Unwrapped: new plastic-free supermarket set to open in capital

A new green supermarket is due to open in the Scottish capital, helping customers to cut out excess packaging and plastic waste.

The shop is the first franchise outlet of the Refillery, Edinburgh’s largest plastic-free and ethical grocery store, which was set up three years ago in the city’s Newington area.

The new premises is due to open in Corstorphine, in the west of Edinburgh, in April.

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Refillery founder Kelly Wright says the mission of the business is simple – “to make plastic-free and ethical shopping as accessible to as many people as possible”.

The Refillery store in Edinburgh's Newington area opened in January 2019 and now sees more than 1,000 customers each week

The business stocks more than 1,200 products in store and online and today welcomes 1,000 eco-conscious shoppers each week.

Now Ms Wright has welcomed the firm’s first franchisee, Italian Olga Fatica.

Originally from northern Italy, she fell in love with Edinburgh after a period living in the city a couple of years ago.

Having spent the last few years back in her homeland, renovating a house and creating a permaculture system in the garden, she decided her next project had to be something with an environmental focus.

Kelly Wright set up the Refillery in Edinburgh three years ago and is now welcoming the firm's first franchisee

“When I discovered the Refillery franchise I had no hesitation in contacting them,” said Ms Fatica

“What they have created is an inclusive community space that makes it so easy to shop plastic-free.

“Meeting the team has been great.

"They are all so friendly and knowledgeable and I feel part of the family already.”

Italian Olga Fatica is set to open the doors of her new Refillery store in Edinburgh's Corstorphine in April

Ms Wright said: “By franchising our concept we can help to bring this type of shopping to more people as well as giving someone the opportunity to run their own ethical shop with an established reputation.

“Olga was a perfect fit for us as she shares our passion for reducing waste and protecting the environment.”

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Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “There is growing awareness of the need to reduce the volume of waste we produce.

“It’s great to see more and more stores that sell groceries without single-use packaging.

“The growing consumer demand for greener businesses is working, and retailers that can adapt to market changes stand an excellent chance of being able to thrive.

“By cutting the volume of waste and reducing the amount of material we consume we can make a significant, positive impact on our environment.”

Ms Wright set up the Refillery in January 2019, following a 20-year career in the food manufacturing industry.

Having worked with some of the UK’s largest supermarkets she was left disappointed at the slow pace of change in reducing plastic and packaging, so quit her job to set up her own environmentally friendly grocery store.

The Refillery stores are among a growing number of similar enterprises in the capital and elsewhere as consumers opt for goods with a smaller impact on the environment.

Up to 12 million tonnes of man-made debris is estimated to end up in seas around the world each year.

Synthetic waste takes hundreds – sometimes thousands – of years to decay, breaking down into ever-smaller fragments that can be swallowed by fish and marine animals and cause death or suffering through entanglement.

An estimated one million seabirds and more than 100,000 marine mammals die each year globally as a consequence of plastic pollution.

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