Plastic free revolution at Harborough Market

Published Friday 16 November 2018

Several traders at Harborough Market are making small steps to alter the way they buy, sell and package produce – all inspired by a new market trader.

The driving force for this change has been the arrival at Harborough Market of Beth Lambert, and her company Refill Revolution – who is inspiring traders to reduce the amount of packaging they use – in particular plastic packaging.

Cllr Bannister and Beth from Refill Revolution

Beth’s stall gives shoppers the opportunity to bring along empty containers and have them filled with products ranging from porridge and pasta, shampoo, laundry detergent and washing-up liquid, helping locals to reduce their plastic footprint as well as making more ethical, natural product choices. 

Beth said: “Refill Revolution was born out of my own frustration about my family’s waste. I just couldn’t find alternatives to some of the biggest culprits of single use plastic waste like detergent, toiletries and washing up liquid.  The big supermarkets are not doing enough, so I set myself a challenge to see if the concept of a refill shop would work.  I want to make sustainable shopping mainstream.”

Since Beth has arrived, Boyd’s of Leicester, the fruit and vegetable stall at Harborough Market has cut back on the amount of plastic wrapped produce they buy and is now selling significantly more plastic free, loose items, while promoting a plastic free, zero waste message on social media.

Brennan’s Candy Cabin is urging shoppers to bring in old plastic sweet tins for refilling instead of buying them afresh and in perhaps the biggest change of all, John Ross & Son Butchers has swapped plastic wrapping for paper.

Kris Moore, owner of John Ross and Son said; “We felt we had a social responsibility to try and make some changes to the way we operate. Swapping plastic for paper wrapping is one way that we can demonstrate our commitment to preserving the environment.”

Sarah Ruth Cakes have started a glass jar return scheme, and all traders are offering shoppers the opportunity to bring their own jars and containers in to take produce home in.

Beth added: “You can easily do your regular shopping at the indoor market without any excess packaging or single-use plastic.”

Harborough District Council Leader, Cllr Neil Bannister, who earlier this year took part in the Plastic-Less Planet event, organised by Churches Together, which debated the challenges faced in tackling plastic reduction.

Cllr Bannister said: “I think the more we can do as individuals or businesses to reduce the use of single use plastic the better. It’s fantastic to see passionate individuals such as Beth flourish in Market Harborough where there is a genuine appetite to make a change.”

Harborough District Council has also made some small changes with staff no longer using single-use plastic cups from its own premises. The Council is also supporting the Harborough Plastic Pledge organised by the Eco Church Harborough. Find out more about the Harborough Plastic Pledge by emailing

Harborough Market, which is operated by Harborough District Council, is open 8am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm for the popular Sunday Antiques Market.

Pictured: Cllr Bannister with Beth Lambert at Refill Revolution at Harborough Market