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Lindsey’s mission is to help reduce common household waste and consumption through responsible usage and the elimination of single-use plastics to help solve SDG #12. This local business is helping create a sustainable community for the city of Guelph and surrounding areas by creating an area where one can go to refill home and body-cleaning products with reusable containers.
The Refill Bar provides the opportunity for consumers to introduce sustainable practices in their everyday life through the use of reusable glass bottles and containers that can be refilled with personal and household cleaning products. Located in downtown Guelph, The Refill Bar provides products that are sourced from Canadian sustainable companies and are non-toxic and use natural formulas. The business innovation prevents the continuous use of single-use plastics by providing an outlet for individuals to make a conscious choice about the daily products they are consuming through refillable glass containers and other sustainable, zero-waste products.
The foundations of the business can be reflected through the UN SDG goals. Firstly, the central overarching theme of this innovation is responsible consumption and production. The idea of re-using the same container and filling them with products that are sustainably sourced and have virtually zero waste in the production process is a huge step forward for responsible consumption of products that are frequently used in our everyday life. Similarly, the concept of zero-waste contributes significantly to SDGs 12, 13, 14, and 15. With minimal waste linked to the products, this prevents pollution from impacting life on land and life below water through the prevention of waste entering those environments. On top of this, with minimal waste comes less energy required to produce the packaging and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The innovation can also be linked to SDG 6 because the reduction of waste and natural products prevents any waste or harmful chemicals from impacting water sources and inevitably helps to improve water quality.
The inspiration for Lindsey's company stems from her and her sister's passion for sustainability and natural products. They began by owning one business together but later separated to pursue two different aspects of sustainability, with her store focusing more on the refill aspect of the reusable market. This obsession flows much farther past her business as she is often seen with her friends and employees on weekends and time off doing public cleanups around Guelph and her community.
During the interview, when Lindsey was asked what her passion and drive for sustainability in today's world she responded with, "taking something that's destined for the landfill and showing it a little love can bring it a new life." This quote from Lindsey does a perfect job of outlining her personality toward sustainability, along with her passion and love for maintaining a healthy environment in Guelph and throughout the world. Lindsey repeatedly brought up her future plans for a refill bar for beer as well! This idea revolves around the same basis of her reusable soaps where customers would bring in containers and be able to pick up soaps along with beverages such as beer or wine to also be purchased in a refillable manner to be used again. Overall, Lindsey shows incredible amounts of passion and innovation in her respected field, with those aspects only increasing the longer she is able to grow and expand her business into different sustainable facets.
The Refill Bar is a local shop offering waste-free solutions to the local community for all their sustainable consumable needs, such as shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, lotion, dish soap and laundry detergent. On average, the usage of plastic bottles saves approximately 83 grams of carbon dioxide per bottle that would have been produced at its disposal. The Refill Bar is well on its way to minimizing carbon footprints by implementing this strategic business strategy. Consumers simply bring in their own reusable bottles and fill them with the products they desire. This can save consumers money in the long run as these products are more concentrated and filled less with things like water. Additionally, consumers will feel more satisfied with their purchases as they are both better for themselves and the environment.
These simple changes in lifestyles can lead to long-term rewards in health as well. Regular household products purchased at big box stores like Walmart or Shoppers Drug Mart contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment and body. More than 50% of the cleaning products on shelves today contain ingredients that are known to damage the lungs. Lindsey’s company aims to replace the need to purchase these products at these stores by offering sustainable, non-toxic products that can benefit everyone in the short and long term.
The innovation benefits the business significantly. The Refill Bar markets itself as a zero-waste and sustainable business that provides organic, non-toxic products for everyday life that are sourced from sustainable companies. With the increased demand for sustainable alternative products, The Refill Bar has provided an outlet for the increased demand for everyday sustainable products. This has ultimately raised revenue for the business and has allowed for loyal customers. Since it is a refill bar, once the customers have set up their refillable bottles at home and run out of the product, they will return again and again to refill. This has inevitably set up loyal customers who frequently return instead of making a one-time purchase.
Recently the business hired a new employee, and the reason this employee found out about the business was through the innovation itself. The new employee has worked at other refill stores in the past and has a drive for sustainability. Lindsey prioritizes sustainability and wants her employees to have the same mindset as her; therefore, the business innovation brought the ideal employees to the business. The Refill Bar is in the works of setting up “pop-up shops” where they sell their products in different locations, which would be a new service offered and would aim to gain more customers and get their name out there.
The Refill Bar has dedicated itself to benefiting both society and the environment. They host weekly cleanups with the help of their customers, employees, and the local community. The goal of these cleanups is to properly dispose of garbage to keep plastics out of our wildlife, remove toxins from entering our ecosystem, reduce our carbon footprint, and encourage people to act more sustainably. All this work helps to support SDGs #13, 14 and 15. The collaboration between the community in these park cleanups strengthens the bond in society as we work together towards a better, more sustainable future.
The Refill Bar’s products are also a huge benefit to the environment. They use reusable mason jars to fill up their various products, which the customer can come back and use again. This is a huge reduction to their carbon footprint because it is reducing the number of single-use plastics being used directly supporting SDGs #12 and 6. The contents of their soaps and detergents are eco-friendly, which keeps toxic chemicals out of our drainage systems and helps reduce the overall harm to life in water.
Lastly, The Refill Bar offers products that tend to be more welcoming. Vegan-friendly options are primarily provided at the store, which contains fewer allergens and promotes a healthier lifestyle for the users. Furthermore, the ingredients used are nationally sourced, which promotes other businesses in the Guelph region and surrounding areas.
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Lindsey Oman, Owner/Founder
Full-service refill bar that serves soaps, detergents, and other toiletry products for homes and people. The products range from being mostly natural to fully natural with all ingredients as safe for human use and the environment. Customers bring in their own mason jars, which are refilled at the bar. They also provide other products for humans or cleaning that are sustainable alternatives.