Kyla Wilhelmsen is spending Earth Day celebrating the opening of her brand-new business in downtown Prince George, which she hopes will have a positive impact on helping locals reduce waste.
The idea for Homespun Refillery, which opened its doors on 4th Ave. and Dominion St. in early April, is to let people refill any containers with household products that are usually packaged in plastic.
Customers can bring their own containers or borrow jars to fill up on things like vitamins, shampoo, dish soap, cleaners, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant, natural bug spray, and laundry detergent.
“When the pandemic hit, I was spending more time at home and I looked at my garbage - which was empty and I looked at my recycling which was overflowing - and thought you know we have really just diverted the problem from garbage to now an abundance of recycling,” said Wilhelmsen, who first started the business out of her home in 2020.
Seeing limited options in Prince George beyond recycling, she began researching refilleries and started her business with customers placing orders online for eco products packaged in mason jars.
Customers were able to fill and reuse their existing containers at home ultimately diverting single-use plastic containers from the landfill or recycling depots by reusing the container over and over.
“It is a dream come true,” said Wilhelmsen, of finally opening a physical location.
“When people come in, they are really interested and within a few days they are coming back with their jars and it is just so heartwarming to me to see that people are quick to adopt a way to reduce their single-use packaging waste, so I have just been overwhelmed with positive comments and support.”
Homespun Refillery also ensures bulk packaging materials are sent back to the supplier, and if possible, reused, repurposed, and then recycled if need be. Wilhelmsen said since she’s opened less than one pound of waste has been produced.
“The other thing that is important to me is community, so having a location downtown is important because I think we need to be downtown in order to keep it alive. The people that walk by and wave good morning and the other local business owners downtown have all been amazing,” said Wilhelmsen.
She is also trying to carry as many local products as possible and is working with local crafters and makers so they can display their goods in the new space.
Her vision for the Zero Waste store is to be more of a collaborative place for the community to learn about sustainable living, showcase local makers product and showcase their talents by hosting pop-up opportunities, and act as a recycling drop off location for items that are not accepted at other collection sites in our area.
Homepsun Refillery is celebrating its grand opening from April 22 to 23 with discounts, giveaways, a colouring contest for kids and refreshments.
“No effort is too small,” said Wilhelmsen. “We aren’t perfect. We all have busy lives and if you come in once and fill a jar or reuse one of your shampoo containers one time - it does make a difference. It means you did not send one plastic container to the recycling depot or the landfill. Every little bit counts, and it is a journey and it takes time but just start where you are.”