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The Selkie Collective Eco & Refill Shop - What's it all about?

Eco shops are becoming more and more a feature of our shopping physically and online. They come from a need to take care of the planet, which means choosing plastic free, sustainable and ethical products. Refill shops operate a system where customers refill their own containers brought into the store, leaving with the product, but no new plastic vessel - be it a bottle or bag.

How did it all begin?

Before we started The Selkie Collective we were both choosing to buy low waste options like wax wraps, bamboo toothbrushes and cloth wipes for our children. We were buying our eco choices online, getting them shipped here individually and thought of all those others here on the Isle of Skye and surrounding areas who were doing the same. We could see the global plastic problem in the news and locally too on our beaches, we know plastics are not always recycled when they should be and that they can be shipped across the world to landfills. We wanted to provide the option of buying these things locally and show how eco swaps can be made in our daily lives.

There are many people here in Broadford, and Skye & Lochalsh that are conscious about their habits and are committed to reducing waste. We decided to start The Selkie Collective as an idea in spring 2020, over the summer we unpicked all our ideas and decided to start simply with a stall at a local market in the September. Our ideas and products were received with enthusiasm by the community, so when we had the opportunity to take on the lease of the shop we decided to take a leap of faith. Having a permanent premises meant that we could offer our local community the chance for regular low waste shopping in our area.

The Selkie Collective Eco & Refill Shop

The refill options in our shop for basic household products include cleaners, laundry liquids, hand soaps and shampoo & conditioner. To help people transition to a low waste lifestyle we stock items such as beeswax or vegan wax wraps, cloth bags and compostable sponges.

At The Selkie Collective we value honesty, passion, kindness and equality. We want to play our part in taking care of the planet, so we try to select sustainable, ethical, nontoxic, biodegradable, cruelty free, and organic products to ensure what we sell aligns with our values.

We both have a passion for caring for our planet and understand that this can sometimes feel very daunting. When you start your low waste journey, you can feel isolated because it's so different from the mass consumption system we live in. It is very inspiring to be in contact with like-minded people, it helps us all move forward. When starting your low waste journey, it may feel overwhelming, it is a lot of changes, but our advice would be to try not to overdo it or overthink it. Start with something that looks easy to do, do it, and once it becomes a habit then take another step.

The word zero-waste is intimidating because it says “zero,” instead, people should talk about a low-waste lifestyle. A quote by Anne-Marie Bonneau sums it up “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly".

When you come into the shop, you will see household and body care refills, these are plant based, biodegradable and most often cheaper to buy. We sell a range of soaps, cloths, brushes and bamboo toothbrushes, we also sell reusable sanitary products and children’s eco themed books. We are always happy to hear people’s suggestions or ideas on products and brands, so please do tell us.

Many of you will now know that the immediate future for The Selkie Collective is to provide plastic free dried food. This is thanks to funding from Zero Waste Scotland's, Islands Green Recovery Programme with support from the Scottish Government. It means that as consumers we will not end up with single use plastic food packaging for things like nuts, seeds, cereals, pastas and rice. Instead, your containers can be filled up with your chosen food, in the quantity you want. We are thrilled this way of shopping is now available not only in Broadford but across the island. No longer do we have to put up with the buy and throw away model that has existed in our communities up till now.

We honestly believe that we should all consume less and those things that we do consume should be conserving energy and resources and creating a sustainable world.

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