Refilling: What does it really save? Maybe you remember a day when food items were purchased or even delivered in a reusable container. Maybe you are like me and don’t have a memory of the days of refilling. It seems like there is a new movement to bring us back to those days of less packaging. The zero waste community has an ever-growing presence. It seems opposite of what I was raised with being a child of the single use revolution. Everything I carried to school, from early days through college was in a ziplock bag. Refilling it, what does that really save? That was the attitude for a long time. When I was about 22, maybe 23 rinsing out a plastic baggie in the sink when a friend asked me why I was rinsing it out; “just throw it away”, he said.
(The picture to the left is the LA River, California, USA)
I silk screened these beauties by hand to raise funds for my travels across the country.
Before I proceed with the story, I’d like to set the tone of the time. I was a college kid most days, the other days I was following the Grateful Dead around the country for more months than I recall [that’s a whole nother set of stories].
Angie (pre 2000):
Eco-activist – NO
Green girl – NO
I’m not really sure when the term “green” or “eco” entered my vocabulary. Back to the story…..
THROW IT AWAY!But it’s still works, I said. That zip still locks. It holds water, has no holes. Why would I throw it away? Granted I had thrown away millions (maybe bazillions) by that point in my life but not today! I knew in my gut that reusing it was the right thing to do. Why did I know that you might ask. I don’t know. Just somewhere in my gut, I knew it was wrong to throw this perfectly good item away after barely using it.
Think how many times you took a dry sandwich out of a plastic ziplock sandwich bag and tossed the baggie away. I know, it makes me cringe too! I’m not bringing it up to scold us but to make the point of how reusing is just a different way of reacting to the norm. It was the “norm” to throw away these type of things. It used to also be the “norm” to smoke in hospitals. You get me my point, right? Habits, yes they can be hard to break but they can be broken.
I’M NOT A PREACHER: I was compelled to write this today as a reminder to myself why reusing things really matters. This is in the LA River! Why packaging really matters. Why refilling matters! My industry, laundry; is no different than the plastic bag industry. The main products are consumed and disposed of after basically one use. Yes people get crafty, rinse them out and repurpose them into cool things or refill them over and over again until it no longer works as needed. Whether it’s plastic bags or plastic laundry bottles, we use and toss waaaayyyy to many of them!
BETTER WAY, YOU INTERESTED? If no, then I appreciate you taking time today to stop by to read my thought of the day. If yes, please continue reading. Similar to that day many years ago, I struggle in my business with packaging and what that really means. Packaging is necessary for almost every item we can buy. How can a manufacturer or reseller sell something without any packaging, well; it wouldn’t be easy. I would prefer it but have yet to figure out how – that discussion is for another day.
Plastic is found is most packaging today and we discard it as quickly we as get the item home. How many to-go containers have you used this month? This year? I carry an on-the-go bag in my car full of items that would normally require a single -use items when I’m on the road. Again, I digress. I will happily share the bag details another time. It plays into my point that disposable packaging is everywhere, in all points of our lives. In my gut, I knew there had to be a better way.
as seen on Tangie bathroom cleaner ready-to-use spray bottle
I started out making and selling liquid laundry soap, just like the big wigs. It didn’t take long for me to wonder where ALL those plastic bottles were going. Why was I always filling new bottles? Why couldn’t I be refilling those nice, strong sturdy bottles I chose to fill the first time? Not an unreasonable question, would you agree? They were manufactured to be used more than once. In response, I implemented a “bottle return program” to make myself feel better, only receiving some bottles back; but not nearly enough.
THE REAL SOLUTION: The day I realized I didn’t want to be a plastic bottle dealer was the best day for myself and my business. That epiphany forced to me reformulate my liquid laundry into a paste form so that the consumer could dilute it at home, using their own container and water. BRILLIANT right?! I think so. It’s really very simple. Drop a small 5.5-ounce bar of laundry paste into a gallon of water and within a few hours, you have made your own liquid laundry soap. All ingredients are completely natural, thoughtfully sourced and handmade with love.
WHAT IS SAVED? By reusing and refilling a plastic gallon jug time and time again will drastically reduce the number of plastic bottles in our limited landfills. I KNOW what you’re thinking, “but Angie, I recycle my bottles.” That’s great but recycling is not the answer. It still takes a lot of energy to ship empty bottles around to be cleaned, reprocessed, reformed and then shipped back to the manufacturer to fill it again for us to drive back to the store and buy that bottle AGAIN.
The cycle can be changed and we can do better. Simply refill it. Refill your big, beautiful, sturdy laundry containers with a refillable laundry soap. As of this writing, there are only three other retail companies offering refillable laundry soap (I’m hoping that number increases dramatically)
LOOK AT THE MATH: If HALF of the households in the USA refilled there laundry bottles using Tangie Laundry Paste, we could reduce the number of bottles being tossed (or recycled) by close to ONE BILLION. Yes, you read that right! ONE BILLION BOTTLES will be reduced from our landfills or recycling centers in just the USA. That is huge! The habit of refilling laundry bottles is something we can call do.
It’s simple, just 5 easy steps:
Will you make the switch to refilling what you can?
If so, share with me here (or on IG, fb or tweet me), I love learning new things. I also love engaging on social media. It’s a powerful place for us to share are ideas. Join me in #reducingabillionbottles, we owe it to the next generations.
Angie Ringler xoxo
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please join my mission to improve the world one load of laundry at a time. I believe It all begins with a ripple. Read my story how of I went from cubicle girl to steward of the entire planet, loving most of it along the way.