What's the difference?The proliferation of “natural” products in glass or aluminum bottles, or even plastic pouches over the last few years is bananas. Maybe I’m hyper-aware because I own a refill store, but it seems like you can go into any store these days and find a whole selection of hand soaps in glass bottles, refills in plastic pouches, and shampoo in aluminum bottles.
And the truth is, shopping at a refill store is more work. It just is. Bottom line. No matter how simple we try to make it, it is not as easy as picking up your necessities at Target when you’re already there buying a new swimsuit and a bottle of wine. Or when you’re at Whole Foods stocking up on cauliflower pretzels (they are delicious, BTW). Refill stores sometimes equal another stop on your long list of to-dos. Or at a minimum, an extra online order to remember to place. So why bother?
So. Many. Reasons. But I’ll give you my top three:
My two cents...First, refill stores eliminate the waste altogether. Sure, glass or aluminum may feel better than single use plastic, but what if we cut the waste completely?! Just bring your bottles and jars back over and over and over again to be reused. No more trying to figure out if your bottle is recyclable or if what you recycle will ever actually be recycled anyway- just keep using it! Doesn’t that just make so much more sense?
Second, refill stores are typically smaller, and more time and energy are spent ensuring the products we carry align with our values. For example, as a refill store owner, I want to source products from closed loop companies whenever possible. This means the manufacturer takes back the packaging and uses it again – exactly like you will do as a customer, but on a much larger scale. As a smaller business we can be more selective in what we are carrying and nine times out of ten we are going to be a helluva lot more knowledgeable about the products than the kid stocking shelves at your local grocery store.
Finally, shopping at a refill store gives you the opportunity to truly vote with your dollars (and we all know that’s one of the best ways to truly be heard). So, whether your priority is to see plastic production reduced, or to support small business (our shop carries products from small businesses all over Whatcom and Skagit counties), or to stick it to the man, we are here to help.