Vernon refill store named Retailer of the Year by local chamber

Refill to save the planet

Tracey Prediger

Imagine filling 120 hockey rinks with plastic.

That’s how much of the material FILL Vernon’s Refill Store has been able to divert from the waste chain in the four short years it has been in business at Polson Place.

Owner Teresa Sanders said she has always considered herself an environmentalist, and in 2018, she decided to share her green habits with the local community by offering the choice to refill rather than recycle.

"We encourage customers to bring their own containers from home so they can refill things like shampoos, conditioners, body wash, laundry soaps, dish soaps, face care," she said.

FILL may be a little store, but it has a big environmental impact.

It was named Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Retail Business of the Year.

Sanders said she is thankful for the spotlight and is using it to shine light on the reality that only 9 per cent of the world’s plastics are actually recycled.

"We think recycling is the solution to this plastic pollution problem, but then you see the five islands of ocean plastic that are massive, and our plastic use just continues to increase," she said.

Refilling existing plastic containers is one action Sanders believes can help make a difference. Curbing a demand for plastics is another.

"Purchasing the spinach that isn’t in the plastic container, buying your apples not in a plastic bag. Buying them individually and not using a bag. …There's many steps that we can take as consumers, but we also have to elevate our voice," she said.

Along with lobbying government for more restrictions on plastic production, Sanders hopes the FILL message spreads.

"I would hope there would be a chance for every community to reduce plastic and have an opportunity to see the impact you can have at the local level and have other people save over 250,000 plastic containers as well."

She likens refill stores to grocery stores and believes there’s room for more than just one in every community.

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