If you want to eliminate plastic pollution, recycling alone won’t do the job. You’ve got to use a lot less plastic. For many products, you can replace plastic altogether by choosing glass jars or cardboard boxes. But for the products you still buy in plastic bottles or jugs, wouldn’t it be great if you only needed to buy the container once and then could refill it over and over?
That’s the idea behind #WeWantRefill, an important new petition drive asking retailers to put plastic container refilling stations in their stores to make it easy for us consumers to use and throwaway less plastic.
WeWantRefill is sponsoring this post. We’re working with them because we support the idea of refilling and reusing plastic containers 100%.
Fewer than 40% of plastic bottles are recycled. Instead, they get thrown away, where they can break into chunks and little pieces called #microplastic and easily get into our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
It’s estimated that every square mile of ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it. And no matter what we’ll do, we’ll never get that plastic out of the ocean.
But we don’t need to add to the problem. The key is to prevent plastic waste in the first place. Of course, the most important step you can take is to go plastic-free and use non-plastic packaging as much as possible. But when you do use plastic bottles and jugs, shouldn’t they be refillable?
That’s where We Want Refill comes in. #WeWantRefill is leading a global petition drive to pressure retailers like grocery stores to set up refill stations so it is easy for you and me to refill our plastic jugs an bottles instead of throw them away.
How Does a Refill Station Work?
If you buy food in bulk, you already get this idea. You simply go to the bulk bin and refill either your own container or a bag you can get at the bin. Many traditional grocery stores, food co-ops, and Whole Foods-type stores devote aisles to bins of grains, tea, nuts, dried pasta, cereal, flour, sugar, dried herbs, candy, and more. You simply fill up your container and note the SKU number on a tie or the container so the cashier can charge you the correct price when you check out.
Some retailers also have in-store stations set up when you can squeeze your own orange juice into a bottle, grind your own peanut butter, dispense your own olive oil and honey, and package up your own feta cheese and tofu.
Why not refill shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, laundry detergent, and liquid soap the same way? Here’s how easy it is:
Some retailers offering refill stations already exist. Here’s one in France. It’s called “Day by Day,” and it’s committed to zero waste.
Here’s one in Brooklyn, NY called The Fillery.
Why Do We Need a Petition?
Organizers of the effort say “the whole purpose of the #WeWantRefill campaign is to show retailers and manufacturers that we, the consumer, want change and we’re ready for this technology. Stores will never do this on their own; when we’ve approached them, their answer is that consumers won’t shop this way.”
By signing the WeWantRefill petition, and liking the campaign’s Facebook page, we can show retailers that there is grassroots support for eliminating plastic by being able to refill plastic containers when we shop.
Won’t It Make a Mess?
“The types of technology available makes the mess obsolete,” reports WeWantRefill. “The refill machine recognizes the size of your container and refills it appropriately.” It’s not a hand-pump system, which can be messy, but rather an automated system that makes refilling clean and efficient.
Please Sign The Petition
WeWantRefill is planning to send copies of the petitions to WalMart, Target, and Whole Foods, as well as manufacturers like Pepsi, L’Oreal, and Procter & Gamble to show them there is support for setting up in-store retailers. We’ve signed, and we hope you will too.
And remember: Follow #wewantrefill on Facebook to stay up to date on the latest campaign news.