On 1 October last year the newly installed dispensers at Global Refills were brimming with nuts, pulses, pastas, rice and dried fruit. Fresh produce was heaped upon a repurposed table, bread bins were full of freshly baked loaves from Aston’s, and an array of Fairtrade, organic, and local beers and wines lined up neatly.
We opened our doors for the first time that morning as the newest venture from the Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), joining the World Shop, meeting rooms, roof garden, Food4families, and education team.
Global Refills comes as a response to our concern over the excess plastic being used during the COVID crisis, and its impact on the environment. RISC’s mission has always been to raise the profile of global issues and promote action for sustainability, human rights and social justice.
A zero-waste shop fits neatly into that ethos. We will be working over the coming months to highlight the interconnected nature of these issues, both in store and across our social media channels.
A great example of this is Côteaux les Cèdres du Liban – the world’s first Lebanese Fairtrade wine. It’s grown in the Bekaa valley, where wine production has offered farmers an alternative to growing cannabis and opium poppies for the illegal drug trade.
With Global Refills, we hope to do our part to make zero-waste shopping more accessible to our local community. Our aim is to be able to provide a full weekly shopping experience to customers seeking an ethical alternative to the high street.
Together with the World Shop next door, we can offer fresh bread, fruit and veg, all sorts of pantry products from non-dairy milks to tea to chopped tomatoes and tinned fish, as well as household cleaning products, and toiletries—even fair trade and sustainable household basics like socks, stationery, and water bottles.
The marriage of fair trade and zero-waste is a happy one, and we are excited to bring it to central Reading.
Global Refills Opening Hours: 10am-6pm Tuesday-Sunday
Location: 35-39 London Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 4PS
For more information on RISC and our values and activities go to https://risc.org.uk/