Reducing Plastic Is Goal At Sacramento’s Refill Madness

By Bob Shallit The Sacramento Bee

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) There are plenty of women in business who have a focus on the environment but at Sloane Read's "Refill Madness" in Sacramento, this woman is "ALL IN" about saving the planet. At "Refill Madness", customers bring in their empty containers for refills of things like laundry and dish detergents, shampoos and other products. While Read reduces the amount of plastics being manufactured, customers receive significant discounts on the bulk items. The Sacramento Bee

Sloane Read does a modest business at her new shop, Refill Madness, in midtown Sacramento.

But the 34-year-old entrepreneur says each sale makes a difference when it comes to saving the planet.

"It's all about reducing the amount of plastic that's manufactured and reducing the fossil fuels that go into that process," she said.

Her business opened three months ago at 1828 29th St. and offers bulk quantities of "green" laundry and dish detergents, shampoos and body lotions, among other products.

Customers bring in their empty containers for refill -- and go home with supplies purchased at what's often a big discount to what they would pay if they bought them in packages at stores. The shop also sells high-quality plastic and glass containers suitable for multiple refills.

Read, a former substitute teacher, said the zero-waste movement is gaining traction and she figured Sacramentans would embrace a store that allowed them to buy high-quality, biodegradable products while reducing their use of disposable plastic.

Squeezed into the 880-square-foot store are a variety of popular brands such as Dr. Bronner's, EO, Biokleen and Ecos. The prices aren't as cheap as those for conventional bath, body, kitchen and laundry goods.

"It's not Palmolive or Dawn," she said of her wares. "It's a little more expensive because you're getting high-quality products."

But by supplying their own containers, customers pay about 25 percent less for some products than if they'd acquired them in packages.

Read said she hopes to expand into new sorts of goods as customers ask for them. One request she's heard repeatedly: Provide refills of cat litter.

So far, she's been unable to find a supplier who provides that product in bulk quantities with eco-friendly ingredients.

Making her task more challenging, Read is determined to buy goods only from suppliers on the West Coast to avoid the carbon toll caused by long-distance shipping.

As for the business's name, it was suggested by one of Read's three business partners. She didn't like it at first. But she's warmed to it as customers -- especially baby boomers -- come in and smile, remembering a hilariously-bad anti-marijuana propaganda film that was popular in the 1970s.

Of the name, she said, "It's definitely grown on me."

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