Emily's Refill at Home Routine
Zero-waste blogs and influencers often show labeled pantries and beautiful glass containers, but to me it all looks a little too perfect. In reality, the most sustainable thing you can do is take a look around your house for containers that you already own, and opt to refill them instead of buying new ones. Below is a break-down of my refill process at home, and a TikTok video of the containers that work for me.
@jarr.co Here’s what living zero-waste looks like for our founder Emily! #zerowaste #vancouver #reuse #zerowastevancouver #circulareconomy ♬ original sound - Jarr
Refilling Pantry Staples
Years ago, I bought olive oil in a glass bottle and I have continued to refill this for years—the same goes for my vinegar. Repurposing containers from previous purchases is my go-to because it means you aren’t adding anything new to your kitchen, plus the bottles are designed for the product. This one has a plastic insert that helps with pouring, and I pop it out with a knife when I need to refill it. I also put the whole thing through the dishwasher between uses.
Maple syrup is another one of those items that you will definitely want to transfer into a different container because it is hard to pour straight from the jar. I have been using a large decorative glass container with a swing top lid that perfectly fits 500 mL for a while now. I’ve also seen things at the thrift store that could work for this!
For hot sauce, I use one of Sriracha Revolver’s bottles that I bought before Jarr carried their product. I just refill as much as I can using a funnel, and save the rest in the fridge for later. Having a refill nearby is especially helpful if you go through a lot of hot sauce at your house!
At Jarr we deliver bread in a compostable paper bag to protect it during transit. I always transfer my sourdough loaf to a giant beeswax wrap to keep it fresh for longer. I also do this with buns and when I make cookies! When all the bread is gone, all I have to do is rinse the Abeego in cold water to get the crumbs off and it's ready to wrap another one!
Refilling Cleaning Supplies
All purpose cleaner tabs are the easiest product to refill because they come in these compact little cubes that you just mix with water and vinegar. I have an old plastic bottle with a spray nozzle that I drop the tablet into and filled up. I use masking tape to create a label to differentiate it from my other cleaning products.
Hand soap is another regular refill item in my house. I use an old glass pump bottle from a product I bought at Harlow Atelier for liquid hand soap in my powder room because it looks really cute for guests. For the kids bathroom, I have a plastic foaming soap pump that I’ve had for probably 5 years. I fill it up ⅓ with soap and the rest with water to create the foaming solution—this helps me use less of the product and utilizes an existing container.
If you find that you do need a new container for something specific, we carry some of my favourite multi-purpose fillables, but I would also recommend that you check out your local thrift store or buy-nothing facebook group. There are already so many useful containers in this world, and we don’t always need to be creating more.
Emily Sproule is the founder of Jarr, a mom of two young school age children and an environmentalist doing the best she can with the time she has. Emily lives in East Vancouver, is passionate about business as a force for change and is excited to bring package-free grocery delivery to Metro Vancouver.