WEST TOWN – A store featuring eco-friendly ways to buy shampoo, laundry detergent and other household and personal items has opened a pop-up shop in West Town.
The Refilleri, 1821 W. Chicago Ave., is owned and operated by Kelli Pelc, a Roscoe Village resident who started the company in early 2021 after a lifetime of being a devoted recycler and environmentalist.
For years, Pelc has been looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste and plastic she consumes. But during the pandemic, she was inspired to take her “zero waste” journey to the next level, and officially started The Refilleri.
“The more and more I went about it, I was like, ‘it’s challenging to do zero waste. It’s challenging to find products like that. … How can I make it easier for people?’ Because I think that everyone would be on board with being eco-friendly if we can make it accessible,” Pelc said.
The Refilleri sells shampoos, laundry detergents, face wash and conditioner through pumps available to fill or refill jars or bottles. Customers can bring their own, or use one provided by the store.
The Refilleri also sells soaps, candles and other products, much of them sourced from locally-owned companies and makers.
All of the packaging used at the store is also either reusable or compostable, Pelc said.
“Everything here is zero waste. So it’s either refillable, it’s compostable or it’s indefinitely reusable. All of the packaging you see around here is compostable, for the most part, or it can be refilled,” Pelc said. “Our last line of defense is recycling. So if there’s no other options we would go to recycling.”
The Refilleri is the latest tenant at the West Town Chamber of Commerce’s Pop-Up Project space, which gives short-term leases to rotating small businesses every few months. The store has previously hosted Swap & Strut boutique, the Kone Ranger design studio and Chicago Makers Pop-Up Shop, among others.
The Refilleri will call the storefront home for the rest of June and all of July. Pelc said she’s now looking at permanent homes a little further west near Humboldt Park.
Eventually, she hopes to expand her offerings to include dry goods, makeup and even zero waste wine.
Pelc said she hopes The Refilleri inspires people to realize that people can make an impact when it comes to reducing waste and combating climate change.
“People think that ‘I can’t make a difference’ as one person, but you can. Get rid of your conditioner bottle and your shampoo bottle, make a small change, and that makes a big difference, right, when you think of the amount of plastic bottles you use over the next 50 years of your life,” Pelc said.
“If you switch out one thing for something sustainable, you’re already making an impact.”
The Refilleri is open noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays.
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