The Wokingham Paper

PLASTIC FREE HOME: Wokingham’s Refill Station is off to a flying start


By David Lamont

David Lamont
David Lamont

This week we spoke to the woman behind Woodley and Wokingham based Maya’s Refillables…

Tell us about Maya’s Refillables?

My name is Mariana but everybody calls me Maya. I am French and I moved to Woodley six years ago.

Maya’s Refillables was born in April 2019. Its aim is to help people to stop generating new demand for plastic. The philosophy is to provide alternatives that are plastic-free, affordable and as local as possible when possible.

We have a range of cleaning products in large tubs from which customers can refill and around 20 other products that provide plastic free alternatives to things that most of us use on a daily basis.

What reaction do you get?

The reaction has been amazing! Some people had never heard about a refill station but are delighted to discover a concept that is a solution to help reduce their plastic consumption.

Many people tell me they have been looking for a shop like mine locally for a while and are pleased to see me at their doorstep.

Some have heard about Maya’s Refillables via social media or BBC Radio Berkshire have visited my stall in Wokingham or Woodley from day one, no matter the weather!

What are your most popular products?

Definitely the shampoo bar! It’s something that a lot of people have been meaning to try. Bamboo toothbrushes are popular too, as are toothpaste tabs.

What do you think are the three easiest switches people can make?

I could answer toothbrushes, cotton buds and any refillable but in truth it’s not about just visiting Maya’s Refillables. Reducing waste in general (and not just plastic) is a mindset. So I would say always carry a small reusable bag in your pocket, make a shopping list before going out to avoid random purchases and take reusable containers with you to the supermarket.

What items have plastic in them that people don’t realise?

The War on Plastic documentary raised massive awareness about wipes and a lot of customers have commented on them.

When and where can people find you?

At my home shop in Woodley on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It’s always good to give me a call to make sure I’m home first! I have a stall in Woodley Town Centre every third Wednesday of the month and every Friday and Saturday you can find Maya’s Refillables at Wokingham market, typically next to New Look.

Why Wokingham?

Because I live in Woodley. This said, I have been speaking with Reading Borough Council this month and was very happy to see that the motion to move away from single use plastic was largely supported and approved by the Council last week.

Has anything surprised you?

The positive response from the community! When you start a new small business, no matter how much study you do or how passionate you are, you are taking a risk.

What’s next?

The big news is that I am getting my electric van in July! I am running a naming competition via our Facebook page – the winner will receive 15% off their next purchase.

Might we see you/someone else open a permanent shop in Wokingham?

A very interesting question! Quite a few customers have asked the question and it is something I want to consider. The stall is a good compromise and a great way to test the project’s sustainability but I hope to make the move when the time is right.

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Peter Hornsby

Maya is awesome – she’s doing a fantastic job helping Wokingham and the surrounding area move away from plastic, and she’s always so friendly! I particularly recommend the surface cleaner and non-bio laundry liquid, and we’re gradually moving to other refillables as we use up our existing stocks.

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