Nfld. & Labrador·Waves of Change

Get your fill, forget the single-use plastics at downtown St. John's store

Shoppers in St. John's have a new option for environmentally conscious shopping, as The Healthy Vibe adds a refill station for household products - with Corner Brook's coming soon.

The Healthy Vibe has introduced a fill-your-own container station

Megan Kennedy, owner of The Natural Vibe on Water Street in St. John's, says customers are taking advantage of the store's new eco-refill station. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Waves of Change is a CBC series exploring the single-use plastic we're discarding, and why we need to clean up our act. You can be part of the community discussion by joining our Facebook group.

A store in downtown St. John's is joining the push to make environmentally friendly shopping easier for everyone with a new fill-your-own bottle station.

Customers can bring a bottle from home or purchase glass ones at the The Natural Vibe and then fill them up with one of many household basics.

"I think if we all kind of look at our things that we do in our day to day life, these small little switches make such a big impact on our environment. And I think it's at least worth a shot," owner Megan Kennedy told the St. John's Morning Show Monday. 

Kennedy said they have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, laundry detergent, dish liquid and hand soap available for purchase – scented and unscented – for your reusable containers.

To use the eco-refill station, customers can bring in their own reusable containers or buy glass bottles at the store, then fill them from the larger containers. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"Being a small business owner, you're always looking out to see what people are looking for, what's missing in the community," explained Kennedy.

A coworker was familiar with the concept from working in Ontario, so Kennedy said it just made sense to try it at her St. John's location, with her Corner Brook store about to do the same.

Roughly three weeks in, she said they're "really, really grateful that so many people are coming to take advantage of this."

Part of a movement

In terms of the cost difference compared to similar quality natural products sold in single-use plastic containers, "it works out to be 50 per cent, if not more, savings," said Kennedy.

Health and beauty products sell for about 2 cents per millilitre while cleaning products are about 1 cent a millilitre. So Kennedy said the same plastic bottle of shampoo that may be $8 elsewhere is roughly $4 in an eco-friendly refill from the store.

The health and wellness store, which also serves as a licensed cannabis retailer, is joining other locally-run businesses including Home Hardware in Manuels and Canadian retailer Bulk Barn in offering shoppers options apart from single-use plastics. 

"My goal, down the road, would be to have almost like a zero waste store if possible," Kennedy said. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Kenny Sharpe and the St. John's Morning Show


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