By KYLIE HAMMACK
Sometimes the smallest daily tasks can act as inspiration for big ideas – something a local couple learned when they began to think about the wasteful nature of everyday household containers. The Repshers, a local Jenks family, decided to open up Green Country’s first refill station for personal hygiene and household products after realizing that many plastic containers – such as laundry detergent bottles – were sturdy enough to be used more than once. Aiming to create less waste and cut out harsh chemicals from their household products, the Repshers searched for an institution that would allow them to refill the bottles they already had. What they found surprised and inspired them: no refill stations of the sort existed in the Tulsa area.
This discovery led the family to open the Ecotastic Refill Station located in downtown Jenks. The process of refilling any household product begins with weighing your empty container and writing its weight down on the sheet provided. Next, you chose any of the numerous harsh chemical-free products offered, fill up your empty container, and write the product’s number on your sheet. At checkout, your full container is weighed, the container’s mass is subtracted, and you are charged for the new product in your bottle brought from home. If you do not have a bottle from home, the shop has many containers to choose from so you can kick-start your waste-free journey.
The list of products offered is expansive and includes hygiene products such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotions, as well as household products such as dish soaps, dog shampoo, glass cleaner, and multi-purpose cleaner. On top of this, the shop sells handmade soaps, bath bombs, and body scrubs that contain only organic, non-toxic ingredients.
When the Ecotastic Refill Station opened last summer, the Repshers knew launching a small business in the middle of a pandemic would be a challenge, but they decided to move forward with actualizing their dream. Unfortunately, the unconventional nature of 2020 and the uniqueness of the idea of a refill station have made for a taxing first year in business according to Mrs. Repsher who commented “it has been hard because we are also trying to change people’s mindsets.”
Nevertheless, the Repshers are confident in their business idea and passionate about encouraging sustainability in the local community. Although recycling can help prevent excess waste, Mrs. Repsher points out even recycling requires energy and with Earth’s finite supply of resources and limited landfill space, taking steps towards sustainability is more important than ever.