OUR first open day of the year, Saturday May 12, will forever be remembered as the day that Bicester Green fully joined the refill revolution.

Some of you may have noticed that we are already a water refill station – one of the first sign-ups for Refill Bicester and Banbury – but now we are also a detergent refill station.

Having made the famous green wooden dispensers for SESI over the last few years it seemed a logical next move to actually utilise the dispensers ourselves and sell liquid products: non-bio laundry detergent, fabric conditioner and washing-up liquid, just for starters.

The products themselves are great – made locally, cruelty-free and made with natural ingredients, and of course the most important factor is that you bring your own container to refill.

So far we’ve been steadily busy with local folk bringing in their used detergent containers, but of course you can use any container: we’ve already seen a Port bottle being refilled with laundry detergent.

This has sparked some friendly competition with others around Oxfordshire for the most interesting refill: what’s the most creative refill container you would bring?

As when anything a little bit different is introduced, we have been challenged regarding the price points – £2 per litre for washing up liquid and fabric conditioner and £2.50 per litre for non-bio laundry detergent – so its worth exploring how this compares.

Taking prices from Tesco locally (not on offer, and for comparable size) we’ve found that fabric conditioner comes in at £2 - £5.75 per litre for the main named brand. Own-brand is under the £2 per litre, but experience dictates that you need to use more per wash to get the same result – is this cost effective?

As for competitive ‘eco’ brands, they start at £2.33 per litre. Non-bio liquid detergent is an interesting comparison – £3.18 per litre for own-brand to a whopping £5.72 per litre for leading brand. At £2.50 per litre, we think ours is a bargain.

But it’s not simply about the monetary value is it?

What we’re doing is reducing the impact of single-use plastics, and yes the container cost is included in the supermarket prices, but what price do you put on marine life and the sustainability of our planet?

Bring your used detergent, port, whiskey, wine or whatever container you can think of to Bicester Green to refill, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 5pm.

For details bicestergreen.org.uk