Edmonton friends open bulk refill retail business to tackle waste
'We realized we were really filling up our garbage cans,' Re:Plenish co-founder says
Two Edmonton entrepreneurs are hoping to reduce plastic consumption with a new zero-waste retail store.
"It started by just looking around our houses, all the excess waste we were creating in the bathroom and kitchen mostly," said Karine St-Onge, co-founder of Re:Plenish, a bulk refill retail business that opened earlier this month at 9803 47th Ave. in south Edmonton.
"We realized we were really filling up our garbage cans and we wanted to find an easier, more convenient way to fix that problem."
The walls of Re:Plenish are lined with dispensers of home and personal care items, ranging from laundry detergent and dish soap to shampoos and conditioners. Customers can bring their own containers or buy refillable bottles at the store.
The store also focuses on products that are made in Canada, biodegradable, vegan and cruelty-free, added co-founder Meghann Law.
Concerns about plastic waste generated from personal care products have been growing. In late 2019, Unilever — whose brands include Dove products — announced it would halve its use of non-recycled plastics by 2025.
But the popularity of consumers taking matters into their own hands, while not a new concept, is growing in Alberta.
In Edmonton, Earth's General Store, which opened on Whyte Avenue in 1991, has long offered refillable products. Last year, the Canary Goods refillery and zero-waste market opened in Calgary's Kensington area.
As more small businesses and major companies seek to reduce environmental waste from single-use containers, Law said she hopes the low-waste lifestyle will continue to grow in popularity locally and around the world.
"I would say start small," Law said. "This doesn't have to be a giant overhaul of your lifestyle. Choose one thing that you know to be wasteful in your own home and make that difference there."
With files from Zahra Premji