Welcome to Refill Mercantile!! So happy you are here on this low waste journey with us!
Remember the days when our parents reused everything until it wasn't reusable anymore? My mom would reuse plastic sandwich bags, containers food came in, I wore hand-me-down clothes from cousins and she made a lot of my clothes until I...um... got curves. This was also about the time when she went back to work.
Enter TV dinners with all kinds of waste and nothing reusable. This was the late 1980's early 1990's. The age of my friends moms and mine going to work and us kids getting take out or prepared meals. This was also about the time when plastic bottles became a real thing. And we just tossed them! I cringe thinking back to the change but if we knew then what we know now, would things be different? Convenience took over so we could have that short amount of family time that was leftover from working and commuting.
Convenience is key! Being a single mom then living with my now hubs and raising a child with both of us working full time jobs and hour long commutes left us with convenient dinners, convenient throw-away cleaning supplies, convenient ways of shopping, convenient laundry options, and convenient ways to recycle our plastic waste. Not knowing any better and thinking we were doing good by placing our items in the recycle bin we continued this cycle of overconsumption and recycling. We were doing our part right? Sort of.
Still with demanding jobs and commutes we started our low waste journey. Starting off with the easy items like reusable water bottles, taking our reusable grocery bags to the store, cloth napkins, carpooling when we could and volunteering more with cleanups along the coast and trails.
Realizing more and more that recycling isn't the best option we took a few more steps. We limited our consumption. Limited how many times we ordered from Amazon and dreamed of a better solution to all the packaging we were receiving. We took a good look around our home, downsized to 768 sq ft after our son moved out, and started switching out items in our bathroom. Tubed toothpaste was the first to go and super easy! Then shampoo and conditioner bars in the shower and bar soap that was more earth friendly and better for our bodies.
Next we moved on to laundry and kitchen. Reusable wool dryer balls instead of the fragranced disposable dryer sheets and bottles of laundry soap in ecofriendly containers. In the kitchen we bought glass spray bottles and found concentrated soap tablets to add to the water to clean with. No longer using traditional sponges we now use compostable Swedish cloths. Admittedly, paper towels still exist in our kitchen but they are used more for things you need to throw away (we have a cat, enough said!). Powdered automatic dishwasher soap without the plastic coating and refill our cute dish soap bottle or use bars for dish soap.
This all felt so easy but I found I was having to search for things and get creative. That leaves us to where we are at today! A curated store full of all the items to help you on your low waste journey! We aim to help you make a positive impact as conveniently for you as possible!