Zero-waste company delivers dry groceries without throwaway packaging

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If you fancy having your favorite dry groceries delivered to your door without any wasteful packaging, look no further than WeFill, a zero-waste company founded by Alison McLernon, originally from Northern Ireland.

McLernon (“The Israelis have fun trying to pronounce that surname!”) moved to Israel 28 years ago, armed with a degree in engineering, and worked in finance, completing a master’s degree in environmental science at Tel Aviv University.

Six years ago, just after her third child was born, she realized she “couldn’t work for someone else and bring up three kids.” Today, they are aged 6, 12, and 14.

The idea of setting up a zero-waste grocery delivery service came from overseas. “I would see these shops abroad and felt it was missing here,” McLernon, 49, recalled. “I know you can go to the market, but I ran all over the place and found it was a full-time job to get all the groceries. I wanted to help Israelis reduce their waste and not have to kill themselves doing it.”

WeFill currently stocks around 100 dry products, most of them organic, ranging from edibles such as grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, baking products, oils and spreads, to household and health and beauty lines.

After ordering the goods online, customers receive them in reusable packaging — cloth bags or glass jars — transfer the products to their own containers and return the packaging when the next delivery is made.

Back at the store, the cloth bags are washed, and the jars go to the dishwasher for an intensive clean before being used again.

McLernon, who lives in Azor, a small town in central Israel, currently does everything herself — she’s hoping to employ someone soon to share the burden.

At present, she delivers mainly in the central region, visiting the coastal north of the country on the first Monday of every month, and the Jerusalem area on the third Monday of each month. The WeFill website includes a delivery map.

With most of the products organic, McLernon is currently looking at introducing some non-organic items that are cheaper.

“I’ve got the business up and running,  and now I need to push forward and see where it’s going,” she said.

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