Introduction to Refilling

It all seems quite simple – refilling a container. Unfortunately, our society tends to buy new containers for lots of our everyday products. Imagine that we bought a new tank everytime we had to fuel our vehicle. Because it is not an everyday experience we thought it would be smart to offer an “Introduction to Refilling” Guide. It almost seems revolutionary doing something like refilling, reusing a container, using a reusable shopping bag, using reusable menstrual products, etc.

This post goes along with some of our other posts about the subject like Zero-Waste Shopping and our Bulk List (check out what we have to offer you in bulk).

We also put little reminders around the store on products that can be refilled. They look like this and it reminds you which products can be refilled.

Introduction to Refilling

Step One: PREPARETare Sign

No, you are not going into a war zone but you are going into unfamiliar territory. A map or guide helps just like reading about a hike before you go and do it prepares you for the obstacles that you may encounter our introduction to refilling guide may help you obtain the BEST results.

Check out our bulk list to find out what kind of things you can refill.

Bring your reusable carrier (shopping) bag to carry all your purchases home.

Step Two: Containers

Find some containers to take to your local bulk store.  There are containers and then there are containers. The best containers are ones that best suits the needs of the owner – durability, refillability, size (overall volume and opening size), usability, etc.

If you are going to ask for essential oils to be refilled they need to be glass AND 7.4mL or larger.

One of the things we have to be conscious of at our store is cross-contamination. This could be food allergens, germs or just dirt. You need to bring in clean and dry containers to refill to help us and our other customers reduce the likelihood of any cross-contamination. We specify dry because moisture can be a contaminate – as in coconut oil, dry products, etc.

We have lots of people use mason jars for refilling. These work very well for many of the products. We love it when people REUSE containers because then another container or bag does not have to be manufactured and the container is used many more than the one time. A plastic dishwashing liquid bottle works well for what it does for MANY years. It can be REFILL and used for a long time thus honouring the resources that went into making it and transporting it to the store where it was bought. We really like REUSING.

We do have some containers that people have dropped off for reusing but it will be your responsibility to ensure that they are clean enough for your standards. We do not assume that they are sterile or not contaminated. We also have some new containers – mason jars, bags and such at the store but we do really encourage people to reuse items they have from home rather than buy a new item.

Step 3: Weigh

We sell all of our bulk items by weight. When you bring in a container you need to have it weighed by one of the staff so that you do not get charged for the weight of the container – just the contents. Sounds fair – right!

Just give your container(s) to a staff person and they will weigh your container(s). We will put a piece of masking tape on the container with the weight on it. This is called the ‘tare weight‘. It is what will be deducted from the total weight when you go and pay for your refill container.

If it is a liquid a staff member will do the refilling but all other bulk items can be refilled by you – beans, flour, raisins, etc.

When you refill your container(s), please write the four-digit code of the product on the piece of masking tape.

Please have your containers weighed at the beginning of your shopping trip so that we have time to refill your containers if they are liquid or before you put a bulk item into them.

Step 4: Pay

Masking tape on Refilled Tamari BottleBring your refilled container(s) to the till and the staff person will enter the tare weight into the Point of Sale registry then enter the four-digit code into the computer. The total weight (gross weight) will then deduct the tare weight and give a net weigh which is what you will pay for. Neat eh?

Note the tare weight of .055 (55 grams) and the product code for this organic tamari is 1500.

Step 5: Feel great about refilling and reusing because you are a HERO! Thank you!

We hope that you will choose Earth’s General Store as your refilling destination but there are lots of other options in Edmonton like Bulk Barn, Superstore, Planet Organic, and Blush Lane. We are the only company that actively encourages and rewards people to reuse and refill though by giving people a 5 cent reward when they refill a container or reuse a bag.

I think we are Edmonton’s premiere refillery. Thanks for reading our Introduction to Refilling!

And don’t forget to save your container when it’s empty because Refilling and Reusing are Golden! When we refill we reduce the packaging footprint and reducing is where we need to get to if we have any hope to live in balance with the planet and other earthlings.