Journey to Waste Free Living: Shopping at a Refillery

At Lil Helper we are all about small steps to waste free living. Just like the world of cloth diapers or reusable menstrual pads, if you’ve never done it before, some steps to waste free living can seem overwhelming. So we asked our friends at Lite Foot Company to share their knowledge with us. If you’ve ever wondered what a refillery is, or are looking for a way to cut way down on your household waste, look no further!

By: Jan Boroff Miller

Making Waste Free Easy: The Start of Lite Foot Company

The first steps in making positive life changes are typically the most difficult. Converting to a sustainable lifestyle is no different. With a plethora of “green” products in shops around the country, it can take a great deal of time, energy and research to pinpoint items that work and are made from eco-friendly ingredients without falling prey to green-washed marketing ploys.

Fortunately, zero-waste stores and refilleries, like Savannah, Georgia’s Lite Foot Company, are here to assist customers in finding the best sustainable products to help reduce their home’s carbon footprint.

Lite Foot Company is a sustainable home-goods store and Savannah’s first refillery. Its owner and founder, Katie Rodgers-Hubbard, has been on a mission to eliminate single-use plastics from her home for over five years. Using her own experiences and expertise, she opened Lite Foot Company in 2021 and curated a collection of environmentally conscious products that will help customers reduce their household’s plastic consumption.

What is a Refillery?

If you are unfamiliar with the term “refillery,” it is essentially a package-free store that provides customers with the unique opportunity to rid themselves of unnecessary plastic packaging all together. Consumers are encouraged to bring their own containers to these shops and fill them with the desired product. At Lite Foot’s mobile refillery, shoppers are able to refill bottles and jars with their favorite shampoos and conditioners, all-purpose cleaners, hand and dish soaps, laundry detergent, and much more!

Why should you consider shopping at a refillery?

Waste generated from plastic use is a major issue facing consumers around the world. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the global population produces 300 million tons of plastic waste annually. These staggering numbers are due to the rapid increase of plastic production that has taken place since the mid 20thcentury.

Additionally, the Nature Conservancy reports that 50 percent of plastics produced are defined as “single use” products, and 11 million tons of plastic waste will make its way to the oceans annually.

To combat the massive amounts of waste associated with single-use plastics, there is a rise in government agencies and individual companies taking action around the world. As of July 2021, the European Union has disallowed many single-use plastic products from the EU market, including items like plastic cutlery, plates, straws, and more.

While there are not as many government restrictions on single-use plastics state-side, we are seeing the rise of zero-waste stores and refilleries due to consumer demands.

“The first zero-waste store opened less than a decade ago in the United States,” said Lite Foot owner, Rodgers-Hubbard. “Now there are hundreds, and 80 percent of those shops opened in the last three years.”

Customer demand for sustainable packaging is definitely making waves and leading companies to implement positive change. According to a report completed by NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, sustainability marketed products accounted for 54.7 percent of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market growth from 2015-2019.

The report went on to say, “Sustainability-marketed products grew 7.1x faster than products not marketed as sustainable.”

With more and more consumers looking for opportunities to eliminate waste from shopping routines, refilleries are primed to meet their needs with a zero-waste experience.

So, what can you expect when you go to a refillery?

Lite Foot Company is happy to provide you with an overview of the purchasing process for zero-waste products at our mobile refillery.

First, you’ll need to consider packaging. You can bring an assortment of receptacles from home and thinking outside the box is encouraged. Rodgers-Hubbard said she’s seen customers bring in a wide variety of containers including jars, wine bottles with stoppers, ice cream buckets for powdered items, cereal boxes to hold detergent pods, and even a Jack Daniels handle with liquor pourer to refill dish soap. If you forget packaging, Lite Foot Company has a “free bin” of various containers to choose from, or they sell jars and tin bottles to fill up and reuse on future visits to the store.

Next, you’ll weigh your empty receptacle on a scale located next to the refillery items. Write the bottle’s beginning weight and product name on a label provided by the store. Then proceed to fill the bottle with the desired product and re-weigh the full container, noting the new weight on the label.

Finally, you’ll present your filled bottle to a Lite Foot Company employee, who will charge for the product based on the difference in the beginning and end weights.

Where can I find a Waste Free Store like this?

Lite Foot Company currently operates out of a mobile truck, visiting a variety of markets and pop-ups, but they also plan to open a brick-and-mortar shop in Savannah by May or June of this year. The store front will provide customers with regular business hours and an expanded inventory of refillery items. LFC’s new space will also allow the business to host package-free markets in collaboration with local farmers and vendors.

If you live outside the Savannah area, you can shop at Lite Foot Company’s online store. While not all items sold online are package-free, there are products that allow for returns and refills, such as the Plain Products shampoos, conditioners and body washes or the Meloria laundry detergent. And of course, Lite Foot ships all orders using recyclable materials.

You can also search the database compiled by Litterless to find zero-waste stores and refilleries in your state and start exploring package-free shopping opportunities near you.

For more information about Lite Foot Company and resources on reducing your carbon footprint, check out our blog or follow us on social media.




BIO for Lite Foot Company

Lite Foot Company is a sustainable home-goods store and mobile refillery established in January, 2021 by Katie Rodgers-Hubbard.

Its mission is to support customers on their journey to a sustainable lifestyle. Lite Foot Company believes the choices of individuals matter, and the more people who decide to purchase and utilize environmentally-friendly products in their homes, the more impact we will collectively have on the health of the planet. Lite Foot Company is here to help shoppers find the best products to reduce their carbon footprints. We are proud to assist shoppers in making sustainability simple for their households.

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