A REFILL shop hopes to spread the word about cutting down the amount of single-use plastic that affects our wildlife and oceans. 

The Pantry Stocksfield is an eco-friendly refill and food shop based in Mickley, Stocksfield which opened just over two years ago.

Steven Wilde, owner of The Pantry, said he recently made a board showing how many plastic bottles he has refilled since the start of 2022. This mainly consists of local organic milk refills, eco-friendly body care and household cleaning products.

"The board is now changed daily to keep the count going and it would be amazing to surpass the 2,000 mark before the end of 2023," he said.

Hexham Courant: Inside The PantryInside The Pantry (Image: Supplied)

Steven came from an unrelated background, mainly working in accounts-based roles.

"The thought of ever running my own business was merely a dream. After driving past the building for a number of years I could not help but think how the area was missing a "foody shop", or something related anyway.

"Shortly before Christmas 2020, I decided to take a chance after seeing the unit empty. The refill side of it began to take shape not long after opening the shop in April 2021, but really became much more important than I ever anticipated."

As a new struggling business, Steven tried offering more everyday goods such as pasta and rice, on top of local bread, cakes, alcohol, meats, and dairy, rather than prepacked luxury artisan items.

"One of the many benefits of offering eco-friendly products was not only would it get rid of plastic wrappers and stop adding more pollution to landfills and oceans, but actually opened me up to a whole new world of household cleaning and body care products which I was previously unaware of. Not only did it save another bottle, but also eliminated the use of chemicals such as sulphates and parabens. 

"I always felt very strongly that the overproduction and use of single-use plastic is a real problem in the world when you see what it's doing to our oceans and wildlife. The food and drink side of it still exists alongside the refills and continues to grow. I think using as much local produce really sits well with the eco-friendly idea, if not only just to cut down on food miles.


"Hopefully, we can spread the word a bit more. It would be amazing to set up a second shop somewhere where more people could see me. We can all make a difference in our use of plastics, and it doesn't necessarily have to cost us much money, the price of not doing anything is far worse," Steven said.