The Refill Shop in St Neots

by Melina La Firenze in Eynesbury, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 1st November 2019 we successfully raised £10,228 with 251 supporters in 56 days

To open St Neots’ first zero-waste, plastic-free, refill shop with in-house production of raw, vegan chocolate.

by Melina La Firenze in Eynesbury, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

Develop a range of convenience food, snacks and lunches to take away. Buy the necessary equipment for this such as a refrigerator and display counter. £820

Get a barista coffee machine for zero-waste takeaway coffee. £1500

Our hope is to inspire a zero-waste culture.

Our goal is to make zero-waste packaging become the normal way to sell all products currently available with unnecessary packaging.

We plan to open an organic, vegan, zero-waste shop in St. Neots selling a wide range of foods and household items. 

All items will be vegan friendly (apart from Honey and wax wraps) and will be sourced as ethically and locally as possible. 

You will be able to bring your own containers and buy as much or as little as you want minimising wastage and reducing costs. 

Some of the bulk food products we will stock are: pastas, rice, lentils, beans, baking products, Oils, herbs, spices, dried fruits, nuts, seeds and raw chocolate.

As well as non-food items such as shampoo bars, soaps, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpowder, reusable wipes, soap nuts etc. 

We will also be selling refill household products including laundry detergent, toilet cleaner, washing up liquid, fabric conditioner and surface cleaner.

Who are we? 

I am a 41 year old mother of two. I'm an oil's based artist and I teach Philosophy and Spanish. I've lived in St. Neots for 11 years and run the St. Neots Film Festival. My 44 year old partner Alexis does home improvement building work which will be handy renovating the shop and save money. He is also a music and sound designer and a raw artisan chocolatier.  We are both dedicated to reducing the harmful impact of fossil fuels and plastic on our planet. We are alarmed by the data scientist's have released concerning climate change and the only option is to act.

We believe we can all help make a huge difference if we start doing it now!

I started St Neots Zero Waste Club nearly 4 months ago as a small buying group on Facebook. It now has 400 members. Together we have already saved over 500 plastic items from going into landfill by reusing containers. Imagine how much we could save as a thriving shop!

The location

We've found a lovely shop just 3 minutes walk from St. Neots town centre High street which was previously a retro shabby chic furniture place so needs a bit of renovation and a new kitchen for our raw organic artisan chocolate production. 

What's wrong with plastic??

Not all plastic is bad! For certain uses plastic is a great material but single use plastic is where the problem lies. Plastic water bottles, toothbrushes, food packaging, plastic bags, coffee cups, straws, wet wipes are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to polluting our waterways. 

The equivalent of a truckload of plastic enters the oceans every minute. That's 8 million pieces a day!

* Some Plastics can take up to a thousand years to break down!

* Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

Recent studies have shown plastic inside the bodies of 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined.

* One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world with only a small amount recycled. The rest end up in landfill or in our oceans.

Plastic production is increasing every year but people are starting to take notice of the problem and with the help of programmes like Blue Planet 2 attitudes are starting to change. 

What Will The Money Be Spent On?

Shop fittings - Shelving, Tables, Displays, storage units.

Kitchen - Kitchen worktops, tap and sink, Fridge, storage.

Gravity dispensers - This is the most expensive part. Each dispenser is around £50. We need lots for things like rice, pasta, coffee beans, nuts and seeds.

Scoop bins & Jars - For Sugars, Flours, Powders and Herbs & Spices.

£4800 pays for the basic set up of the shop.

£2880 pays for a nut butter grinder 

£1100 pays for a cold press juicer

£540+ pays for a coffee machine

Eventually we aim to expand our range to convenience foods also and provide a delivery service. We would love to have a coffee machine and cafe area with vegan cakes and lunches.

How will shopping here be better for the environment?

You can bring your own containers to fill up which means less single use plastic waste.

No product in the shop will contain plastic or be packaged in plastic meaning less waste will end up in landfill or polluting our waterways.

The large containers that all the liquids come in are collected by the supplier and returned to actually be recycled.

How does it work?

Bring your own containers or buy some nice jars in our shop.

Weigh your container and write your weight down.

Fill it up from our dispensers and pay. Buying only what you need reduces wastage and minimises costs.

Why Crowdfunding? Why not go to a bank for a loan? 

Starting a business debt free will allow us to keep our prices competitive to supermarkets and invest much more of the profits back into the business and allow us a much greater freedom in what we do. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 = invite

We'd like to invite you to our launch party and thank you personally.

£5 or more

Simply donate £5

Much appreciated donation towards set up costs. Thank you!

£5 or more

16 of 72 claimed

£5 = personalised vegan chocolate bar

Perfect christmas stocking filler. Rawtangle chocolate bar 50g with a personalised tag. Choose from the following 6 flavours in OPTIONS. We will custom print the label with the name or text of your choice. Available to pick up from The Refill Shop from December 5th

£20 or more

6 of 50 claimed

£20 = 10 free coffees with your shopping

A coffee on the house for the first 10 shopping purchases in The Refill Shop.

£20 or more

£20 =invite+ 10% off chocolate

We'd like to invite you to our launch party and thank you personally. As an extra gift 10% off Rawtangle chocolate first purchase.

£20 or more

£20 =invite+10% off groceries

We'd like to invite you to our launch party and thank you personally. As an extra gift 10% off all refill food and domestic products first purchase.

£20 or more

42 of 150 claimed

£20 Shopping voucher

£20 shopping voucher to spend in The Refill Shop

£50 or more

£50=invite+20% off+glass jar

We'd like to invite you to our launch party and thank you personally. 20% off your first shop to a maximum of £100 spend. As an extra gift an air tight glass storage jar.

£100 or more

£100=invite+£25 gift voucher

We'd like to invite you to our launch party and thank you personally. We will send you a £25 gift voucher to spend.

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