7 Sustainable Businesses Based in Essex

Leah Martin, BLUEPRINT Communications Lead 17th February 2022

From refill shops to party hire services, Essex is full of eco-friendly businesses helping the county to cut down on waste.

These seven businesses are helping residents find zero-waste beauty products, upcycled furniture, packaging-free food and more!

If you’re inspired by these sustainable Essex businesses, why not check out our Circular Economy Directory? There, you’ll find over 100 green businesses in our UK project regions (Essex, Peterborough, Brighton & Hove and Kent) supporting the country’s transition to a circular economy.

1. Roars and Rainbows, Chelmsford

Did you know, more than 10,000 items of clothing are sent to UK landfills every five minutes? (Elliss) Essex mum and business owner, Lena, is here to turn the textile waste crisis on its head!

Fed up with generic high street children’s brands, Lena set about making her son’s clothes herself. But Roars and Rainbows isn’t just any children’s clothing label; it’s an environmentally conscious brands, using fabrics with multiway designs that can be cut in different directions to minimise waste.

Once Lena has made dresses, dungarees and more, she uses the offcuts to make smaller items, such as pants and face masks. Any scraps that can’t be used are donated to the local school for children’s craft projects.

Check out Roars and Rainbows’ sustainable fashion range.

Face pads made from colourful fabric
Roars and Rainbows uses textile scraps to make new items.

2. The Refill Den, countywide

“A refill shop that comes to you” is the promise from Refill Den owners, Charlotte and Ellie. They’ve founded Essex’s first mobile refill shop, bringing zero-waste products to the county’s rural communities.

Founded out of eco-enthusiast Charlotte’s frustration with having to drive all the way to her nearest refill shop, the Refill Den supplies a fantastic range of zero-waste products. Shoppers can simply buy what they need, when they need it, avoiding any waste. The mobile store offers herbs, spices and food cupboard essentials, as well as plastic-free beauty products and more.

Find your nearest Refill Den pop up location.

Mobile refill shop in a field
Why travel to a refill shop, when a refill shop could come to you?

3. Mission Better, Maldon

Want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle but don’t know where to begin? It sounds like you need some of Mission Better’s eco starter kits! Whether you’re dreaming of a plastic-free bathroom or aspiring to be a plastic-free pet owner, these boxes have everything you need to get you started on your eco journey.

When your kit starts to run out, there’s no need to buy everything again. Check out Mission Better’s booster packs to replace only the items you really need. You can also browse from a range of individual items, including sustainable gift wrap, planet-friendly cleaning products, delicious ingredients and much more.

Browse Mission Better’s eco-friendly range.

Zero waste starter kit, featuring a reusable coffee cup and bamboo cutlery
Get started on your zero-waste journey with Mission Better.

4. Halstead Eco Party Kit Hire, Halstead

Launched in the summer of 2019, this Halstead-based business is part of the nationwide Party Kit Network. If you regularly find yourself left with mounds of rubbish after a special event, why not borrow instead of buying? From plates to decorations, Halstead Eco Party Kit Hire lends tons of items to make your party waste and stress free. The business also collects used helium balloons to be recycled by Terracycle.

Owner, Kate, also runs a zero-waste upcycling business, Indie Kate. There, she sells a fantastic range of eco essentials, including reusable sponges, face masks and more.

Start hiring your party products today.

5. ReVamp Boutique, Colchester

Nearly 22 million damaged furniture items are thrown away each year, and fewer than one in ten Brits make any attempt to repair them (NLWA). All that could change with upcycling businesses like ReVamp Boutique.

Founder and furniture artist, Sarah Ashby-Bassett, has over 25 years’ experience in the world of interior design. Pursuing her childhood reuse passion, she now works with her husband, Simon, using upholstery and design skills learned along the way. They create desirable pieces out of damaged items, helping owners to keep hold of their much-loved furniture that may have otherwise ended up in landfill. 

ReVamp Boutique also sells bespoke upcycled items, including upholstered chairs, cocktail cabinets, tables, mirrors and more!

If you wish you had the skills to upcycle your own items, why not check out ReVamp’s range of workshops? During these sessions, you could learn how to use paint and paper or paint and fabric decoupage to transform furniture and create eco-friendly pieces that are one of a kind! 

Explore ReVamp’s services.

Upcycled chest of drawers with floral pattern
Upcycle your old furniture with ReVamp Boutique.

6. The Ink Bin, Colchester

Becky Baines is on a mission to save the 52 million ink cartridges that end up landfills each year. The Ink Bin offers community collection for all home-use cartridges. Simply purchase your personalised collection bin for your school or business and Becky will arrange for the collection, sorting, recycling and/or reuse of all your old cartridges.

To inspire the next generation of eco warriors, Becky has also produced a range of free educational resources. These include a weekly newsletter, with easy tips and tricks to make sustainable swaps more digestible for children.

Start recycling your old ink cartridges.

Ink cartridge recycling posters
Prevent your cartridges from ending up in landfill.

7. REco Store, Tiptree and South Woodham Ferrers

From beans and cereals to herbs and nuts, the REco store offers all your cupboard essentials without any of the packaging. Simply bring your own container, fill up with as much or as little as you like and avoid any of the unnecessary waste.

And it’s not just food you’ll find in these Tiptree and South Woodham Ferrers stores! REco also offers refillable cleaning and beauty products and a range of reusable items, including bottles, lunch boxes and more. They research all their suppliers and examine their sustainability and ethics credentials, so you can shop without any of the worry. All suppliers use eco-friendly packaging or embed closed-looped systems to cut out waste from the supply chain.

Start zero-waste shopping today.