Be conscious of your purchasing power in 2019

Photo by  Hermes Rivera  on  Unsplash

There aren’t many feelings better than saving money but saving the planet could be one. The way you shop can have a tremendous impact on your pocket as well as on the environment.

Refills make sense

When you buy a new product, it often comes in solid packaging – maybe a glass jar, a large plastic container, a tin, or something similar.

If you go to the shops for a refill, they are often packaged in plastic/polythene bags, reducing the amount of materials need to create them. All that needs to be done is to transfer the contents of the refill to your original product container.

Larger refills that will fill up multiple original containers will often come in polythene bags or boxes (and sometimes both, with the bag inside the box) and need to be part-transferred to your original container. For example, washing up liquid is often found in 500ml bottles in the supermarket, but refills can be 15 litres in size.

This means the refill is 30 times the size of the original but uses far less packaging and has a much lower impact on the environment.

Instead of the manufacturer having to make 30 bottles, a single bag is used, which creates far less waste. Refills of products other than washing up liquid may use a slightly different storage and delivery system, but using a single container of any kind to supply refills for multiple smaller pre-existing containers creates less waste, uses less resources to initially manufacture, and makes the process of recycling far easier.

Why aren’t there refills for everything?

Even though we have developed a culture of recycling, using refills is often seen as an activity to be scorned. Saving money suggests to some that you don’t have the money to buy the “real” product, and so we don’t use refills as much as we could.

It can also be seen as somewhat of a hassle to take your original containers out with you to have them refilled – but the impact of being more conscious about the resources you are using is worth it.

Because of the above reasons, the demand for refills is lower than it could be, and so manufacturers rightly serve their market. They make products that people buy – if people don’t buy them, the manufacturer loses money. But there is a way to turn this around.

When something is revealed about a manufacturer that the general public don’t like, a boycott of a particular product or brand is sometimes organised. Products are on the shelves, but less people are buying them, and the manufacturer soon changes their ways. (1)

Similarly, if a product is purchased and retailers report back to their suppliers that they have sold out, the manufacturer can be persuaded to produce more. If all the refills sell out, the manufacturer will then naturally produce more. If they spot the trend, they’ll start producing refills for other products in their range. (2)

The more products that have refills available, the better. There will be less need to manufacture containers that many treat as disposable, which will only have a positive effect on the environment.

Can I write to the manufacturer?

Yes, of course you can. But manufacturers don’t always pay that much heed to a written request. The true test for their products is how well they sell, so the best way to change what a manufacturer does is to send them the right signals through their sales figures.

There are so many products that can benefit from refills – washing up liquid, laundry detergent, coffee, olive oil, many kinds of beauty products, herbs, spices, even breakfast cereal – do you need a new box every time you buy cereal, or will the plastic bag suffice?

As a consumer, the power you hold when making decisions over the products you purchase is tremendous. There are so many options available that the manufacturers are fighting each other to make you take notice of their own brands, and so the manufacturer who jumps into refilling with the most commitment may be the one that does the best from it.

How does this help the environment?

By producing a box and a plastic bag instead of thirty plastic bottles, less resources are being used to create the packaging for refills. Less waste is produced in the short term as the refill packaging is retained until the refill is empty. In the long term, the empty refill packaging is significantly smaller and easier to recycle than an assortment of boxes. (3)

By using refills you’ll help protect the environment and reduce your carbon footprint dramatically. You’ll know that you are doing everything you can to care of the planet for you and your family heading into the future.

Our Re-fill Station

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Ecoleaf Washing Up Liquid 

Natural, biodegradable and safe for the environment, Ecoleaf Washing up Liquid is derived from plant extracts and is based on biodegradable, sustainably sourced ingredients. Vegan Friendly, Ecoleaf Washing Up Liquid will help you to clean your plates with a squeaky clean conscience.

Ecoleaf Non-Bio Laundry Liquid

Natural, biodegradable and safe for the environment, Ecoleaf Laundry Liquid is derived from plant extracts and is based on biodegradable, sustainably sourced ingredients.

Ecoleaf Laundry Liquid is guaranteed non-toxic and totally chemical free, cleaning your laundry whilst helping you keep the planet clean too.

Ecoleaf Toilet Cleaner

Natural, biodegradable and guaranteed chemical free, Ecoleaf Toilet Cleaner is derived from plant extracts and is based on biodegradable, sustainably sourced ingredients.

This environmentally friendly Toilet Cleaner will keep your loo tidy and your conscience clean.

We don’t sell the small sizes, just the refills.

References

  1. https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcampaigns/boycotts

  2. https://www.relexsolutions.com/using-pos-data-in-your-supply-chain-to-react-faster-to-changes-in-demand/

  3. http://www.lesswaste.org.uk/reduce/think-packaging/