This is smart. Sun & Earth products, a Pennsylvania based company, has placed refill stations in Philadelphia area sustainable stores where customers can bring bottles and refill them with Sun & Earth’s laundry detergent.

Right now, it’s the only one of the company’s products available through the refill station, but it’s a smart start. The benefits of something like this are great.

  • Money savings – Customers pay by the ounce to refill instead of paying for a whole new package.
  • Resource savings – Most plastic bottles that cleaning products come in -- even earth-friendly, natural products – are recyclable. However, when plastic bottles get recycled they don’t, it’s a resource intensive process. Plastic bottles don’t get recycled into plastic bottles. They get recycled into other plastic items. That means that most of the time when you buy a product in a plastic bottle, new, raw materials were used to create it. Having the ability to refill cleaning product bottles without having to consume additional plastic bottles is a huge environmental help.
  • Combats the disposable mentality – The more we dispose of, either by sending it to the landfill or sending it to the recycling plant, the more we get comfortable with just throwing things away. The disposable mentality is beginning to change. Just look at reusable bags as an example. Refill stations like this one are another step in reversing the disposable mentality that has gripped our culture for so many decades. 
Sun & Earth makes other products like dish detergent, dishwasher liquid, liquid soap and all-purpose cleaners that would work in a refill station, too. I sure hope the current refill stations are being well-used to give the company an incentive to expand it’s offerings.

Sun & Earth’s website provides the following locations for the refill stations:

Do you know of any other manufacturers that have programs like the Sun & Earth refill station? 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

No waste refills for natural cleaning products
Refill stations for one of Sun & Earth’s products means no new packaging.