Local business refills home, body care products to help customers avoid single-use plastic

Dayton mobile shop owner shows how little changes can make a big difference.

A mobile shop in Dayton lets customers refill containers instead of continuously buying home and body care products in single-use plastic bottles.

The Reduce & Reuse Refillery reflects a growing market for businesses that help people avoid plastic waste and build more sustainable shopping habits.

Shop owner Megan Hudson said she hadn’t planned to launch a new business during a pandemic, but after a furlough from a corporate job she started thinking about what was important in life.

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She said the business fits her values and helps people find ways to be sustainable in a way that works for their life. She’s been doing some promotions to benefit YWCA Dayton and hopes to find more ways to help local organizations.

“I’m just enjoying how everything’s going right now and the support from the community. Dayton is a really great city to have a small business,” Hudson said.

The mobile truck travels around the region and the schedule is updated on Facebook, Instagram and at reducereuserefillery.com. People can bring a rinsed out shampoo bottle or other container from their house, or can buy one from the Refillery.

Customers pay to refill laundry detergent, shampoo, facial toner and more. The shop also sells other similar products like biodegradable dental floss, dryer balls to replace one-use dryer sheets and reusable mason jar lids. The business also has online order and delivery.

Zero waste movement

There’s been a growing market for these types of services to reduce waste and packaging.

The market is partially fueled by people who want a better option than trying to recycle plastic after a use. The majority of single-use plastic is not recycled or recyclable. The EPA’s latest estimate reported 28% of landfill waste (82.2 million in 2018) comes from packaging and containers.

The zero waste movement and efforts to reduce plastic has also been boosted by social media groups promoting awareness and tips.

Similar mobile refill stations have taken off as concepts particularly closer to the coasts, but Hudson wanted to launch an option close to home.

Hudson says she sees a mix of people who are new to the habits and who are highly seasoned in sustainable practices.

“I have both customers that are super granola and they’ve been trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. And then I have people that are coming new to it,” she said.

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One thing that is important to her, she said, is to help people understand that it’s not an “all or nothing” approach and that it makes a difference to even make a few changes. And she can help people think through what those workable changes might be.

“You can do the the normal things that you do in life ... if there’s something even little that you can change, that’s always good,” she said.

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