Cork’s first minimal waste store Twig Refill opened its doors in Clonakilty in August. Part of the Olive Branch Healthfood Emporium, Twig Refill provides a space that encourages and simplifies shopping without plastic and packaging.
Customers of Twig Refill are encouraged to bring their own containers but the store also sells a selection of glass jars, bottles and fabric bags if you do forget to bring your own.
The store is a beautiful space to shop in and boasts over 100 food dispensers with pulses, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cereals, herbs and spices. There is also locally made sour-dough bread baked daily, fresh smoothies. batch-filtered coffee from West Cork Coffee Roastery and superfood treats from Hungry Crow.
Twig Refill creators Olive Finn and Andy Beattie are the owners of The Olive Branch, an independent healthfood shop, which first opened in 2004. “This is a project of passion for us,” explains Olive, “yes it was a risk but once the decision to do it was made, there was no stopping us.
“When the two units directly across from The Olive Branch became available, we jumped at the chance to give this a go and after many months of renovation, research, tears and sweat, Twig opened on August 10 to a phenomenal response from Clonakilty town.”
She continues, “People are bombarded with images of how single-use plastic is destroying our beaches, seas and land and wildlife. Consumers have had enough and are now ready to make changes to the way they shop. Going back to the old-fashioned way is brilliant. You can take your time, think about what you need and how much you need, and bring your own reusable containers.”
In Twig Refill, olive oils, apple cider vinegar and soy or tamari sauce may be refilled from stainless steel containers. There is also a wall of dispensers providing refills of household cleaning products and some skin and hair products and ‘Who Gives A Crap’ toilet paper is made from 100 per cent compostable bamboo fibre.
Reverse osmosis filtered water is available on the shop floor where customers may bring in a bottle and fill up, encouraging people to stop using single use throwaway plastic water bottles.
“One of the most important features in Twig for me is the water refill station,” says Olive passionately.
Andy and Olive are proud of the new addition to Spillers Lane. Both businesses are run by the whole family, with sons Alasdair and Corry taking the helm in Twig. Olive says, “Our kids and their friends are the generation that are going to make the positive changes our world needs; we have learned more from their feedback than from any other research. Minimal Waste is a movement that demands support from each and every one of us; small changes can make a big difference.
Twig Refill also offers the full range of Georganic Dental Hygine requirements, all female reusable sanitary needs, Hanna’s Beeswax food Wraps to use in place of cling film, and Warrior Botanical Deodorant refills. Twig carries the full range of the very popular Chilly’s bottles, which keep drinks warm or chilled, as well as a beautiful selection of 100 per cent Stainless steel food grade Elephant Box lunch boxes, containers and water bottles.
There have been many changes since the The Olive Branch Healthfood Emporium first opened its doors in 2004, but the ethos and the atmosphere are still the same.
“Small, family-run independent businesss are what make a town. Small communities supporting independent family run shops are what creates the magical atmosphere that exists in The Olive Branch and all other small business,” Olive comments.
The Olive Branch is a healthfood shop, but Olive likes to think of it as an old-fashioned grocery store with a difference: “We focus on health and well-being. We live the life we endorse.”
Much work and research goes in to every product on the shelves. There is a strong emphasis on sourcing decent, healthy organic food, with as much locally grown food as possible, and the owners are passionate about engaging with everyone who walks in the door.
“At the centre of almost every town in Ireland is an Independent wholefood shop. These shops are naturally engaged with and active in encouraging a healthier society and always supporting a cleaner more sustainable environment,” Olive concludes.
For more information please visit www.theolivebranch.ie.
The Olive Branch regularly hosts informative events for customers including to educate and encourage new ways of becoming less dependent on plastic and packaging.