us that life is about balance and reinforces that we don’t need one person making sustainable choices perfectly, we need lots of people acting together making small changes to reduce plastic, food waste and food miles.”

Other zero waste shops in our area include Replenish Reuse in Buntingford, Little Hadham Stores, the Bamboo Turtle in Letchworth – the very first zero waste shop in Hertfordshire – and the Refill Pantry in St Albans which will be opening another branch in October.

Why not try to make some small changes to the way you shop and support our fantastic local businesses at the same time? Details of the zero waste shops featured in this article can be found on our new Happeninginherts.com business directory.

Piper Terrett
Author: Piper Terrett

Editor and founder of Happeninginherts.com

Piper Terrett

Editor and founder of Happeninginherts.com

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