Entrepreneur Helps To Cut Down On Waste With Her New Venture “We Fill Good”

By Hadley Barndollar Portsmouth Herald, N.H.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "We Fill Good" is a sustainable, refillable goods store, where customers can bring in their own containers to stock up on bath, body and household liquids. 

Kittery

Marla Baldassare is by no means "zero waste." She has plenty of plastic in her home, she says.

Rather, her latest business venture on State Road is "low waste," encouraging customers to take it one bottle at a time by using new alternatives to replace single-use disposable products.

People around the world buy approximately 1 million plastic bottles per minute, and only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S, according to widely circulated statistics.

We Fill Good is a sustainable, refillable goods store, where customers can bring in their own containers to stock up on bath, body and household liquids. The shop also has recyclable environmentally friendly products of all kinds, including dish cloths equivalent to 17 rolls of paper towels and bamboo straws.

Before moving to New England, across the bridge in Portsmouth, Baldassare spent much of her life in Los Angeles and New York City, where she worked in the men's high-fashion industry. But she was always intrigued by the business model -- popular on the West Coast -- that she's now running today in Kittery.

"It's pretty hard to be zero waste and have a real life," Baldassare said. "But if everyone does a little, we can really help the planet."

Baldassare said it always bothered her when she tossed her Tide laundry detergent bottle each time she reached empty, or threw away a nice glass jar after a candle had burned to the end of its wick.

So in August, she kicked things into gear and began looking for a location for her store idea. She ultimately set up shop at 42 State Road, a new development with retail on the first floor and residential above.

We Fill Good appears to be the first venture of its kind in the Seacoast. Baldassare said she's familiar with similar stores in Portland, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Customers can bring in their own containers, buy some from Baldassare or visit her "jar library." Customers weigh their container before they fill, pick from an array of products and then weigh again.

There's coffee-scented shampoo and body wash, grapefruit laundry detergent, glass cleaner, rosemary dish soap, vinegar, natural deodorant, bath salts, mango deep conditioner, hand soap and facial oil.

"I've been selling a little bit of everything," Baldassare said, noting she had more than 200 visitors on her opening day, Feb. 1.

While Baldassare purchases a lot of wholesale from national sustainable companies, she features an array of local players, like Little River Herb Farm in Lee, New Hampshire, to name one.

When picking her products, Baldassare said, all of her partners share two or more of the following values -- certified organic, family business, B-corp, handmade, small business, upcycle, socially responsible, empower women, fair trade, cruelty free, made in the U.S., and recycled material.

"I try to make things as affordable as I can," Baldassare said. "You're not spending any more here. And you have the option to buy local."

At Baldassare's laundry bar, detergent ranges from 17 to 32 cents an ounce, which is ultimately equivalent to the purchase of a new Tide bottle at the grocery store.

One of her favorite products is recyclable dental lace -- as typical dental floss and its containers are not usually recyclable. She has a statistic posted that the U.S. could fill six football fields high with its dental floss waste.

Information: wefillgoodseacoast.com ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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