Melbourne has a new street trading vendor, but instead of selling trendy food stuffs it provides refills for cleaning products. The business, called Roving Refills, is the brainchild of sisters Claudine and Raphaelle Lagier, who have set out to tackle the waste produced by buying cleaning products in single-use containers.
The idea is simple. The sisters load ten different cleaning products including toxin-free soaps, detergents, shampoo, borax and vinegar into the truck, park it in a public location and sell refills to members of the public bringing their own containers. By doing so, they hope to make the BYO container movement more accessible while reducing cleaning packaging waste.
Claudine told The Age the idea came to her while doing an entrepreneurship class as part of her master’s in environmental management.
“[People] tend to buy a lot of detergents in plastic bottles without thinking about the containers,” she said.
“People loved food trucks, and I thought, ‘If they’re prepared to follow food trucks, people passionate about the environment might do the same thing for our truck.’”
In terms of the waste hierarchy, where reducing and reusing are a much higher priority than recycling, the scheme is a winning formula. Local government clearly also saw the benefits, with Maribyrnong providing a substantial discount on its mobile vendor permit.
Roving Refills spent its first day in operation parked beside a café in West Footscray, but will be on the move in the future, parking at parks or outside train stations.
- If you live in Melbourne, follow the Roving Refills Facebook page to get regular updates on where to go to get those refills!
- For those living elsewhere in Australia, check out bulk food options in your area. Not only do these sell foodstuffs in bulk, they will often also provide cleaning products.
- If you have old containers in need of recycling, visit RecyclingNearYou to find out the best way to recycle them in your neighbourhood.
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