An Aberdeen woman is setting great store in her environmental principles as she prepares to open a new shop promoting eco-friendly daily living.
Refillosophy, based in the premises of a former dairy dispensary and greengrocer on the city’s Albyn Grove, aims to get Aberdonians refilling grocery containers and reusing household packaging.
And owner Gina Adie is hoping to foster a community spirit with fresh local produce, products, billboards promoting local events and decorations celebrating the North-East’s natural beauty. Refillosophy is due to open tomorrow (Thursday, July 16) at 10am, with safety and social distancing guidelines in place.
Mum-of-two Gina has been making the effort to be more environmentally friendly since her first child was born 16 years ago, when she chose to buy reusable nappies and baby wipes.
Gina said: “I’m excited to be opening a store that offers plastics-free shopping and also eliminate the use of other types of environmentally unfriendly packaging.
“For many years I’ve been trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle and do my best to change my habits to cut down on waste.
“We all live busy lives, but making conscious choices when it comes to the cleaning products that we use, or the amount of waste created from grocery packaging can make a huge difference.
“The idea for Refillosophy has grown from there. It’s all about making it easier for busy people to reuse and refill, rather than simply recycling.
“I think what has really helped more people understand that it’s no longer enough simply to recycle was the Blue Planet series which highlighted how waste is damaging the planet. It has encouraged more people to look into ways to cut down on single use plastic.
“What has encouraged me to pursue this as a business is seeing refilleries popping up in the North-east. I also think that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a need to shop local and I hope to make it easy for people to make healthy choices when they drop by and pick up food on their way home from work.”
Gina, who worked as a nurse in Aberdeen for two decades, added: “In Scotland, consumers purchase more than 300,000 tonnes of single-use packaging for their groceries every year. With single use plastic causing lasting damage to the world around us, Refillosophy will be offering bags, and sterilised donated containers to customers who may have forgotten to bring their own. With hygiene being a major concern at present, there will also be a sink for customers to sanitise their hands before shopping.”
The carbon footprint of Scots is on a gradual decline – the latest findings show that national household waste is at its lowest since the Carbon Metric was introduced in 2011. While, in Aberdeen, more waste is being recycled than ever before with a total of 47.3% of all waste being recycled according to recent statistics.
Gina said: “What I like about the various refill and reuse shops in the North-east is that we are all supportive of each other because we all have the same goals of encouraging people to be more sustainable in their daily living.”
The shop logo, which shows the globe sitting inside a mason jar, was hand drawn by Gina’s teenage daughter, Rhiannon. Its message highlights the need for everyone to play their part by refilling where possible. External black and white signage pays homage to the old Victorian era street signs throughout Aberdeen. The aprons worn by staff are made from old pairs of jeans.
The 1,000sq ft zero-waste store – the biggest of its kind in the city – is decorated with a mural from local artist Caroline Duncan and a stunning photograph of Bennachie.
Gina’s has also been supported by her husband, Gordon, managing director of networks and communications company Arrowdawn, and their son Ewan.
Old scaffolding boards have been repurposed as shelves stocking items including eggs from Katie’s Eggs in Torphins, dairy from Invercamey Dairy in Turriff, and household items from Taylor Made Refills in Kintore. Refillosophy would be delighted to hear from other local, eco-friendly suppliers.
Customers will also be able to pick their coffee beans, loose tea and fresh fruit and vegetables from Refillosophy’s shelves. The opening of the store coincides with Plastics Free July, a global campaign to not use single-use plastics.