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Zero-and low-waste stores are planet-friendly

Cody Alexander and Adrienne Grolbert, co-owners of The Refillary in Parker. Low- and zero-waste stores are becoming more popular with everyone from middle and high school students in eco-clubs to empty nesters. Customers pump household and personal care products from 5-gallon buckets and 55-gallon drums into refillable containers saving waste from landfills.

As consumers are becoming more aware of the waste generated from the many products used every day, zero- and low-waste stores are popping up to help with the transition away from packaging and plastics that end up in landfills to more sustainable products.

It is a shift in thinking to go from purchasing single-use plastic bottles – shampoo, laundry detergent, cleaning products, hand soap and lotion to name a few – to pumping these products into refillable containers, but zero- and low-waste stores exist to make this process easy.

“Just pick one room or just one product to start,” suggested Cody Alexander who co-owns The Refillary in Parker with Adrienne Grolbert.

Customers can fill their own container, borrow or buy one (keep in mind the idea is to reduce, reuse, recycle). Endlessly refillable and recyclable, glass is recommended but refilling an empty plastic hand soap, shampoo or laundry detergent container works too.

In addition to eco-friendly household refills for cleaning and personal care, these inviting and stylish stores also offer everyday products such as sunscreen, lip balm and soap in less wasteful, recyclable packaging or package-free.

ZERO Market, located in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora and in the Edgewater Public Marketplace near Sloan’s Lake, offers more than 1,200 products in their stores. Both marketplaces offer a Colorado-based shopping and eating experience that are worth the trip.

Some stores such as The Refillary are also collection sites for various recyclables such as dental products, shaving products and more, offering sustainable substitutes when needed. For example, Tooth Tabs can replace non-recyclable toothpaste tubes, and eco-friendly toothbrushes with biodegradable heads can replace plastic ones.

Grains, flour, spices, treats, teas, nuts and more can be bought by the ounce from bulk bins in stores such as The Minimal Market which opened recently in Loveland. More grocery stores are now offering bulk bins, allowing shoppers to buy just the amount needed and avoid packaging and waste.

On trying to reduce waste, Alexander said, “It’s easier than you think and every bit helps.” Grolbert added, “If every person in the United States used just one less plastic container, we would save 330 million from the landfills.”

Zero- and low-waste stores often offer workshops and classes so check their websites. Visit, and to start your planet-friendly journey.

Article and photo by Lisa Nicklanovich




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