FRUSTRATION at not being able to buy high-quality cupboard essentials without excess packaging for her family led a Woking woman to set up her own company with the aim of making plastic-free shopping accessible and convenient for all.

Victoria Clunis launched Refill & Refuel two years ago to provide local people with high-quality food products, sourced from ethical, sustainable, and where possible plastic free suppliers.

The company, which stocks more than 100 food products and a range of other items, has entered the Sustainability Impact category in the CREST21 Business Awards.

“Our products are all responsibly sourced; the majority of our food products are organic and we only use reputable suppliers,” Victoria said.

“Around 75% of our food products are packaged in paper sacks/ boxes, these are then reused by us as packaging for orders or donated to local people. For example, some of our paper sacks have been used by local allotments for growing and in composting,” she said.

Refill and Refuel has been operating online during the pandemic and previously had a stall at Woking Market every Saturday.

“One of my main aims is to educate and inform the local community of the plastic alternatives available and encourage others to make these part of everyday life as we have,” Victoria said.

“Single-use plastic is a huge problem and is having a negative impact across the globe, many people are aware of the problem but are unsure how to begin in their own journey to reduce their use. I enjoy conversing with people about these issues and sharing my own personal experiences.”

The company offers local delivery and collections, and through lockdown delivered free of charge to people  are unable to leave their homes.

“Around 50% of our customers collect their orders directly from us, many of whom drop their own containers to be filled with us. The remaining customers receive their goods in recycled paper bags. We deliver twice weekly in and around the local area,” Victoria said.

She was prompted to launch the company from being passionate about reducing my her and her family’s plastic use and also knowing where their food has come from.

“While researching my business idea I found that many people had the same concerns as me and were eager to learn more about an alternative way of shopping.”

Victoria calls her customers her “green champions” and estimates that in the year to January 2021 they saved up to 8,000 items of single use plastic.