The Refillery Is SA’s First Eco-Friendly Supermarket

In a world full of complainers and other more genuinely disempowered people, it’s refreshing to encounter people who are actually making a difference.

Following through on their distaste for current consumer and thus environmental realities, the good folks at The Refillery in Fourways, Johannesburg, have established a retail service that makes The Body Shop look like a bunch of amateurs!

Yes, that’s right. Fourways, in Johannesburg. But don’t stress – we could just as easily have said “Hatfield, Pretoria,” because these people have had the savvy to actually enact a functional, nationwide delivery service. Not only that, but they boast delivery to your door in an average of three days tops. Shout out to Tannie Mara in Hendrina! Tannie sal moet ‘n bietjie langer wag, hoor? But for those of us living in civilization, two or three days to anywhere in the country is pretty impressive. Real FOMO can grip you starting mid-March, when the company will throw open their current warehousing and operational base in Cedar Square and launch an improved retail, walk-in store on the premises. Most clients walk in already, but it’s being jooshed up as a pukka retail outlet.

What does The Refillery sell exactly?

No plastic. The end. Ok, jokes aside, plastic packaging being the curse of the earth, and especially its marine life – thanks America for dumping your trash in our ocean, you morons – The Refillery rolls from a base of zero plastic packaging and extremely minimal typical retail waste. The online store lists beans & pulses, baking goods, cereals, dried fruit, pastas, herbs and spices – the list goes on. But what makes them different, is that you’re expected to bring your own containers to take your goods home in. Just starting out with sustainable living? No sweat. The store can give you your purchases in recycled brown paper bags too.

The whole idea of the store is for a retailer to both stock and perpetually supply locally-sourced (95 percent of their products are), preferably organic, unpackaged goods. Glassware is big, and consumers who want to shed plastic packaging and move towards a more intelligent and sustainable way of living have taken to the shop like bees on honey. Old school milk bottles, jam jars and other reusable solutions for storing and packaging abound, and the company is unique in it’s establishment of a wholly unpackaged product supply portal , which also performs national deliveries. That’s really putting your money where your mouth is, and so far it appears that retail shoppers are giving The Refillery a huge thumbs up.

Plastic bags are welcome in-store, if you’re reusing them, so there’s none of the snobbery, just really good, healthy produce. For the organically inclined, most products are indeed organic, and the drive of the store is to keep searching for local, organic products to replace those that are currently not organically grown. The whole weigh-and-pay grocer model is mushrooming globally, as people awake to the sadness of litter, and the far deeper sadness of majestic ocean and other wildlife choking or strangling to death on our plastic rubbish. Is it any wonder that aliens just keep flying past, looking down at the filth and down-line death humanity enacts every day?

Apart from home deliveries that you can order online or over the phone, The Refillery also offers a call & collect service. Call ahead and swing by later for wholly guilt-free shopping. That alone makes them unique too.

Refilling is green living

The Refillery kicked off as a logical, at-home response to the seemingly interminable problem of consumer refuse filling our oceans and polluting beaches. To be more accurate, it becomes consumer refuse because companies package according to their needs (read: cost-consciousness) without concern for where all of that packaging ends up. Even if shoppers are diligent in their consumption, plastic wrapping, containers and bags still end up in the refuse system, and ultimately end up contaminating the environment.

If the term “non-biodegradable, single-use plastic” is starting to weigh on your consciousness, it might be time to set up standing orders at The Refillery (you can buy glass containers of every size from them too) and make your monthly grocery shopping completely green in a single leap. You’ll be in good company, as even President Ramaphosa, along with Environment Minister Edna Molewa, recently announced the “‘Source To Sea” initiative, that’s geared up to limit the plastic pollution on South African beaches. In the company’s own words, they’re “helping to make a difference, because there is no plan(et) ‘B.” All the shift needs to make a huge difference is green-friendly shoppers, just like you!