The zero waste lifestyle has gained popularity in recent years because of the waste crisis. The average American generates a whopping 4.9 pounds of waste per day, resulting in 292.4 million tons annually.
You’re probably familiar with the 3R’s of zero waste living “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” but there’s another R that can help you eliminate even more plastic waste - “refill.”
The refill concept is not new. Before the 1950s, milk was delivered in reusable glass bottles, which were then returned and filled the next day. Today, refill shops are following a similar model for a wide range of household products.
What is a refillery?
A refillery is a low waste store that helps you reduce your single-use plastic consumption by offering the option to refill your own containers with everyday essentials like home cleaning products, bathroom essentials, kitchen supplies and more.
Why refill when you can recycle?
Recycling isn’t always as effortless as we think. In fact, only 32.1 percent of recycled materials are recycled while the rest ends up in oceans and landfills.
Refillable options can make a huge difference. For one, you are reducing the amount of plastic that your household consumes and choosing to reduce your overall foot print. In addition to reduced waste, refillable options can end up being cheaper. If you’re not paying for packaging or shipping, you’re bound to see your dollar go even further every time you shop.
For instance, when you run out of soap, you can keep your reusable dispenser and refill it at your earliest convenience instead of throwing it away.
What kind of items are available to refill?
At a refilllery, you can restock any container with anything from dish soap and laundry detergent to shampoo and conditioner, to skincare products like moisturizers and essential oils too.
But they don’t just carry liquid products, you can find solid products like powdered dishwasher detergent, hand and body soaps, shampoo bars toilet bombs, and more. Zero waste home accessories are also available including cotton swabs, washable duster, wool dryer balls, beeswax wraps, etc.
To save money and unnecessary shopping trips, you can bulk products at the refillery.
How does the Refill Process work?
Refilling products at low-waste store is easy.
Step 1: Grab a container
Before visiting a zero waste shop, remember to bring your own container but you can always purchase more jars at the store.
Step 2: Weigh your container
Most products in a zero waste shop are charged by weight. First calculate the weight of your container so it can be removed from the final cost of the product.
Step 3: Fill up the Container
One advantage of zero waste shops is that you can tailor your purchase. This means that you can fill your container with the exact amount of product that you need.
Step 4: Final Weigh in
Take the filled container back to the scales to check the new weight. This, minus the weight of your empty container, is what you’ll pay for.
How to find a refillery near you
While refill stations have become staples in some cities, they aren’t available everywhere. To find a refillery in your local area, you can run a quick Google search for “Refillery near me” and see what pops up.
Other ways to live a low waste lifestyle
Now that you’ve discovered the wonderful benefits of using a refillery, here are a few tips to make your home more sustainable.
It’s well known that single-use plastic is responsible for the plastic crisis plaguing our planet. Use your own reusable items, like cutlery, water bottles, coffee cups or cloth napkins, to reduce the amount of plastic waste you create every day.
Embrace secondhand style
The fast fashion industry is one of the largest producers of waste. Rather than buying brand-new clothing from fast fashion stores, shop for secondhand clothing at your local thrift stores and flea markets.
It’s a great way to discover unique pieces and save the environment.
Buy loose produce
These are vegetables and fruits that are not packaged. Buying loose produce can cut down on plastic and reduce your environmental footprint as they’re often sourced regionally or locally. It’s also leads to less food waste, as it makes you more conscious of what you’re buying.
Compost if you can.
Much of the food waste we produce in our kitchens, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, are compostable materials. Composting provides a way not only to reduce waste, but also of converting it into a useful product. Whether you have a home garden or indoor plants, compost is a great way to mulch your soil.
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to low waste living. It’s an accumulation of daily actions that adds up to the bigger picture. By switching to refillable products and minimizing waste in other areas of your life, you can play a role in saving our planet.