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New refill business is making it easier to reduce plastic waste

April 24, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Individuals who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and overall use of plastics are in luck, as a new eco-friendly refill delivery service has started up locally.

The Sustainability Shoppe is the first business of its kind in the region and provides environmentally conscious customers in New Tecumseth, Bolton, Caledon, and Orangeville with weekly refills of non-toxic household cleaners, laundry detergents, and body care products.

The Sustainability Shoppe’s goods are environmentally sustainable and almost entirely sourced from small Canadian businesses.

“Customers order their products online and we’ll take care of the rest, so zero waste living delivered to your door,” said Theresa Ennis, who co-owns the Sustainability Shoppe with her husband Ryan Shorten.

A $1.25 fee is built into a new customer’s first order, as products are initially delivered in 500ml or 1L mason jars, which are then meant to refill existing product containers at home and be reused for future deliveries.

In more urbanized areas like Toronto, there are refill service storefronts where people can go and refill products themselves, which can be an inconvenience for customers who have to take an extra trip to the store, Ennis noted.

“What we wanted to avoid was leaving any barriers for people to adopt zero waste living,” she said. “We’re take it that extra step because we deliver glass jars and people can then return them to us.”

Until now, there were zero refill services north of the GTA, which created a gap for those living locally and in the surrounding area.

Ennis said her and Shorten’s idea for the Sustainability Shoppe came from their desire to live more sustainably. They discovered that Canada recycles just nine percent of plastics that are placed in the blue bin and over three million tonnes are thrown away by Canadians each year.

“It’s kind of strange timing to open a business during a pandemic, but we’ve been working on this for quite some time and had originally planned on a spring opening when suddenly COIVD struck and our lives just like everyone else’s were significantly impacted,” Ennis explained.

“Our first thought was this isn’t the time to open a business and we put a full stop on all of our work, provided we pick this up later,” she added. “But, as time went on, and we continued to hear about how badly COVID was effecting small businesses, we thought maybe this is an important time for us to try.”

Ennis said almost all of the Sustainability Shoppe’s suppliers are small Canadian businesses and were looking forward to having them as a customer.

“I think they were keen to keep business going in any way that they could to avoid having to lay off employees,” she noted. “We thought… if we can help bring their products to more people, not only are we encouraging sustainable, low waste living, but we’re also supporting our fellow Canadian businesses.”

Ennis said it’s important to note that the products they source are non-toxic, sustainably sourced, and free of parabens, which are proven hormone inhibitors.

“We live in a rural community, so we’re aware that everything going down our sinks goes into the water and streams that feed and nourish not only us but all of the farmers fields and animals in our communities,” she explained.

While the Sustainability Shoppe’s website is set up for individuals making purchases, any business owners can utilize the refill service to become more eco-friendly and reduce plastic waste.

The website has been up and running for roughly two weeks and Ennis said its been rewarding to see the community’s response.

“This is something that we’re passionate about; this isn’t just a business venture for us, it’s something that really aligns with our core values as people and the future we want to see for our children… so it’s been very fulfilling on all fronts,” she said.

Going forward, depending on the demand for the Sustainability Shoppe’s services, Ennis said they hope to grow the number of products being offered.

“We’re really looking for our customers to help us with that, let us know what you’re struggling to find or wish that you could buy with less plastic,” she noted.

The first round of deliveries are slated for this weekend and orders can be placed online at

“We’re really excited to be working in the area,” Ennis smiled.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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