Refill Van comes to Stanwick Lakes

Refill Van comes to Stanwick Lakes

As part of our Natureworks project, we are connecting people with the natural environment and offering opportunities for them to take action to live more sustainably. As part of this, we have invited the Refill Van to regularly visit us at Stanwick Lakes.

Emma from the Refill Van writes:

Our First Visit

“So we had our very first Refill Van visit to the beautiful Stanwick Lakes on Thursday 25th March. I’ll admit that I got even more excited than usual to find out that we’d be able to set up at Stanwick. A favourite walk (and play) spot for our family, we were really looking forward to our first visit with the van.

When Tarn and Ralph the Refill Van arrived, we were unsure of how many customers to expect but things quickly started to get warmed up. Customers were getting really excited about the van and a queue began to form. Many of our regular customers brought their own containers and chose to refill these, but luckily we always carry (home-compostable) brown paper bags and these proved very popular as so many people were newly getting on board with refilling. We’re a chatty bunch at Refill Van and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting new customers. Some had seen us on social media and had come down with the intent of refilling and for some it was ‘a happy accident’ that they found us, as quoted by a lovely lady who had been meaning to try zero-waste shopping for a while.

So what on earth is refilling, I hear you ask?!

A couple of years ago Tarn Bayes experienced a few big life changes, making her seriously rethink how sustainable her lifestyle was. She’d always been passionate about ethical shopping, but it wasn’t always possible or easy to get exactly what she required without travelling. This inspired her to solve this problem for herself, and other people, by setting up the Refill Van. The Van is based in Rushden and Kettering, but serves a large portion of Northamptonshire. It is a weigh-and-pay style household goods ‘refill store’ – with plastic and packaging free products. Along with team members Emma and Adam Mattacola, Refill Van began trading in May last year and has quickly grown in momentum and popularity amongst local communities.


Designed to support sustainability and reduce waste, the mobile shop is stocked with a variety of dried goods including pasta, pulses, beans, cereals, nuts, loose teas and coffee beans. Customers can also replenish things like shampoo and conditioner, washing up liquid, household cleaners and hand soap, while items for sale include a range of bamboo toothbrushes, deodorants, reusable sandwich bags, plus much more. The full range can been seen on the website.

In order to reduce packaging, we sell many of our products by weight. This allows you to refill your own containers with whatever you would like. The containers are weighed before filling, then again afterwards. This means that you only pay for the amount that you need. You can use whatever containers you have in the house – old Tupperware, jars, bottles, bags… as long as it is clean and empty then it can be refilled and save a lot of needless packaging. We do also sell ‘Forever’ 500ml glass bottles for liquids, which you can refill again and again.

We’ll be back!”

~ Emma, Refill Van

The next visit for the Refill Van is on Thursday 29th April 2021, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Natureworks celebrates and supports nature, bringing it centre stage at Stanwick Lakes. Over the next year we’ll be busy boosting the site’s flora and fauna, from water voles to wading birds and reedbeds to riverbanks, through a combination of habitat improvements, natural resilience works, and landscape enhancements. Rockingham Forest Trust, the environmental charity that manages Stanwick Lakes, has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and DEFRA through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund for this project.