why shop at a refillery

Why Shop at a Refillery?

Switching to an eco-friendly lifestyle can be tricky at times – especially when you must decipher which products are truly eco-friendly and which products are not. 

Refilleries are a great option for those who want to continue using their favourite everyday products, while also limiting their environmental impact. It’s a win, win!

What is a Refillery?

A refillery is a package-free store that sells a variety of products in bulk. 

Customers are able to fill up their own repurposed and reused containers with their desired products. Refilleries help lower a home’s overall carbon footprint as well as limit the use of single- use plastics that would end up in either the landfill or recycled. 

Most zero-waste stores contain a variety of different refillable products like essential oils, skin care, shampoo, conditioner, food products, hand soap and sanitizer, detergent and more.

Why Shop at a Refillery?

Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Plastics made from fossil fuels have only been around for over a century, but their destruction of our planet is unprecedented. We have rapidly increased the production of plastics – but can’t discard them as quickly.

According to National Geographic, plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade – which means most plastic still exists in some form today. 

Many consumers consider a company’s environmental footprint before purchasing products. Refilleries provide a great alternative by limiting not only single-use plastic but also limiting energy and resources as well.  Another great reason to shop at a refillery is that you can control the amount of product you want which helps reduce unnecessary waste. 

To maintain zero-waste status many refilleries return their large bulk containers that contain their products back to the manufacturers when they are empty. This creates a closed-loop packaging system, which essentially means the store is able to reuse its bulk containers continuously. 

We are so lucky here at Random Acts of Green to have some great members who are making a difference in the zero-waste movement! Let’s check out some of these refilleries;

The Green Jar

Located in Toronto, ON, The Green Jar offers a curated range of sustainable, reusable, and eco-friendly products for home, personal care, baby, travel and more. Their shop is stocked with a variety of Canadian-made products that consist of no packaging, all you have to do is bring your container and fill as much as you would like.

The Green Jar participates in a recycling program and is collecting a variety of oral care products and writing instruments on behalf of Terracyle as well as collecting prescription pill bottles, coffee bags, plastic caps, and tags on behalf of Earthub.

They also give back by planting a tree with their partner Our Forest each time an order is placed. The Green Jar wants to help share their passion for the environment with others and show you how to embrace the eco-friendly lifestyle.

The Main Ingredient

The Main Ingredient is one of Canada’s oldest bulk and health food stores, located in Peterborough, ON. 

Since 1979 the owners have encouraged their customers to bring their own containers and jars to fill up their products. The great thing about the Main Ingredient is you can put as much or as little product you’d like. All you have to do is choose your container, weigh the empty container, fill it with product, weigh it at the cash and then finally, pay and enjoy! It’s that easy.

They are all about cost savings! A recent investigation found that many companies are reducing the quantity and sometimes quality of their products but aren’t lowering their prices?! The Main Ingredient will have no part in that! They are staying true to their word and their prices! Next time you are in the Peterborough area, the Main Ingredient is a must-visit.

The Refill Stop

The Refill Stop located in New Westminster, BC is a package-free and eco-minded store. At the Refill Stop you are able to refill all your favourite laundry, body, dish soaps, and household cleaners with your own personal containers that you bring.

The Refill Stop proudly stocks locally made goods to really shrink the distance goods travel & support local. Over 50% of the products they carry are locally made. Another 20% is manufactured in other areas of Canada, and the rest from everywhere else. The Refill Stop services bulk quantities, and delivers locally to businesses, residences, and to your doorstep! 

Many of their suppliers also take back the bulk containers so the store can reuse and refill them too. Start your eco-friendly journey with the Refill Stop!

How to Shop at a Refillery

Let’s discuss how you shop at a refillery – it is important to note that not all refilleries are the same and they don’t always follow the same protocols, that’s why you should do your research beforehand.

Step 1: Many refilleries work with a BYOC which means bring your own container. You can bring any clean and sealable containers you would like whether that’s a glass jar, plastic container, or glass bottle. 

Step 2: Once you have your container the next thing you will do is weigh it, some refilleries weigh them for you, and some you will get you to weigh it yourself –  it is dependent on where you go. It is important to weigh your container, so you are only charged for the product and not the container you brought as well. 

how to shop at a refillery

Step 3: The next step is to fill your containers with your desired products – you can fill as little or as much as you would like! Now, don’t forget to record the product number or product name before you leave the fill-up station – that way it is more efficient for the cashier to ring your order through.

Step 4: The last and final step is to weigh your now full containers at the cash and then pay! It is that simple, you are now all set to enjoy your planet- friendly products, eco- guilt-free.

Now that we have looked at why you should shop at a refillery and how you can shop at one – you are ready to start your zero-waste journey! Start by checking out what refilleries and refill stations are near you.
Let’s help the planet together, one refill at a time.


Emily Woollacott

With a degree in Environmental Studies from Carleton University, Emily knows a thing or two about research, database searching, and creating efficiencies.

Emily plays a key role in discovering new ways to attract more people and businesses to our community.

More Blog Posts:

Act Green, Wear Green

Wear your commitment to our planet and be an inspiration to those around you with our Random Acts of Green Upcycled T-Shirt.

🌎 We may be random, but we're not without purpose.

Connect with our climate action community for resources, events, and steps you can take to protect our planet – starting today.