The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia
Thursday, 27 April 2023 13:08

Refill with KnoxFill. Knoxville startup gets its own storefront.

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IMG 2216Multiple household and personal items such as detergent, shampoo and even toothpaste can be refilled at KnoxFill, which now has a storefront at 3211 South Haven Road in Knoxville.  Photo courtesy Michaela Barnett

Glass jars aren’t just for moonshine anymore 

KNOXVILLE The city now has a store where walk-in customers can buy refillable household products. 

“Zero waste” is commonly heard around concerts, festivals and Earth Day events, but now it is easier to make it a daily priority.  

KnoxFill opened a 1,600-square-foot store April 8 in South Knoxville at 3211 South Haven Road.

The company uses reusable glass containers for purchasing common household goods such as shampoo and detergent, like the way you might buy bulk foods. Hellbender Press previously reported on this business. 

Their products are eco-sourced. The idea is if a container is not reused, it will either be landfilled, incinerated, end up as litter, or recycled, which has its own set of issues. That’s on the back side of the waste stream. Refillable glass containers also combat pollution and waste on the front side by eliminating the petrochemicals needed to produce and ship all the plastic containers needed for consumer products in the first place.  

Prior to opening her store, owner Michaela Barnett provided her goods and services via the “milkman” method. She would refill the bottles at home and then deliver them to her customers.  

“The milkman system was very labor intensive; we could never have the impact and scale we now have without a brick-and-mortar store,” she said.

Her customers seem to like the change, too. “Everyone has been so thrilled and happy, and we’re getting new customers coming in every day. We could never have attracted as many new customers without the store.” 

Barnett is keeping her pick-up sites, both at her home and the remote ones, and still delivers. “We haven’t taken anything away, just added,” she said. 

Along with the increased business from opening a retail outlet, there have been some new problems to overcome. She said smoothing out the processes in opening a store have been challenging.  

“But as the challenges have scaled up, so have the rewards.” 

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Last modified on Thursday, 27 April 2023 22:54