Sometimes zero waste is a little bit lovely: bulk body oil on a marble countertop, a pantry full of glass jars of colorful beans, cloth napkins on the table in lieu of paper. Sometimes, for me at least, it is also completely unglamorous. A time that comes to mind recently is toting a jar to and from another state for the express purpose of filling it with bulk body lotion. Unfortunately, this type of insane maneuver isn't as rare as you might think for me in my efforts to stay zero waste.
To be fair, I didn't travel to Wisconsin to fill up my mason jar with lotion; I traveled there to visit my boyfriend, who lives in Madison. There are two places I know of to get bulk, package-free lotion in Chicago, but both are a forty-five minute public transit ride away, and since I don't have a car, that becomes a bit too much time to dedicate to lotion-purchasing. Hence, when I knew I'd be visiting a friend with a car and a great bulk grocery store near their house, out came the jar.
Although that's a bit of an extreme example, I'm sure we all have stories that fall along similar lines. Whether it's commissioning a purchase from a faraway friend because you know she lives near a great zero waste store, or tucking a bulk food purchase in your luggage as a zero waste souvenir, we've all probably gone to semi-crazy lengths. But the really crazy thing? That we have to go to crazy lengths to find what we need in bulk at all. It's 2017! We've been to the moon! I want to buy bulk lotion in my neighborhood!
Enter We Want Refill, an organization working to expand bulk body and home care products in stores near you. They ask stores to add refill stations for bulk liquid items we use daily, like cleaning products, laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, and, yes, lotion. They don't make these products or the refill stations themselves; they simply make the point that the technology to offer this is out there, as is the demand, and that stores should start offering better options. To which, of course, any zero waster would heartily agree.
We Want Refill is asking you to support their efforts by taking two minutes to sign their petition. When you add your name, you're strengthening the movement to make bulk offerings more accessible - so that you don't have to live in a big city to access them, nor drive to another state, nor sit on a train for an hour, nor cajole a friend into ferrying you something you haven't been able to find locally. You can sign here, and take a look at their helpful educational resources here, if you're interested.
This post is sponsored by We Want Refill, whose work encourages stores to offer liquid bulk options.