Last year Monica, the founder of Molly’s Suds, had a dream to open a zero-waste and bulk refill store in St Petersburg, FL where we could offer Molly’s Suds products package-free. The zero-waste movement is growing around the world and in April of 2019 we opened St Pete’s first zero-waste refill store, The Refillery. The Refillery offers many popular Molly’s Suds laundry & household cleaning products in bulk for customers to refill as little or as much as they need. In addition, you can refill shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, toothpaste, and many other items for their home from local and national brands we trust.
As a company, we realize that plastic packaging is a concern. We made a conscious effort to package some of our newer products in reusable glass containers (Sink SCRUB and Linen Spray). However, with many of our laundry products, the use of glass and other eco-friendly packaging gets complicated because of our active ingredients. The packaging has to protect our ingredients from moisture and the packaging cannot react or deteriorate from our ingredients. Our plastic pouches we source use recycled plastic and non-toxic inks. Our current pouch is a #7 plastic that can be recycled in some areas and through TerraCycle Drop Off locations.
Glass Packaging Options
Glass is heavy and can break easily in shipping. For an already heavy product like our laundry detergents, the cost of shipping in glass isn’t a preferred option. Some of our retail partners are currently refusing glass containers due to the risk of damage and breakage. We understand this concern because the last thing you want to do is open a package filled with broken glass. Additionally, glass is persistent in landfills forever.
Cardboard Packaging Options
We’ve seen many cardboard packaging options but many of these aren’t any more eco-friendly than plastic because the inside of the packaging is lined with… plastic. For our laundry detergents to remain stable they do need to be lined with plastic. Many of the essential oils or essences that we use would soak into raw cardboard leaving grease-like spots on the outside of the package. Again this doesn’t look good when our retailers and customers receive the products. The plastic helps to protect the integrity of the products from the elements.
We’re always looking to see what other packaging options become available. We know that there is something better, but it may take time for innovation to meet the market! Consumers have the loudest voice! The more demand there is for sustainable packaging, the more the billion dollar companies will innovate, allowing little guys like us access to better options!
Carbon Footprint & Other Factors
Other factors that we need to consider as a company include shipping, storage, and what our retail partners require to place our products in their warehouses for online and retail distribution. We’ve found that the plastic pouches take up less space on a pallet which allows us to ship more product compared to cardboard packaging. This reduces our overall carbon footprint. The plastic pouches also take up less space in the landfills (sigh) compared to cardboard packaging and they weigh less which helps us (and our retail partners) save on shipping costs. Some of our retail partners require a certain type of packaging when they are displaying it in a retail store which adds another layer of complexity to the situation. As you can tell there isn’t a clear solution to a brands packaging problem.
We will always be mindful of the environment and can’t wait to see what innovations reveal themselves to us in the future. Our mission for 2020 is to stock our products in bulk (1-gallon, 5-gallon, and 55-gallon containers) in as many bulk refill stores as possible. If you’re lucky enough to have a zero-waste store near you please stop in and request to see Molly’s Suds in their refill section. We’re also offering some of the 1-gallon containers on our website for customers who want to buy larger volumes of Molly’s Suds. While these are still packaged in plastic, these containers can be refilled locally or repurposed around your home! They made great paint or storage buckets for kids.
In the past year The Refillery has made a huge impact on our local community. Not only are customers choosing safer products for their families, they are also reducing their waste by refilling their products at The Refillery. Below are some pretty impressive statistics on how just one small refill store can make a difference and how you can help!
With the help from the customers at The Refillery they’ve refilled 10,000 containers. They’ve prevented the following number of containers from the landfill:
- 910 bottles of Liquid Laundry detergent
- 251 bags of Super Powder laundry detergent
- 111 bags of Oxygen Whitener
- 403 boxes of Wool Dryer Balls
- And 772 bottles of Dish Soap
They’ve also refilled Linen Spray, Sink SCRUB, All Purpose Cleaner, and our SWIM & Sweater Wash. This is just one store! We haven’t even calculated how much waste we’ve prevented from our other bulk & refill stores.
The Refillery is open Monday – Saturday in St Petersburg, FL and stocks most of the Molly’s Suds products for refill. therefilleryfl.com
To shop our 1-gallon Molly’s Suds containers visit: https://mollyssuds.com/product-category/bulk-detergent/
To become a bulk retailer email email@example.com.
To find a zero-waste refill store near you:
Ecommend Shop, The Green Tap, SOAP Sante Fe, Minimal Optimist, Upbeet + Rooted, SOAP Refill Station KC, Sixth and Zero, The Refillery St Pete, Sans Market, Homefill, NoToxLife, Roots Zero Waste Market, NadaShoppe, 4R World, Bazaar and Lime, and many more refill stores coming soon!