Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2020 issue.
Brittney La Gesse is the owner and founder of Refill Revolution, a one-stop-refill-shop for household cleaning and body care products in Boulder. She believes a low-waste lifestyle is about being mindful of your footprint in everyday living.
Refill Revolution invites the community to refill its plastic shampoo bottles rather than buying a new bottle from conventional stores. It’s trendy on Instagram and that has brought the storefront popularity. La Gesse, however, doesn’t want her business to be a niche, trendy fad; she wants it to be the norm in communities throughout the nation and the world.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN REFILL REVOLUTION? WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT?
I wasn’t inspired by one big, particular thing — and that always used to bother me, not having this big “aha” moment. Overtime, I have come to realize that that is completely okay! I came across this local zero-waste meetup group on Instagram and decided to attend. I was instantly amazed at this piece of life that (most) people overlook or just don’t know about. Being a part of this movement became obsessive to me, and it progressed into a lifestyle. I took the mindful aspect of zero-waste living and ran with it. I felt it was important to share this love with the community and create a space where others could not only get their zero-waste items and maybe some advice here or there, but also to have a place where they felt welcomed. I always wanted to have a space to support other local businesses, hold events and classes, and really just be there for one another on this journey.
WHAT CAN SOMEONE EXPECT FROM A VISIT TO YOUR WEBSITE OR STOREFRONT?
Everything in our storefront is in some way designed to create less waste. I stress the word “less” because our infrastructure has made it literally impossible to create zero-waste — at least for right now. At Refill Revolution we do this through three different ways: bulk refills, products packaged in sustainable packaging and products that are made with sustainable materials that willnot contribute to the landfills once you are done using them.
When you shop at Refill Revolution you will be accepted for where you are at on your low-waste journey; if there is anything zero you can count on here — it’s zero judgement.
I should also mention, since COVID-19, we have incorporated a delivery system for people local to Boulder, or five miles outside. You can find the delivery option available on our website — it’s basically a take-back container program to continue providing the essentials to the community.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IT’S IMPORTANT TO “TAKE ACTION?” HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY “TAKE ACTION?”
It’s important to take action on an individual level because it gives the much bigger companies, manufacturers, etc., an incentive to make a change. As individuals we have the power to use our voice with our dollar. If you contribute to items that don’t show waste and/ or their packaging as a priority, how can you ever expect a change on a higher level? This is the “way things are” because it’s all we’ve known since the 1950s. We are basically trying to go back in time to the way our grandparents/parents used to live with the low-waste lifestyle today.
I personally take action by not only using my voice to tell compa – nies that I don’t like what they’re doing, but also to tell companies when I like what they’re doing. Companies need to know what is liked about them just as much as what’s not liked about them. I have seen the smallest of companies take responsibility for their actions, so I’m confident the major companies could do the same, making it easier for smaller companies to follow their lead.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHERS KNEW ABOUT THE LOW-WASTE LIFESTYLE/ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT?
Participating in the zero-waste lifestyle is much more than bringing your own reusable straw, although that is a piece of it. Living a lowwaste lifestyle is finding value in your things — being mindful about what they’re made of and how things are used. More importantly, where are these items/their packaging going to go once you’re done with them? It’s Asking questions about things and appreciating their design and how they are used. Nothing in this lifestyle is perfect, but I think that’s what makes it so great. It is an opportunity to get creative and use things to the fullest, which I think transforms into this whole new way of being. There’s a good chance that once you decide to incorporate this way of being into your lifestyle, you’ll see other pieces unfold that you were never expecting.
ANY ADDITIONAL ZERO-WASTE TIPS?
There are no set rules when it comes to zero-waste. You are wherever you are doing whatever you can. If all you do is bring a metal straw with you wherever you go, you are doing something! You are bringing mindfulness to your life and setting an example for others around you. There are no guidelines; get creative, do the best you can, share with others but do not shame others, take action and watch others around you latch on. Whatever you’re doing is enough!
Photos courtesy of Brittney La Gesse.