What is a refillery?
A refillery is a retail store designed to help you reduce your single-use plastic consumption by offering the option to reuse and refill your own containers again and again with household and personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand wash, dish soap, laundry soap/powder, household cleaners, deodorant, face wash, face masks and so on. The concept is to reduce the number of single-use plastics that we, as consumers, buy. At The ReFill, we use a closed-loop system, which means that the containers we receive from our suppliers full of product get sent back to those suppliers to refill and reuse.
Why is refilling important?
A large portion of plastic waste comes from single-use plastics and plastic packaging, like our household cleaner bottles or bath + body bottles.
For example, according to Johnson & Johnson, over 552 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year in the USA. And this is just shampoo, not conditioner, lotion, and body wash bottles or household cleaner bottles like dish soap bottles, laundry detergent jugs, etc.
Refilling reduces waste, specifically plastic waste, and in a time period where we are exponentially producing more and more plastics but are only recycling 9% of the plastic that we throw away, our whole production and consumption system needs to change.
But a simple thing that YOU can do is to ditch the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mindset that mainly just focuses on recycling, and to switch to a “reduce, reuse, REFILL” mindset. By choosing to reuse your containers, rather than recycling them or tossing them in the garbage, we can save resources and energy.
How to shop at a refillery.
Step 1) BYOC (Bring your own containers)
Bring your own reusable containers to the refillery. These can be any type of container (i.e., glass jars, glass or plastic bottles, etc.), as long as the containers are sealable. And if you’re shopping for solid products, like toothpaste tabs or toilet bombs, then you can even bring a bag.
Step 2) Weigh your empty containers
When you arrive at the refillery, you’ll need to have your containers weighed so that you can record the weight of your empty container, also known as the “tare weight”. This allows you to add product to the container and the scale will only show the weight of the product, not the container. Not sure how to do this, just ask for help, we will weigh them for you.
Step 3) Fill your empty containers
Once your containers have been weighed you can start filling them up. Record the name of the product on either the container itself or on your phone’s memo app so we know what products you’re buying.
Step 4) Re-weigh & pay
Bring your filled containers to checkout where we will re-weigh your filled containers & subtract the weight of the container from the total weight, so that you only have to pay for the product. This is where you can let us know what products are in which containers if you didn’t record it on the container itself.
Step 5) Enjoy & repeat!
That's it. Now you can enjoy your lovely, earth-friendly products, and when you’re running low, you can repeat the whole process without ever having to throw away a single bottle!
What is closed-loop packaging?
Closed-loop packaging means that the refill product manufacturer actually takes back the bulk packaging to be refilled at their own facility before sending it back to the refillery, closing the loop and taking us one more step on the path to a circular economy.
Can I refill a plastic container?
Absolutely! Your container does not have to be glass. Since plastic is rarely properly recycled and not renewable, we should treasure it and use it as much as possible.
Which containers should I use for refilling?
Honestly, any container can be refilled as long as you can seal it. Large yogurt containers are great for dishwasher powder. Plastic milk jugs can hold dish soap. Squeeze bottle mustard is perfect for sunscreen. (Yes, Newport, we have refillable, mineral-based sunscreen!) Empty laundry bottles can be used for, well, you get the point. Think outside the box (or bottle, in this case). I mean, really, what else are you going to do with an empty wine bottle?
Forgot your container?
We have some glass containers in the store for sale. We also have a selection of used, clean, plastic and non-plastic containers available for free.
Can I have a sample?
One of the best things about buying by weight is that anything can be a sample size. Not sure you're going to like a shampoo, just buy an ounce or two and try it. This is great for people who shop within a budget as some household/personal care products can really eat into your week's grocery bill. Only buy enough to get you through the week or two and refill when needed.
Does my container have to be empty?
Nope. Running low on laundry detergent, but not quite empty? Just bring in your laundry container, tare the weight, and then refill. When you checkout, we will re-weigh so you only pay for the new product. How great is that!
Where can I find the list of ingredients for the products you sell?
What else do you sell besides refills?
We sell a whole line of sustainable swaps for everyday living such as reusable paper towels, non-disposable razors, Swedish dish cloths, wool dryer balls, bamboo toothbrushes, washable menstrual products, fabric bowl covers, vegan beeswax wraps, washable produce bags, and so on. You can see some of our products here.
Looking for a swap but don't see it in our store, let us know. If we can source it sustainably, we will carry it.
Does it really make a difference if I still have to buy so many things in plastic?
Oh, my, yes! As the saying goes, "We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly."
Don’t let the “zero” in Zero Waste scare you! The use of the word “zero” comes from a desire to contribute nothing to the landfill. The challenge may seem daunting, but we have found that it is surprisingly easy (and incredibly satisfying) with a little guidance. The key is rethinking old habits, making a few impactful shifts, and becoming a more conscious consumer.
If you have any additional questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org