Jessica Moynes March 22, 2022
As Jenny shared in our last blog post, the efficiency of our municipal recycling programs leave something to be desired. Only 9% of what we throw in that big blue bin is reused, and new plastic is STILL added to reinforce the old stuff so it can actually be made into a new product.
I would hazard to say that it is close to impossible to be a completely zero plastic home, especially living in the great white North where local produce isn’t available year round. Every time I stroll the grocery store I can’t help but feel a little hopeless in this single-use plastic battle. I’m sure many of you conscious consumers feel the same! There’s a great quote that always brings me back around to my optimistic self;
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
- Anne-Marie Bonneau
So where do we start? What small changes can we make to our daily habits and regular shopping that can make an impact? BULK. I don’t mean Costco bulk. I mean your local bulk food store and refillery bulk. Stores where you can bring your own containers, fill them, and pay for only the product that you need, not all the extra packaging that is choking out our planet.
Many people are familiar with bulk food shopping. It’s often cheaper, has great selections of baking or specialty food products, and is truly the avid cook or baker’s best friend. It’s also a huge hit with our kids due to the amazing candy selection. ;) A box of mason jars and a few well sealed canisters and you can really eliminate a huge amount of plastic in your kitchen and make that grocery budget go a lot further. (Shout out to our favourite local bulk food store, Burns Bulk Food!)
Shopping bulk for other household items is the exact same.
I’m guessing if you’re anything like my family before we began refilling, there’s a huge laundry jug in your recycling once a month. One or two dish soap bottles. Probably a couple shampoo/conditioner bottles too. Maybe even some “wish-cycling” of a lotion pump bottle or… What if you could use those same bottles for YEARS? What would your recycling bin look like then? I bet a lot emptier!
A little organization is all you need. Like bulk food shopping, bulk refill items are cleaner and healthier for your family, produce nearly zero waste, are environmentally friendly, and are often way more cost efficient than buying the same sorts of products off the shelf or online!
So what do you need to know to get started?
- BYOC- Bring Your Own Container. Bring your empty laundry jug, mason jar, Tupperware container, used pump bottle, or whatever! Looking to replace a bottle or pump? We’ve got you covered there too.
- Choose a product. The options are endless. Laundry soap, household cleaners, shampoo, deodorant, face wash, DIY supplies, etc. You name it! They’re free of harmful chemicals. They’re safe for septics and the environment. They’re Canadian. For a full product list and prices head on over to our Refill Bar page or pop in to see us at the store. ☺
- Choose your amount. Testing out a new face lotion for your sensitive skin? Take a little. Do more laundry than Cinderella? Take a lot! Since we charge by weight, you only pay for what you take.
- Try it out! And celebrate! Every time you refill instead of re-purchase you’re saving a plastic container from being “sort of” recycled or never breaking down in our landfills and waterways. Refill five products, five containers saved. Refill ten products,.. you get the picture.
Try your own recycle bin audit. What containers are filling it up the most? Could your family cut back on that item? Is there a refill alternate you could replace it with? You’ll be shocked by the impact this sort of mindfulness can make. (Pro Tip: this is a great rainy day task for your kids! And no one keeps you more accountable than a relentless six year old. Haha)