By Guest Author|
June 15, 2022|
4 mins read
With Refill Day just around the corner, we decided to catch up with Phill from Fill Refill Co to discuss the importance of refillable options and their fight against single use.
Refill is important.
FILL is built on the principle of refilling over and over and over again.
As a maker, we didn’t want to keep contributing to the problem of plastic waste. We wanted to help find cool new ways to help combat it.
When good options don’t exist, it’s not right to blame consumers. It’s more about asking why makers like us can’t provide. We’re trying to prove that we can provide them! Responsible choices made by us are how we can provide responsible options to consumers. We decided that change had to start here. Part of the challenge has been to prove that it works, that there’s a demand and that it’s worthwhile.
We want to help make single-use plastic a thing of the past and we’ll keep working until we achieve that.
Here’s some of what we do around here to make it happen:
• Nationwide rinse-&-return glass bottle doorstep deliveries with the folks at Milk & More
• Freepost returnable bag-in-box home refills direct from Fillville
• Closed loop 20L refill & returns in collaboration with the coolest zero waste stores, conscious retailers & folks who know what’s up!
• The original 200L bulk returnables for big floor fillers (as above)
• Returnable 1000L IBCs for serious circular distribution since 2019
You can be sure we’ll keep challenging the old ways & working on new ways to refill, reduce waste & close loops wherever we can. Single use is over.
Refill is positive activism. It proves that there are viable alternative solutions to single use. It’s a real way to create change. Millions of refillers have already helped create a new demand for a better way. We need more folks, more makers, more brands & businesses & of course, we need governments to be bold, to encourage refill & work together to find new solutions that don’t feel like a compromise.
Positive action means adding to something other than the problem. Providing a solution that works. We believe a closed-loop, zero waste option is the best option. Closed-loop means that plastic (or glass or metal or whatever) that enters the delivery economy doesn’t leave it unless there’s no other option.
Refill is cool
It just so happens that many of our favourite brands understand refill. They are the most progressive, forward thinking folks around. We’re always amazed that when we reach out to brands we admire to work on collaborations just how responsive, supportive and aligned we are with other makers. They understand the problem, they’re open to new solutions. They just get it.
We received a message way back in November 2018 from Ed, Co-Founder of Wearth. They had never offered cleaning products before and customers had been asking for them a lot. It was really cool that he’d found us. We’ve been lucky that way. People seem to get what we’re doing or they’re seeking a refill brand they can relate to.
Back then Wearth had a growing zero waste department that was getting more & more popular. We’d been growing by word of mouth among a network of incredible zero waste stores around the UK, all of them run by inspirational people keen to make a difference in their local communities. Ed traded mails with me for a few weeks while we worked out if the bag in box home refills could work online. He was keen for us to join the platform and recognised that there were a very limited number of contemporary zero waste cleaning brands around… It turned out there was nobody offering eco responsible bulk home refills, supplied in a closed loop, direct from the maker.
Ed was accommodating about how they would offer FILL REFILL products. We were adamant we’d only ever work in a closed loop with refillables – even online. After all, we don’t want any products to leave our site if they can’t be refilled again.
We hacked the bag in box design in house to be able to offer closed loop refills. Our production manager designed a way to remove the spouts so that they could be washed & refilled & our team has worked hard to design a freepost return for the refill boxes so that the liner bags can be returned to our factory for washing and refilling. It was born out of sheer bloody mindedness because so many folks told us that it might not be possible, but we’ve made it happen – and folks choose it now – because it exists. Now it’s all about perfecting it.
We choose not to sell on any platforms that won’t offer genuine closed loop options, and we’ve turned down a lot of opportunities that don’t align with our refill principles on that basis. However, we liked that Ed & the Wearth team understood what we were trying to do. Together we make it work & they are cool about the returns coming back to our site for refill.
It’s cool to think we were the first products to appear in the zero-waste cleaning department way back in March 2019. It’s a category that’s grown quite a bit – and we’re proud to have kicked it all off with real life return-for-refill.
How to incorporate refills after a life of single use
• Look around at what you currently choose.
• Choose less.
• Choose to reuse.
• Choose better.
• Find out where to refill.
• Start simple & small, switching out one item at a time.
• Research online.
• Visit your local refill / zero waste store.
• If you don’t have time to take refillables to your local store every week, look for responsible ethical online retailers.
Click here to shop the full range of Fill Refill Co products!
Article written by Phillip Kalli founder of Fill Refill Co.