Shop like an eco-warrior at Joburg's first zero-waste store, The Refillery
The planet-friendly grocer offers a stylish, convenient, plastic-free, weigh-and-pay shopping experience
If something doesn’t change, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. This frightening statistic is partly what caused New Zealander Dom Maleta and his South African wife, Sam, to quit their jobs, sell their house, and put all of their energy into opening Joburg’s first zero-waste store, The Refillery.
The couple has a profound love for the ocean and beaches, especially South African beaches as Sam grew up spending many family holidays in Plettenberg Bay. They also have two young children and want them to be able to experience the world and all its natural beauty. “We’ve decided as a family to do our bit however small it may be,” says Sam.
The Refillery is a planet-friendly grocer offering a “stylish, convenient, plastic-free, weigh-and-pay shopping experience” that helps you stock your pantry with the highest quality, ethically sourced products, without all the wasteful packaging normally associated with a trip to the supermarket.
You can pick up pantry staples like rice, flour, beans, nuts and herbs, as well as honey, oils, vinegars and more. You can also buy cleaning products and personal toiletries. Sam says that their beeswax wraps and bowl covers have been popular as they completely remove the need for plastic wrap.
“Other popular items include our loose organic teas, local honey and our DIY ingredients like borax powder, Epsom salts and citric acid, showing us that South Africans really do enjoy making their own cleaning products and cosmetics”.
Goods are displayed in bulk containers, and customers can fill shop-bought glass jars or bottles with the quantities they want, bring in their own reusable containers to fill up, or make use of recycled brown paper bags to decant at home.
Sam says that although South Africans are aware of environmental issues, they’ve been lagging when it comes to things like recycling, which has only become commonplace here in the past few years.
“I also think that we thrive on convenience and in the past there have been only a few options for people to decrease their waste and no way to shop without single-use plastics,” says Sam.
Although it isn’t something people can fix overnight, Sam believes that one has to make changes now to ensure a viable future. “We live by the statement that says: ‘we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly but rather a million people doing it imperfectly’,” ends Sam.
It’s the small changes after all that can make the biggest difference. You can shop online here or visit the physical store based at Cedar Square.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za