Mobile: Lauren Redmond mans her refill stall at Remarkables Market


A postponed wedding’s been the launchpad for a Queenstown company
aimed at banishing plastic waste from grocery shopping.

Lauren Redmond resigned from Jack’s Point Clubhouse a day before lockdown, intending to focus more on freelancing in the events sector.

But when the realities of Covid-19 became clear and the borders looked less likely to reopen, the Brit and her fiance, Ray Shimmin, decided to call off their wedding and use their savings to launch New Leaf Refills.

‘‘We had talked about it and always known we wanted to open our own business eventually around a sustainable initiative, then during lockdown I spent more time on developing it,’’ Redmond says.

‘‘It started to snowball and we thought, ‘let’s just go for it’.”

The idea is stop people from using one-use plastic containers, which can harm the environment.

New customers can purchase a bespoke container for their goods they swap out the next time they go shopping, ready to be cleaned and reused for someone else.

Alternatively, customers can receive their goods in a recycled jar in exchange for another used jar, or fill up their own container.

New Leaf Refills has a click and collect option from Arthurs Point or Remarkables Market, but also offers home deliveries.

It launched last Monday and the feedback’s been great, Redmond says.

‘‘There’s definitely a few different pockets of customers … those who have already being doing this and were driving to Bin Inn in [Alexandra] and think ‘thank God I don’t have to make that journey all the time’, then you have people who have toyed with the idea of being more sustainable but really needed it to be simple and didn’t have time to put all that effort in.

‘‘But I’ve also had customers who hadn’t thought of making these changes, they’ve been more inclined by the price, either cheaper or the same as the supermarket.’’

Others, she says, are enjoying the ease of ordering their shopping online.

Her competitive edge over other environmentally-friendly companies is price, with many selling organic products.

‘‘We are focused on good-quality products and great suppliers, but at that lower cost.

‘‘If you are not paying for that packaging, the product should be cheaper,’’ Redmond says.

The aim’s to eventually expand into having a physical store and expand the product range further including, for example, sunscreen in compostable pots.