What do you do when you believe in the zero waste movement, and then move to a place where no such businesses exist? You create your own! We mentioned in our first post about Eco Spotlight’s that our main focus isn’t on businesses, but now and then great businesses do get our attention. This is one of them.
Rinexii personally requested an interview with the owners of Heiroma, and were lucky enough to get one. This is it!
- You were originally a candle making business. What made you decide to switch to a refillery?
I moved back to the suburbs when the pandemic hit. I used to live in Toronto which has a ton of different zero waste shops, and I was spoiled. Going back to the suburbs, I realized there was no refillery anywhere near me. I thought I could repurpose my business to serve the community and hopefully make even the smallest impact.
- How has it been going for you?
It’s been tough, shifting a business around during a pandemic. A lot of people aren’t familiar with the business model, and it’s hard to communicate how it all works without that face-to-face aspect that the pandemic took away.
Luckily, people have been receptive and I have a lot of repeat customers. I’m looking forward to hitting the farmer’s markets this Summer and finally seeing my customers face to face.
- What challenges have you faced to bring this program to people?
The biggest challenge is facilitating refills with a delivery model. We’ve been using pre-fills and collecting the bottles afterward, which is going alright, but it’s an extra step that could dissuade people from trying this whole thing for the first time.
4. What moment drew your attention to the problem of so much waste?
Living in condos and apartments throughout for the last seven years, I came to realize that virtually none of the stuff that residents think is being recycled actually is. That’s when I started trying to reduce my own waste personally.
5. Any great stories?
I can’t say I have any great stories. But I do want to point out that the zero-waste movement is quite exclusionary and I recognize that it’s a privilege to be able to afford going “zero waste.” I try to emphasize that even the smallest changes help. There are plenty of free or super cheap things everyone can do to reduce their own waste, such as thrifting or even just refusing plastic cutlery when you eat out. Everything counts!
Also, no one is completely zero waste! It’s impossible. I remember reading about a woman (won’t name any names, can easily google) who put all of her trash for a year into one mason jar. That’s extreme!
The burden doesn’t lie solely on individuals. But I think the more individuals who do reduce their waste, the more pressure we put on corporations to change their products/packaging, carbon emissions, etc.
Heiroma is located in the Peel Region in Canada. They offer a local refill service for many common products, and also have a pretty cool shop online that let’s you source hard to find zero waste products like floss.
Feel free to check them out if you live in the area, or share if you think you might to help get the word out there about this new refill store.