Most businesses are about making money, but some are about a mission – a mission to do good, or a mission to change peoples’ hearts and minds. In the case of this business, the idea is to do both of those things by reducing our never ending reliance on single use plastics and showing people a different way to live a more “clean” lifestyle. If you ask the owner, Ellen Andrick, she will tell you that this is her “North Star” and this is the only type of business that she’s interested in running.
Have you ever seen the ingredient list on a bottle of cleaning solution, laundry detergent, deodorant or toothpaste? Do you have any idea of what any of those ingredients are? Further, are you maybe a little suspicious about what those types of ingredients might mean for your longevity in the long term? It’s really hard to parse through all that and it takes copious amounts of research to figure out.
Lucky for you, that’s exactly what Ellen thinks about every day, and that’s one of the reasons why she created her business, “Replenish Refillery”, right here in Downtown Dover NH. While she never expected her life to bring her to this point, as soon as she started talking with her friends and family about building this type of business they all had a “no duh” moment – this is exactly what she was meant to do.
There are two major categories to Replenish. The first is “Sustainable Goods” and the second is the “Refillery”.
The first category of sustainable goods consists of products that are fully compostable at end of life. They are made of materials such as bamboo, coconut fiber, sisal fiber (made from agave), wood pulp or cellulose. These products will fully compost when they are at end of life. Ellen stocks items such as Swedish dish cloths, bamboo dish scrubbers, sisal fiber body exfoliating gloves, and more. You can just put them in the compost pile after they’ve lived their life with you.
The next category of sustainable goods are things that are meant to offset single use plastic, so instead of using something like plastic wrap to store that half-used onion you can use a food-grade sillicon based product that can be reused for the rest of your life, eseentially swapping myriad rolls of single-use cling wrap over your lifetime with one simple, and easily cleaned, product.
Got kids and lunches to prep? Check out this alternative to plastic bags. These bags store your lunch goodies without all the waste, and expense of buying throw-away plastic bags. They will replace 500 plastic bag uses and are even dishwasher safe.
The final category of sustainable goods is upcycled materials. Ellen has items such as dish towels made from recycled water bottles, and tote bags made from discarded billboards. Wait – billboard tote bags?? Glad you asked. These unique tote bags are reclaimed billboards destined for the landfill that are turned into one-of-a-kind durable water resistent tote bags – and they’re made right here in New Hampshire!
You’re probably still wondering what a “Refillery” is huh? Well, this is the part where we reduce our reliance on single-use plastic bottles. Why buy a bottle of dish detergent every time when all you need is the dish detergent?
The idea is pretty simple, just bring in your (clean) bottle you want to fill, weigh it on the scale and then fill it with whatever product you need. When it’s time to checkout, the weight of the bottle is removed and you only pay for the product.
The great part is that all you have to do is use that old dishwasher soap bottle that is now empty and bring it in to be refilled. That plastic bottle that was primed to go sit in a landfill gets a new lease on life.
Don’t have a bottle kicking around? No worries. Replenish has containers for sale, and they even have a free “jar library” where you can drop off and pick up from.
Replenish lets you refill home use items such as dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning scrubs, all purpose cleaning sprays, etc. It doesn’t stop there, though, Replenish also carries body essentials such as hand soap, beard oil, toothpaste tabs, deodorant, SPF, body scrub, and all kinds of other self-care products.
Like I mentioned earlier, you’re probably wondering what all those ingredients are in your toothpaste, shampoo or laundry detergent are. This is another area where Ellen is putting her skills, and her continually evolving scientific brain, to the task. Besides reducing waste she is looking to help people live a cleaner lifestyle with less carcinogens and toxins.
So, what does clean look like? It looks like a product that is plant-based, dye-free, and contains only naturally derived fragrances (like essential oils), which is what all products at Replenish are.
While speaking with Ellen I learned that, in the six months that she has been in business, she has only used one trash bag. Everything else is cardboard being recycled or disposed of in the compost pile. I would hazard a guess that there aren’t a lot of use like that and in fact I would guess that we’re probably about 12-24 times that amount of garbage destined for landfills.
But, Ellen is the first to admit that she doesn’t expect everyone to flip in an instant. She suggests starting small. If all you want to do is dish detergent, then just do that. Eventually you might find that you want to try the toothpaste tabs (which have been a huge hit), or the glass cleaner. So don’t fret or feel bad that you can’t change your lifestyle immediately. Small steps still make a huge impact. The trick is simply to get started.
Meet the Owner, Ellen Andrick
Ellen started her career in school for Early Childhood Education and Teacher Training. She went on to be a teacher in the Peace Corps. From there she did her graduate work and then taught in the Boston area. She landed in Dover by way of a job in teacher training.
Then Covid came along and her life, like everyone else’s, got turned upside down. So she left her job to start home schooling her young children – after all, that is her background. As we have came out of the pandemic an idea started percolating and she thought a lot about how thrifty her Grandfather was and how he repaired and repurposed, rather than throwing away, all manner of things.
She was already living the “refilling” lifestyle and limiting her use of single-use plastics and thought that maybe it was time to start her own refillery business. Thus “Replenish Refillery” was born.
Ellen told me a story about a vendor that sent her product wrapped in plastic sleeves, so she asked that they ship it a different way without the plastics and the vendor agreed to do so. When the order came again with the same plastic sleeves wrapping the product she cut ties with the vendor. I think it’s a great illustration of her commitment to how she puts her business model into practice every day.
Address: 2A Waldron Court, Dover NH 03820
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fK8ATMcaYXjznRga7