Spokane’s first zero-waste refill shop is now open in downtown Spokane at 1105 West 1st Avenue.

Don’t let the name fool you: Spokane Refillery is not a place to come fill up your beer growlers!

Instead, bring in your empty containers and fill them up with a laundry list (pun intended) of eco-friendly home and personal care products: laundry powders and pods, hand and dish soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, hand sanitizers, multi-purpose cleaners, toothpaste tabs, and more.

“Everything we have is biodegradable, reusable, compostable, and all good for the environment,” said owner Hannah Nelson.

Here’s how it works: they’ll weigh your empty container, fill it up, then weigh it again so you’ll only pay for the cost of your goods.

Don’t have your own container? In addition to containers available for purchase, they have a community shelf where you can snag one for free.

“People can bring me their empty containers, like spaghetti jars or salsa jars, or a Mrs. Meyer’s soap pump,” Nelson explained. “I clean them, sanitize them, then I label them and they’re up for grabs for free.”

Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced worldwide each year, half is for single-use items. For people interested in reducing their plastic footprint, Spokane Refillery is a dream come true. That’s why Nelson’s favorite compliment is a simple one: “Thank you for doing this.”

Nelson came up with the idea to open a refillery after browsing Buzzfeed, where she saw the concept taking off in California. Intrigued, she dug deeper and discovered that Seattle had opened five refilleries in 2020.

“I thought, ‘Well, Spokane is always 10 years behind.’ I’m going to look into starting a business, and now here we are!” Nelson said.

Nelson began doing pop ups in October 2021 but decided to take a leap of faith on her own store in the spring of 2022, enticed by the affordable rent and ideal west-end downtown location. She’s right by Hotel Indigo and community favorites like Brick West Brewing Co., Rocket Bakery and Brooklyn Deli.

“I love the area and getting to know all the people I’m by,” shared Nelson.

Of course, reducing plastic waste is just one of the perks of shopping at Spokane Refillery. Nelson gets a lot of customers who have allergies and need hypoallergenic products.

Additionally, more people are moving toward toxin-free households. Ditching products with synthetic fragrance is a key step in this. (An average fragrance contains 14 different chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group.)

Rather than spending hours scouring the internet for products that fit the bill, Spokane Refillery is a one-stop shop for products that bring peace of mind.

“Everything I have is either fragrance free or is fragranced with essential oils,” said Nelson.

In her mission to help the planet, Nelson likes to choose brands that use a closed-loop system, meaning they reuse, share or recycle materials to eliminate waste. For example, once she’s done with a 5-gallon container, she can ship it back to a company and they’ll sanitize it and reuse it.

Spokane Refillery is open Wednesday–Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and the second Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

P.S. While you’re in, don’t forget to pick up a few dryer balls. They’re always the first to go!