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World Refill Day 2023

By Vicki Patterson

As we are becoming more aware of the devastating effect plastic has on our environment, many of us are looking for ways to live more sustainably and to reduce our use single-use packaging.

Reducing our plastic footprint is a great way to take action and World Refill Day is a great time to start making small changes.

We don’t need one person to do it perfectly by giving up single-use plastic all together. We need millions of people to make small changes which together make a big impact.

12 minutes of use, 1000 years of pollution

It takes up to 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down. On average, a plastic shopping bag is used for just 12 minutes.

1. Water

A great place to start with reducing single-use plastic is to carry a refillable water bottle and refill on the go. Not only will it keep you hydrated (and healthy), but it’ll also save you money and prevent plastic pollution caused by the BILLIONS of single-use bottles we use and dispose of every year around the world.

2. Hot Drinks

Around 500 billion takeaway coffee cups are uses globally each year – that’s enough to go around the Earth 1,360 times! But did you know that less than 1% of these are recycled? The rest end up being burned or sent to landfill after just one single use. That’s a lot of coffee cup pollution we can do without!

Using a reusable coffee cup means you can enjoy your morning brew free from plastic. Many cafes even offer discounts or incentives for bringing your own cup so you save money too!

3. Lunch on The Go

The food-to-go market is responsible for a lot of plastic pollution in the world, and takeaway food containers are consistently found in the top ten polluting items found on beaches around the world.

Single-use bags, plastic bottles, food containers and food wrappers are the four most widespread items polluting the ocean, making up almost half of the human-made waste.

To avoid all the single-use plastic that comes with buying lunch on the go, the key is being prepared! Pack your own lunch at home, or if you’re short on time, take an empty container with you and find places that will happily fill your lunchbox.

4. Laundry Products

An estimated 900 million plastic bottles are being used in the US every year. Not only are these single-use bottles contributing to plastic pollution found in our oceans, but they contain lots of nasty chemicals too.

Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to find places to refill eco-friendly liquid detergent and fabric softeners.

5. Fruit and Veggie

I have to admit, this is my biggest pet peeve.

Avoid pointless plastic and choose unwrapped or loose fruit and veg where possible. Local farmers markets and natural food storers often offer more packaging-free options.

I bring a basket or box and fill it up. If I do happen to forget it, I simply ask the grocer for a box! They don't get shipped to you in plastic, so why do we need it just to get home?

Here's what mine looks like!

6. Herbs and Spices

Why not keep your herb and spice bottles when they run out and refill them instead of buying new? Most natural food stores have a wide variety of herbs and spices available to refill.

Not only does it save on packaging but it often works out cheaper to buy herbs and spices by weight, especially if you only need a small amount to try out a new recipe.

There’s no need to throw out products you already own. Use it up first before replacing it.

Share your story of going low waste.

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