It’s time to add another R-action on your journey to living more sustainably. Refill your containers instead of purchasing new ones.

Buying package-free products and using your own containers is an impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint and minimize the amount of plastic and containers you send to the landfill. Shops selling bulk, package-free products as often referred to as “refilleries.” I’ll share my recent experience at a refillery near my home.

While watching the Pittsburgh nightly news one evening, a local commercial came on for a small woman-owned business called, The Refillery. The ad promoted a store where you bring your own plastic and glass containers and purchase personal care products such as shampoo and home essentials such as all-purpose cleaners and laundry detergent. I decided to visit!

Immediately upon arriving at this eco-friendly brick-and-mortar in Squirrel Hill, I was greeted by a friendly employee. She enthusiastically showed me around and explained how the whole process at The Refillery works.

The Refillery

Here is how the refilling process works:
  1. Bring clean and empty containers from home – there are also glass bottles and jars for sale.
  2. Before you fill your container, the bottle or jar is weighed, and that weight is deducted from the final weight after filling it with your favorite product.
  3. Fill your containers with the desired home and personal care products.
  4. You only need to fill in the amount you need. Then the filled container is weighed, and the container weight is subtracted from the total weight.
  5. Pay by the ounce.
Prices are very reasonable. You pay by weight, but your containers are weighed empty first and deducted from the total. 

With my mason jars In hand, I went for a laundry detergent, an all-purpose cleaner, and lemon sugar scrub. All the products are made locally with clean ingredients using the least amount of chemicals and preservatives. There are several familiar products to choose from, including Kaylaan toothpaste tablets and Hibar solid shampoo/conditioner, which I already use and love.

By adding refilling as one of your new sustainable actions, you help the environment by reducing plastic usage, and you also save money! 

I was fortunate enough to meet the founder and owner of The Refillery, Lorissa Russo. We had a great conversation regarding her zero-waste startup, available products, and her mission and passion for reducing single-use plastic and packaging with locally, ethically, and sustainably made affordable products. During Covid quarantine Lorissa, an engineer at the time learned about refilleries in Europe and other areas of the United States through TikTok videos. The more she thought about reducing plastic packaging and climate change she decided that she needed to take a personal stance to make a difference. She resigned from her engineering position and created The Refillery.


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OPL Naturalist Yvonne Dwyer

This experience was shared by OPL Naturalist Yvonne Dwyer.

Learn more about Yvonne.