Sarah Spicer The Wichita Eagle
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) At "Grate Fill", products are poured into refillable containers and priced by the ounce. For example, hand soap sells for 60 cents per ounce, while laundry detergent will cost you 29 cents.
A zero waste and refill store opened in March in Wichita in what its owner says is a first for Wichita.
Grate Fill, 1807 E. Douglas. offers environmentally friendly and organic products like body wash, laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies, which can be deposited into reusable containers, which can be bought at the store or brought from home.
"Switching to these healthy products is super cost-effective because you're only paying for the ounces you use, not the packaging," said Maddie Brown, the owner and founder of Grate Fill.
Already, they've refilled more than 600 products for Wichitans, saving those plastic bottles from landfills, according to Brown, who keeps track of their progress on the store's wall.
Products are priced by the ounce with hand soap selling at 60 cents per ounce, shampoo and body wash at 68 cents and laundry detergent at 29 cents. The laundry detergent is concentrated, and only requires a tablespoon per load, Brown said. Her favorite refillable product is the Coffee Body Scrub, which is 99 cents an ounce.
Hoping to help cultivate the environmentalist community in Wichita, Brown chose a large shop space to host workshops and pop-ups where people can learn about sustainable living, zero waste and the benefits of organic products.
Brown had become concerned about her own health after reading about the bonuses of using natural and organic products that don't have additives or chemicals and started buying zero waste and sustainable products online.
She started seeing physical stores pop up in places like Los Angeles and Denver and thought it was time to bring the movement back to her home in Wichita, where she was born and raised.
Coming from a "family of entrepreneurs," where her father and both her sisters own businesses, Brown said she received a lot of familial support to open the business. Her father built all her shelves, including a custom refill station, where customers can sample and smell different soaps, cleaning supplies, skincare, and other products before buying.
"I want to make the sustainability and eco-friendly shopping experience fun for people," Brown said.
A self-described "makeup lover," Brown said it was important to find a good quality cosmetic line that she could offer people as a sustainable option.
"I wanted a cosmetic brand so bad, and I almost gave up because I wasn't finding anything that was checking all the boxes that I wanted," Brown said. "Then I found Elate, and it blew me out of the water."
Elate Cosmetics is a sustainable makeup brand, and all of its packaging is made out of recycled materials and is either reusable, compostable or recyclable, according to Brown.
The store is expanding and plans to offer additional products like bamboo bandaids, dry shampoo, and menstrual products. Updates will be posted on the website gratefill.com, Facebook, and Instagram. ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.