Eco-friendly shop brings back scoops and scales to help customers ditch plastic

A new shop is helping customers go back to basics and cut back on using plastics.

Friday, 19th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 7:00 am

The Little Refill Shop was launched by former RAF nurse Angela Scrafton when she struggled to find one like it close to home.

Now the Seaham venture is welcoming visitors as they restock their cupboards with dried goods, household cleaners, toiletries and reusable kitchen items with containers and bags they take along or buy from the store, with free paper bags also on hand to fill food.

Any plastic used to hold produce when it is bought in by the Adelaide Row business is reused or recycled.

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Angela Scrafton, who has set up new Little Refill Shop in Seaham, which sells food where customers can bring their own packaging. Picture: Tom Banks.

Mum-of-two Angela, who lives in Sunderland and has set up the shop with her husband, says the shop has sparked curiosity as people call in to check out how it works and what it offers.

Angela, who also known as Mozzy, said: “I was looking for a shop like this because we were looking to reduce plastic use in general.

“Once you become aware of it, you see it more and more when you go into a supermarket and once you see it, you can’t unsee it, plastics are everywhere you look and how can you avoid it?

“We’ve had a lot of people coming in and saying ‘This is brilliant’ and a lot of people have been in to have a look around to see what we’ve got and saying this is what we need.”

The shop is filled with containers ready for people to dispense the amount they need to buy.

Containers full of pulses, dried pasta – including a gluten free version – fruits, nuts, rice, cereals, seeds and spices and labelled with allergens can be used to fill up bags or containers.

The Scraftons will also offer up fruit and veg grown on their Wearside allotment, while apple cider vinegar, juices and vegan ‘hunny’ and lemon curd made on Dalton Moor Farm near Murton are also stocked.

Angela’s mother-in-law has made a host of reusable cosmetic cloths and kitchen wipes using left over material, and wax wraps, metal and wheat straws and scrubbers are for sale.

Solid shampoos, soaps and deodorants and washable sanitary towels are also on the shelves and containers can be used to top up liquid household cleaners.

Plastic-free items are on sale at the shop in Adelaide Row.

The shop’s location in Seaham was chosen as a better business option than the couple’s home city.

“We live in Sunderland, but here there’s free parking and better business rates,” added Angela.

“It’s also the fact that Seaham has got clean eating places like the Clean Bean and Flamingo Cafe, there are a lot of litter picks down on the beach and the Heritage Coast ran a competition to win a hamper, which they bought from us, and we really liked that.”

Among its customers so far is Linda Hamed, who called in to take a look and left with wheat straws and a cleaning brush.

People can top up their supplies using their own packaging.

“I’m amazed, I think it’s a brilliant idea and it looks excellent,” she said.

“I can’t wait to bring down my own containers.

“There’s a good selection and the prices are reasonable and you can buy what you need, rather than have to buy a big bag.

“This is going back to what it used to be like.”

The shop is open from 8.30am to 3.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10am to 7pm on Tuesdays, 9am to 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays, 9am to 4pm on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

Customers are able to buy as much as they need through the new store, which features dispensers filled with loose dry goods, as well as a host of household items and toiletries.
Reusable wax wraps are stocked alongside a range of other good to help people cut down on their waste.
Household cleaning products, made without the use of plastic, are stocked by the shop.