Uncle Fill’s: Shopping Sustainably, 90s style

When it comes to living sustainably, it sometimes feels impossible to know whether we are doing the right thing- if the right thing is even actually a thing.

Relieving of us some of the pressure is Kylie, of Secret Pizza Company fame. Having spent a lot of time researching how to be an ethical consumer, for both her personal life and for the Secret Pizza Co, a family member suggest that she write a blog to educate others on living sustainably. She did one better: she opened Uncle Fill’s.

Uncle Fill’s is the latest shop to open in Castletown, and intends to sell ethical produce, with as little waste as possible. Its name, which references its filling stations, is a pun referencing everyone’s favourite 90’s TV uncle, Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He’s celebrated in the shop, too; a big portrait of him greets you as you enter the shop. This sets the vibes for the whole shop; bright, fun, with music that will make you whip out Shazam. It is the most Instagramable food shop on island, maybe even Britain. It is a far cry from the dingy vegetarian shops with that very specific smell (what is it? beans? must? hippies?) of yore. The shop is welcoming to all- not just die-hard environmentalists.

In the filling stations, the shop supplies pastas, nuts, spices and beans. Kylie is very thorough in assuring that all the produce is packaged the most sustainable way possible prior to shipping to the shop. She admits that some products are shipped in plastic, but this is better than each product being individually wrapped in plastic for the consumer. Uncle Fill’s is committed in assuring that all its waste is responsibly disposed of, again relieving the customer of the minefield of knowing what is and isn’t recyclable within your own area.

The shop is largely supplied by the co-operative SUMA, but Wigan Whole Foods also supply some produce: working with a North West supplier helps with reduce food miles. Excitingly, all sugar sold at Uncle Fill’s is grown in the UK (British sugar- who knew it was a thing?). Beyond the filling stations, they sell canned goods, and Tony’s Chocolonely– the ethical chocolate that you see all over Amsterdam. They sell Ross Bakery goods, which are baked only 1.9 miles away from the shop, in Ballasalla- food mileage which is very difficult to beat. In the very near future, Uncle Fill’s will sell some fresh produce from local farms. There is a limited selection of lifestyle goods, including sponges and soaps.

Downstairs, the shop sells vintage clothing. The clothes are supplied from a UK genuine vintage wholeseller; meaning the shop isn’t just hiking up old charity shop finds. It is a curated selection, and matches the 90s vibe implied by the shop’s name.

Kylie is genuinely committed to making a difference within the community she lives in. You don’t need to have a specific lifestyle to shop at Uncle Fill’s, Kylie emphasises that it is better that ‘everyone changes there lifestyle 5%, opposed to 10 people who change their lifestyle 100%’. Little changes are important, and Uncle Fill’s is providing a means for us all to make some steps for a more sustainable life.

Uncle Fill’s can be found on 7 Arbory Street, Castletown. You can find them on Instagram @unclefills.