Sustainable Silchester met Vikki from Ecosentials to find out how to get started with Refillables.
Refillables means topping up existing bottles and jars, rather than buying yet another plastic bottles. Vikki is clearly passionate about the subject. “Not only do you use less plastic, but I choose environmentally friendly products that are kinder to the environment , better for sensitive skin, babies and children.”
So how does it work?
When you finish with a bottle, wash it out, remove the label, if you can and then drop it round to Vikki. Vikki will refill the bottle and drop it back to you within a couple of days. Vikki is based in Tadley, but also visits Silchester Market each month. Any bottles dropped off at the market will be back with you by Tuesday.
Some bottles are quite difficult to get the lid off, particularly duck shaped toilet cleaners, but Vikki was confident that she could get the lid off most bottles.
What are the most popular products?
A number of people have reverted to using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to clean because there are no harmful chemical, and so she sells a lot of vinegar – often 3-5 litres at a time. She also has a wide range of hand soap, shampoo and conditioner in different scents.
Some customers just buy one type of product, and are happy with that, others buy from the full range. Vikki doesn’t mind what people choose – every purchase is another bottle saved from landfill or incineration and that’s what keeps her motivated.
Sounds simple, why doesn’t everyone try it?
Well, a lot of people do! Vikki has customers all round the area including Bramley, Sherborne St John, Baughurst as well as Tadley and Silchester, and many customers have been with her since the start.
The biggest barrier seems to be getting into the habit of hanging on to your empty bottle and dropping it round to Vikki, rather than putting it straight in the bin and adding another to the weekly shop. However, once people get into the habit of refilling, they seem to stick with it, so Vikki knows that she is doing something right.