Refill Hub is a mobile zero waste shop covering Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.
Founded by Natasha Squire, Refill Hub is designed to provide food and household products using minimal packaging and waste. With a mission to reduce the consumption of single use plastic, her convenient service encourages our shopping habits to change.
Reaching the Community
Refill Hub is a van (named Martha!) which has been cleverly converted into a mobile shop. You will find it in certain locations at regular times (the updated timetable is on the website and social media pages) such as at local markets in and around Cookham, Holyport, Twyford, Ascot, Burnham and Maidenhead.
Natasha also offers a delivery service, where she will arrange to collect your empty containers and refill them for you.
How Does it Work?
You start by taking your clean, empty containers along with you to the Refill Hub. They then get individually weighed as they are.
Next you choose what you want. There is a wide selection of food (such as pasta, rice and cereals), teas and coffees, herbs and oils. And there are household products (such as home cleaning and toiletries), confectionary and personal items. A full list with prices can be found on the website.
Each product your choose will be de-cantered into your container. It is then weighed again. You pay for your chosen product minus the packaging.
Your container can be anything from a clean jam jar to an old ice cream tub. It just needs to be suitable for the item you’re buying. If you’re still unsure, there is a full list of ideas on the website.
If you forget to bring a container then there is a small selection of donated ones at the shop, or you can purchase a brand-new container while you are there. Or if you are really stuck there are brown paper bags available.
The products sold at Refill Hub are sourced from suppliers with an ethical and sustainable ethos and they are all palm oil and GMO free. There is a wide range of organic and vegan products.
Natasha aims to provide high quality stock and welcomes any requests for new items.
What made you decide to start a mobile refill hub?
I was introduced to the refill way of shopping over 10 years ago whilst living overseas and realised what a great solution it was to cutting down on single use plastic. My hectic life over the years that followed didn’t allow me to focus on the refill concept, however I was becoming increasingly disheartened by the ever growing amount of food waste, plastic waste and our demand for convenience. I think also having children made me realise just how much waste is generated from this life choice, even though i was using washable nappies!
I decided to pause my career in food development and focus on setting up my own refill shop, but a mobile version that can reach many smaller locations and increase awareness to a wider audience.
Do you think that more people are being more conscious to reduce waste and use less plastic?
If you looked around at the litter in the countryside and streets then you would think not. But yes I do think people are becoming more conscious that we all need to act on a major climate crisis. I hear customers or soon to be customers many times a week discussing how they want to make changes and want to spread the word too.
However, individuals cant tackle this alone and until we have less convenience and overpackaged products its hard for people to make changes.
Have you always been passionate about protecting the planet?
I wouldn’t class myself as an eco warrior, because I’m not an activist, but I have always been concerned about the planet and always adored nature and I think these loves have gone hand in hand to help drive me to do what I now do.
Do you think larger stores and supermarkets are doing enough to reduce the amount of one-use plastic they use?
In a nutshell no. I think there was potentially bigger changes afoot pre pandemic but unfortunately Covid sent it in reverse and some of the good work was undone. Some are better than others, such as offering more fruit & veg loose but others went the other way and you may struggle to find a carrot out of a plastic bag!
Some stores have trialled their own refill zones which is a start and it will be interesting to see a roll out plan. Which I am sure is coming very soon.