Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Teresa Sanders, owner of Fill - Vernon’s Refill Store, opened the doors to her shop in Polson Park Mall on Dec. 3, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)
Teresa Sanders, owner of Fill - Vernon’s Refill Store, opened the doors to her shop in Polson Park Mall on Dec. 3, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

Fill – Vernon’s Refill Store breathes second life into those old laundry detergent or liquor bottles that people can’t justify just tossing away or recycling.

Polson Park Mall’s newest addition will allow customers to bring in containers of all shapes and sizes and refill them with products ranging from shampoo to laundry detergent and glass cleaners.

“Only nine per cent of plastics worldwide actually end up being recycled,” owner Teresa Sanders said. “That means 91 per cent of plastics go to the landfill.”

Sanders, who was the winner of the 2019 Enterprize Challenge, said that statistic shocked her when she learned about it and on Dec. 1, 2018, she could no longer stand by and do nothing and decided to open the store.

“I just am sick with all the plastics that are out there,” Sanders said.

READ MORE: New Vernon business takes home Enterprize Challenge award

She first started to become more conscious about the impacts her consumption had on the environment about five years ago and since then, she’s been taking steps to lead a greener lifestyle.

“It’s about resetting your mindset,” she said. “I just imagine it’s ‘we’ over ‘me.’ My needs don’t supersede the world’s needs.”

With 20 years behind her, working at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, she has been no stranger to single-use plastics, but the thought of what these products were doing to the oceans, animals and environment was appalling to her.

She started to focus on “going without,” and reducing. For example, those late afternoon coffees to carry you through to the end of the day, if Sanders didn’t have a to-go cup, she’d simply skip the convenient option of buying yet another paper or plastic cup and just do without the java.

“There are times when you want convenience,” she said. “It’s difficult, we’re not set up in this world to make things easy or more convenient.”

“‘I make do’ is the other way of looking at it,” she said, returning to the coffee example. “I may not have a to-go cup, but maybe I have a mug, sure it may be more difficult to go to the coffee shop with my mug, but then maybe I’ll sit down for a couple of minutes. It makes you re-think things.”

Sanders understands that a “completely green” lifestyle is unlikely for most, “but it’s so hard to be an ‘absolute,’” she said.

“Let’s cut everyone some slack and support each other.”

But how does it work?

Customers bring in their containers and they are weighed before they are filled. Once filled, the container is weighed again for pricing.

“There are significant cost savings with the products when you do a refill,” Sanders said.

Her store is not only a great place to reuse that bottle of wine with a beautiful label or buy more kitschy glass containers, but it’s also going to be a great resource and educational tool.

Already, Sanders is planning to speak with a class from a local elementary school and a group of Girl Guides. She will touch on important subjects such as sustainability and recycling.

Opening the doors to this business on Tuesday, Dec. 3, was Sanders’ “calling,” she said. And she has already been blown away by the support the community has shown her. She said people are coming in to explore and ask questions which, in turn, is stirring up key conversations.

The grand opening event takes place Saturday, Dec. 7, and with every purchase, shoppers are eligible to enter their name into a draw for a collection of giveaway baskets filled with green products.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

READ MORE: Vernon cafés compete to pour perfect cup of hot chocolate


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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