Green heroes - Maya Gheorghe, Maya’s Refillables
PUBLISHED: 10:16 01 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:16 01 April 2020
Single-use plastic bottles have finally gone from being a convenience to a curse. Taking your own reusable cup to the coffee shop is now applauded and refillable water bottles are a must-have accessory.
But single-use plastic bottles aren’t just limited to those carrying water. Have you ever counted up the amount of plastic bottles you get through in the bathroom? Shower gel, shampoo, conditioner... Then add in the kitchen products too; washing liquid, detergent, hand soap, surface sprays...
Whilst recycling is a must when it comes to the empties, refilling them is a much better option as it takes the plastic from single-use to multi-use. One Berkshire woman is spear-heading a refill-ution and making it easier for local people to make the switch to green when it comes to keeping clean.
Maya’s Refillables, founded by Maya Gheorghe, encourages us to swap our regular cleaning and beauty products to a more eco-friendly option and cut down on our use of plastic.
Maya’s refill station is a regular at both Wokingham and Woodley markets, where you’ll see her customers refilling their empty bottles with eco-friendly cleaning products such as laundry detergent, fabric conditioner, washing-up liquid, eco-shampoos, conditioners and shower gels.
Maya launched the business after experiencing the effect plastics are having on our environment. It was whilst French-born Maya was due to be transferred from her corporate job in Belgium to England that she took some time out to fulfil her childhood dream of working with sea turtles. But whilst working in Greece she saw turtles that had swallowed plastic bags.
“Turtles love jellyfish and plastic bags look just like jellyfish when floating in the sea. It was really heart-breaking to see the turtles at the rescue centre and my wake-up call came when I helped a vet amputate a turtle’s flipper that was tangled in a plastic net,” says Maya.
Maya’s business is going from strength to strength with regulars now visiting her stall at the weekly markets. Not only is it great to see people refill their empty bottles with products, Maya is also providing them with much more eco-friendly cleaning products. “The products I sell are by Sesi, a small Oxfordshire business with a strong sustainable ethos. So it’s great to know that not only are customers cutting down on their plastic use, but they are also using a product that is better for the planet than most of the big brands. Plus it’s local to us here in Berkshire so the green footprint is small,” says Maya.
Just as it’s become the norm to take your shopping bags out with you when you pop to the market, remember to take along a few empty bottles, ready to refill them the next time you hit the market.
“Bring a bottle, as long as it’s a non-food, non-drink bottle. You get charged for the amount you have, so it may be half a litre or three litres. Most of my customers are amazed at how much cheaper it is to fill an old bottle than to buy a new, branded product.”
Maya’s dream is to have a permanent shop on the high street, but right now she’s embracing the fact that she can take her products, and her message, to a wide range of people across the county.
New for 2020 are her Click & Collect Refill Stations. “I’ve got an online shop and people can order and click & collect at collection points in the Reading area. These are at Reading University Student Union (Whiteknight campus),
The Castle Tap in Reading and Brookshire Nursery Business Centre in Swallowfield,” she says.
Maya has also started supplying businesses with 5 litre, 15 litre and 20 litre drums of eco-friendly products. Maya delivers the drums in her electric van and part of the service includes the collection of the empty drums, which are returned to her supplier to be refilled.
Maya has a long list of things she wants to achieve but with the motto “we can do it” firmly in her mind, she is taking on the fight against plastic one bottle at a time.
Interested in an eco-friendly solution for your business? Email firstname.lastname@example.org Get a discount on your first order by mentioning BERKSLIFE20