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Happy birthday to us! Celebrating three years of eco-friendly impact on Maidenhead High Street

Grab the cake and candles, because our shop on Maidenhead High Street just turned three! That’s right, on the 16th of March three years ago our not-for-profit zero-waste shop opened its doors and hasn’t closed them once. 

Since its conception, Filling Good has grown in size, popularity and influence all thanks to the continued dedication of our super customers, volunteers, members and shareholders. 

We started as a humble corner of The Craft Coop in 2019, open two days a week with a limited range of products. We quickly graduated to a bigger pop-up space in the Nicholson Shopping Centre, where we stayed for a few months, meeting growing demands for an eco-friendly, plastic-free way to shop. 

We’ve stayed true to our mission to provide the local community with the most environmentally friendly, ethical, affordable and waste-free products to inspire a sustainable lifestyle. And, any regular customers will know that refill products are the bread and butter of what we offer. 

We’re proud that Filling Good has helped save a whopping 159,297 pieces of plastic packaging since 2020 (figure up to date until the 21st of February 2024)! 

Plus, we now stock 1,822 products from 100 suppliers - 17 of which are local, and 10 operate with fully circular models. 

These impressive figures would not be possible without our cohort of volunteers comprised of zero-waste enthusiasts, Duke of Edinburgh Award participants and students on work experience. A round of applause, please. 

The shop is also a not-for-profit, owned and run by the community for the community. To date, Filling Good boasts 95 shareholders and 64 members with annual membership, amounting to 159 members. The overwhelming support meant the shop did not once suffer an unplanned closure due to a lack of volunteers or dwindling sales. Hooray. 

A big part of Filling Good’s charm is our connection to the community. In the summer of 2021, we launched a Lunch and Learn series of mini-talks, workshops and conferences hosted at the outdoor amphitheatre near Maidenhead Library. 

Our founder Nelly Semaille has also delivered talks in local schools, churches and groups on how shopping zero-waste can positively impact the planet. This is in addition to hosting an environmental quiz for Taplow Church, EcoAction Hub and Face2Face Maidenhead networking event. 

As well as being generous with our time, we’ve also been generous with our charity donations. Since 2021, Filling Good has donated £13,924 to several charities and initiatives, including The Dash Charity, Tree Sisters UK, two carbon compensating projects from Golden Standard and EcoAction Hub’s Share a LoT (Library of Things). The latter won a £1,500 donation in a competition where customers voted in-store every time they shopped - read about it here

At the end of 2022, Filling Good became the first carbon-negative shop in Maidenhead. Of course, we know that paying to offset a carbon footprint isn’t enough. 

We set out to measure and reduce our carbon impact as much as possible before compensating for it. Working with Dave Hampton from TheCarbonCoach, we calculated our carbon footprint as 4.5T per year. About one-third of the average UK citizen. 

This low number is due to the shop’s continued effort to lower our consumption of (renewable) electricity, water, waste and fuel. As we enter our fourth year on the High Street, we hope to inspire many other local businesses to follow suit in reducing carbon emissions. 

Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2023, Filling Good was a finalist in BBC Radio Berkshire’s Make a Difference award for our outstanding efforts in supporting local sustainability. In July of the same year, Councillor Neil Knowles and the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead paid us a visit to support Plastic Free July. He refilled some smoked almonds, praised the shop and promised to return with his wife for further refills (he’s not been back yet, but we’re waiting patiently). 

So, the big question: how did we celebrate? 

With a party, of course! We invited our members, shareholders and volunteers to the shop for a classic potluck party where everyone brought a delicious zero-waste dish to share. Rob’s brownies were a major hit! 

And, as a thank you to our customers, we offered a 10% discount across the whole shop for the whole day, as well as bubbles and things to try. We hope to stay in our spot on the high street for a long time to provide the people of Maidenhead, and beyond, with affordable, ethical and accessible refills and plastic-free products.

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