Buying toiletries that come in plastic bottles every month only adds waste to the ecosystem. But what if you could refill your share every month, reducing your share of plastic? That’s an idea that a group of youngsters in Mumbai turned into a start-up firm Refillable, which has a mobile truck going to apartment communities to have residents refill detergents, dishwash, handwash, floor cleaner, toilet and bathroom cleaner in their own bottles.
The start-up recently entered Bengaluru in collaboration with city-based Hasiru Dala Innovations working in the sustainability sector.
Lokesh Sambhawani, co-founder of Refillable, said sustainability needs to be made simple, affordable and accessible to people. “Like us, we thought some people would want to reduce waste. So slowly, we started creating a group, and in no time, we had a community of 2,000 people refilling from us,” he explained.
“Our business model is to tackle packaging waste. We are not producing anything, but want to help brands on one hand and customers on the other to reduce packaging,” he said.
At present, Refillable works with a set of niche brands making organic products helping them remove packaging and act as their distribution channel as well.
“There is a lot of innovation happening in the sustainability space in alternative packaging materials and refillables is just one of them, where the focus is on eliminating packaging waste for a set of products that the consumers use daily. So, it is trying to change the behaviour by making it convenient for the consumers rather than making it difficult,” said Shekar Prabhakar, CEO and co-founder of Hasiru Dala Innovations.
“We are going to evolve into a sharing economy that will eventually simplify and make the packaging industry itself sustainable. Right now, the way forward we think is to make mobile refill stations more accessible and eventually ten years down the line, we hope they will no longer be needed and the brands themselves take responsibility,” Mr. Sambhawani said.