Plastic free grocery shop opening in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 June 2018

Left to right: Tania Trovatello and Celina Mendoza.

Left to right: Tania Trovatello and Celina Mendoza.


Reduce, reuse, recycle is the motto of a plastic-free grocery shop opening in St Albans.

Left to right: Celina Mendoza and Tania Trovatello. Left to right: Celina Mendoza and Tania Trovatello.

Environmentally-minded customers can visit The Refill Pantry on London Road with their own containers, bags, and bottles to pick up dried foods, herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, shampoos and cleaning products.

Most of the stock is organic, local, and from ethical suppliers. Although some of the goods will be packaged, none of it will be plastic.

Tania Trovatello and Celina Mendoza, who met as neighbours on Charmouth Road, set up the business together.

Celina, 48, said: “At the moment, even if you want to buy your food without plastic, you can’t do it at a lot of shops.

“It is something we feel passionately about and by doing this we hope to raise awareness of the issue and get people doing all they can both in our shop and in their homes to reduce packaging. It’s become so urgent now I think.

“The amount of plastic used over the last 15 years has increased exponentially and it is getting to critical levels - something, somewhere has to change.”

In 2014 Plastics Europe estimated 3.7 million tonnes of plastic was being used per year in the UK.

Twenty five per cent of plastic waste produced in the UK , some 500,000 tonnes, used to be shipped to China but now those imports have been banned.

Tania, 52, added: “It’s more of a shopping experience that harks back to years ago and hopefully it will be more enjoyable than going to a supermarket, filling the trolley, and getting out as fast as you can.

“We will talk to people, build up a local customer base, learn from people who come into the shop about what they want and what their frustrations are, and support other independents retailers as well.”

She said prices will be as competitive as possible, given it is an independent in the city centre.

The women’s ethos was inspired by a book called Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.

Celina is an experienced entrepreneur who has also set up a homeopathy business in St Albans.

The Refill Pantry is set to open next week as soon as it is ready.

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A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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