GTPulse: Traverse City Woman Starts Refillable Products Service

Around this time a year ago, I remember not being able to find most cleaning products in stores. My old apartment had pipes that would periodically emit an awful smell. I’d dump lemon Lysol down the drains, or even bleach. I remember wandering around different supermarkets and not only were all of the Lysols wiped out, my backup plan, vinegar and baking soda, were nowhere to be found either. Like many of you, I never experienced something like it before. Sarah Lange remembers too.

Before the pandemic started, she had her eyes on starting a business that would give people the power to have the cleaning products they want, without contributing to the ever-mounting garbage pit of plastic that plagues our landfills. 

“I came across a refill shop on Instagram. I click on the shop and thought it was amazing, I would use that as a consumer. I thought it would be a great business to have in Traverse City because I feel like our community as a whole is pretty conscious and very perceptive to businesses of that nature. These kinds of businesses are actually all over the place.”

Not only is plastic harmful to the environment, but also to our health. We consume so many products that are packaged in plastic that it can be found in our tissue and blood. Plastic in our bodies are linked to health issues like a weakened immune system, endocrine disruption, and cancer. Even when plastic is buried deep in our landfills, it can still make its way back to us through the water we drink and the food we eat.

Refillable cleaning product services have been gaining popularity as folks become more interested in eco-friendly and sustainable options. While some companies have gotten clever with creating biodegradable containers, others are encouraging people to re-use the same glass or plastic containers.

With The Refillery, Sarah takes all the guesswork out of being environmentally friendly. She also saves customers a trip to the store. 

For first-time ordering, the customer picks out their products and is charged a small fee for a deposit on the bottles. The products are paid for by the ounce, and once you’ve already ordered from The Refillery once, you won’t be charged for the packaging again – only the amount of product you’re buying. When it’s time to restock, simply reorder and Sarah will set up a delivery time with you. On delivery days, simply leave your empty product containers out on the porch and they’ll be replaced with freshly filled bottles.

“Also, if people just want to try one or two ounces of something, they can squirt a little in the container and call it good.”

She offers a wide variety of everyday cleaning products. Laundry soap and powder, castile soap, toilet cleaner, cleaning scrub, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, all-purpose cleaner, and this is only the beginning.

“Before I got into the sustainable lifestyle I was that person scouring all of the ingredient lists. I have very high standards for what I’m putting on my body. I know a lot of people don’t have the time to look up what every ingredient is. Everything I use is as natural as possible so you aren’t having to worry about different chemicals being around your home, your pets, your children.”

Deliveries are made Wednesdays and Sundays within 12 miles of Grandview Road in Traverse City. However, if you’re outside of that range, Sarah is actively looking for a storefront where people can come refill product bottles.

She’s also hoping to expand her product line and is on the lookout for local makers who would want to collaborate with her on providing a clean product they make. 

To get started on getting clean products into your home, check out Your home and the planet are feeling healthier already.

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Categories: GTPulse