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EcoStar runner-up: The Hampshire Refillery – our planet over profits!

EcoStar is a new competition created by the University of Winchester and the Hampshire Chronicle to identify the next generation of environmental journalists. The runner up in this year’s competition was Eva Alexander. Here is her article:

The Hampshire Refillery is a start up market stall that aims to make household shopping both eco friendly and affordable. The Refillery is run by a local woman and appears at the Eastleigh market on Saturdays and pops up at various other locations around Southampton. 

The Hampshire Refillery works by sourcing large volumes of cleaning liquids, shower gels, shampoos, laundry detergent and other household essentials that often come in plastic packaging, then people can visit her stall with their own containers to fill up. They also sell natural deodorants, face wipes and sponges that are far more green than any leading brand and all their products are ethical and cruelty free. 

I reached out to Nat, who runs the refillery, and she explained the process. 

“Once our bottles are empty we return them to the UK manufacturer to be refilled on the same lorry that brings the next delivery. This is called ‘closed-loop’ recycling” This technique ensures that there is minimum waste and emissions.

I asked Nat why she started The Hampshire Refillery in the first place as it seemed like a big undertaking, especially as many people are so set in their ways. She said “I was frustrated with picking up single use packaging when walking my dogs. Rather than react to the problem at the end, I decided to do something about it. By making zero waste shopping more accessible, it helps customers reduce waste and raises awareness of this lifestyle change” 

Nat goes through the work and hassle of contacting suppliers and selling on their environmentally friendly products so that others don’t have to. This means that consumers in Hampshire can reduce their waste by cutting out single use plastics with ease. A large obstacle for everyday people who want to be more green is time and knowing where to start, The Hampshire Refillery solves both of these problems as well as offering a friendly and efficient service. Nat also uses social media and leaflets to get the word out, which means being green has never been so visible and viable in Eastleigh. 

“We are all on this journey together, it’s about small steps to get there. Don’t let this overwhelm you” Nat says to others who want to make their community more environmentally friendly “Be sure to be curious, just because a company says something is recyclable, ask if this will actually be recycled in the area you live in?” 

The Hampshire Refillery encourages everyone to do their part, but their instagram bio clearly states “Listen up Supermarkets!” and Nat also shares concerns and hopes for the future.

“I hope that big manufacturers improve their production to utilise more natural products” she goes on, “large retailers and manufacturers all move to refilling only”.

The Hampshire Refillery was inspired by the Ghandi quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” and hopes that this will also inspire others, talking about issues only gets us so far and eventually action has to be taken and it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

This attitude of helping both the local community and the planet as a whole is what makes The Refillery such an inspiration, declaring “Our planet over profits!” 

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