FILL store encourages sustainable approach to community shoppers

Bright ideas often come out of the darkest times. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ali Orvosh found herself spending more time at home, with her husband Kris and their kids. She began conversations with her family about how they could do better managing or eliminating waste. 
 
During the pandemic, Ali Orvosh found herself spending more time at home, with her husband Kris and their kids. FILL was born from conversations about reducing waste at home.“We started seeing how much recycling isn’t what we know it to be,” says Orvosh. “Only 9% is actually recycled. This prompted more research which led us to find refillery shops. Thus, it began.”
 
On June 17, FILL — the Tri-Cities’ first refillery and zero-waste shop — opened its doors at 1908 S. Saginaw Road in Midland. 
 
“Our mission is to provide the community with resources to reduce their personal or business waste,” says Orvosh. “I wanted to make a difference in our community, and I feel like this resource was lacking. The environment has always been important to me, it’s just gotten to be more so in recent years.”
 
To prepare their brick and mortar store, crews remodeled and freshened up the space, including walls that were shared with The Gourmet Cupcake Shoppe. Customers can bring their own containers or purchase aluminum or glass bottles in an effort to reduce reliance on plastic containers. 
 
Items include zero and low-waste products like beeswax wraps (instead of plastic wrap or one-time use aluminum foil), dryer balls, bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, unpaper towels, reusable straws, Swedish dishcloths, produce bags, and more. 
 
Most items were tested by family members and were handpicked after research and advice from other established refill shops around the country.

Featured items include household laundry and cleaning products, personal care items like shampoo, conditioners, lotions, body scrubs and more in the refill areas.Orvosh says the Great Lakes are a prime example of why managing waste and eliminating trash in our fresh water sources is important. “All of our products are eco-friendly, sustainable and safe for our waterways,” she says. “Being a Michigander, it's so important to use products that don't add damage to our lakes and rivers.”
 
Although transitioning to an eco-friendly or low-waste lifestyle can be intimidating, Orvosh says small changes can add up to a big difference. 
 
Popular items include the sweet pea refill line, cucumber melon and strawberry hand soap, dryer balls, beeswax wraps, and Routine brand deodorant. “We don't want customers to feel like they have to come in and completely switch over their entire household to low waste in one weekend. It takes time. Items can initially be higher to purchase but, it's good to keep in mind they are high quality and last much longer than non eco-friendly alternatives. Also, we are more than willing to have groups of 10 or more schedule an after-hours time to come in and really learn about the products, and get any help they may need with refilling for the first time.”
 
FILL is located at 1908 S. Saginaw Road. They’re open Monday-Tuesday from noon-6 p.m., Wednesday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.,Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and the second and fourth Sunday of each month from noon-4 p.m.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.