Refills on Wheels is a mobile zero-waste shop, delivering plastic-free dried foods, toiletries, snacks (think yoghurt coated banana chips) and other goodies directly to the local community.
If you’re anything like us, you avoid buying food wrapped in layers of plastic where possible. Luckily, Refills on Wheels is committed to helping you start your journey to a plastic free lifestyle. Gertie, the gorgeous van, is home to a zero-waste shop where you can refill your own containers with dry goods like rice, pasta, nuts, pulses and chocolate. You can even pick up everyday essentials, and get delivery to your door 'milkman' style!
After an epic rebrand by 'We Are Alfa', Gertie is now settled right here in South Devon. In the driving seat is Naomi, who is devoted to reducing plastic waste and passionate about sustainability. Inspired by the mantra "Be the Change You Wish to See", their mission is to make zero-waste shopping accessible to all, whilst maintaining a low carbon footprint .
"By putting our shop on wheels, we are able to bring plastic-free shopping into communities and areas it wasn’t available before."
Naomi had the idea for Refills on Wheels back in 2019 and was spurred on by the events of 2020 – Lockdown really highlighted the fact that people were struggling to access food and supplies as easily as they used to.
Naomi's dream came true with the fantastic support of her local community here in the South West. She raised funds through grants and Crowdfunder, gaining impressive traction. Lots of local businesses, including Yoke the Salon and Southwest SUP, donated wonderful incentives, encouraging more and more people to donate to the venture. Every penny raised has gone towards the dream and, in September 2020, Refills on Wheels opened and became the first ever mobile refill business in the whole of Devon.
Naomi and Gertie travel around South Devon, stocked up with dried food, liquids, and household products sourced as locally as possible, and refill containers for her loyal customers. She works in a loop - both delivering directly to your door and parking up in popular spots - using containers from suppliers who take them back when they’re empty, wash them, refill and return them, saving waste all round.
'Combining convenience and zero-waste, build lasting connections in the community while making ethical shopping more convenient.'
Naomi really loves meeting people on her travels and has made it her mission to get to know each handpicked supplier and their stories, to further support the fantastic work of the existing zero-waste shops in Devon. Referring to them by their personal names on Social Media (Click here), Naomi wants both her customers and suppliers to feel a part of the community whilst forming the important connection between 'supplier' and 'shopper'.
If a customer asks Naomi about any of the products, she really enjoys telling them all about the company that made it. So, if you want to find out more...ask away!
‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’
As Local as it Gets
With a clear focus on supporting local, Naomi works hard to form relationships with as many local and ethical businesses as possible. One being George, a local baker. Getting up before the sunrise, George freshly bakes delicious loafs and - just as they've had a chance to cool down - delivers them straight to Gertie at Broadway.
Subscription Boxes? Yes please!
We've got some exciting news! *drumroll please* Naomi is soon to be launching online subscription boxes! Watch this space!
You can find Naomi and Gertie at the following places:
Every Monday @ The Broadway, Plymstock | 9am – 4pm
Every Thursday @ Chudleigh Market, Chudleigh Town Hall | 9am – 1pm
Every Thursday @ New Park, Bovey Tracey (Blue Waters Road) | 2pm – 3pm
Every Other Saturday @ Chudleigh Market, Chudleigh Town Hall | 9am – 1pm
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Have you got an independent, local business or know someone that does?! Get in touch. We'd love to chat! firstname.lastname@example.org