They are not new, but refill shops are growing in popularity. The UK for example, “now has hundreds of refill or zero-waste shops, helping people reduce packaging.” I’m posting this short article for a few reasons, first because it’s interesting to see how value-based commerce can often be better integrated into their neighbourhood while also including other good practices. Gather, whose founder is interviewed in the article, holds events to gather (pun intended) the community in her space but also built it up differently than other businesses.
And it’s not only the produce that is sustainable – the shop is powered by renewable energy and financed by a more ethical bank, while all the units inside have been made from waste materials, mostly by Gorst herself.
Second, a lot of people tend to dismiss these small changes, arguing that the change they bring about is at too small a scale, but real change starts small and when a some trends pick up speed, they also pickup larger-scale copycats.
Where they have gone, supermarkets now look set to follow, with Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose all recently agreeing to install refill stations in shops by the end of this year. Meanwhile, Asda has introduced refill aisles to more of its supermarkets following successful trials.
To know a but more about the effect of small-scale change, you can read about “the 3.5% rule” or the “tipping point” for social change. Eventually, not only do bigger stores jump on but also a greater variety of consumers and a larger public.
Image by Positive News: Tash Gorst in her store, Gather.