Recently in the office we have been trying out products gifted to us by RefillDrop a local circular economy company working in areas like Kent (Ashfrod, Maidstone, Tenterden etc.) London (including Battersea, Nine Elms, Hammersmith, Fulham, Chelsea, Kensington and more), and just about everywhere inbetween. We wanted to take this opportunity to share our honest review of the products we received and the company itself.

But Firstly

If you haven’t heard about them before and are wondering who they are let me quickly explain.

RefillDrop deliver zero waste, eco friendly refills across the South East.

By refilling products, they prevent potentially millions of harmful single-use plastic bottles, sprayers and wrappers from entering the environment which would otherwise be polluting it. They greatly reduce their plastic by bottling products in glass and then refilling them (as their name suggests!) for you when they are empty. On your first order, you pay a deposit and then after they refill these and you make your second order, that deposit goes back to your account.

We’ve had a delivery from them and they reuse the boxes their products travel in – so no waste for us to clear up or worry about.

RefillDrop say that their glass bottles should last for over 100 refills, they offer free delivery for members and take your empty container away, swapping it with a full one.

But where plastics are unavoidable (such as with the pumps on hand washes etc) they are made from a high-quality plastic. This means they can be reused many times over greatly reducing plastic consumption because there are no single-use plastics.

These responsible products include compostable liners, household cleaning products, hand and body products and even tea so there’s an interesting selection of items to choose from. Their products and packaging also consist of bamboo, recycled paper and other environmentally friendly materials.

So Why Is This Important?

Well, I’m sure you have heard of plastic pollution by now but here are some quick facts to stress the importance of reducing our single use plastic consumption.

  • Around eight million metric tons of plastic waste enter our oceans every year which can entangle and be ingested by marine life (and work its way up to food chain to other animals including us), alter and destroy habitats and jeopardise the nesting sites of species such as turtles and penguins.
  • World plastic production increased exponentially from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons in 2015.
  • Almost one million plastic drink bottles are sold around the world every minute (that’s without plastic bottles sold for household cleaning products, personal hygiene products etc.).
  • By 2050 it is expected that virtually every seabird will have plastic in its system.
  • More than 40% of plastic is used only once and then thrown away.
  • The largest market for plastics is for packaging materials.

This is why it is so important to find alternatives to single-use plastics, like those used by RefillDrop.

What did we think?

So, now it’s finally time to review the products we have been testing out.

Firstly, I do love the glass bottles! They appear to be quite a thick glass so should be fairly sturdy. Plus, as well as being much better for the environment, glass bottles always have more of a luxurious feel to them too (or at least I think so!).

Hand products

As far as hand products we gratefully received their hand sanitiser and fig leaf hand soap as well as a sea kelp moisturiser by The Scottish Fine Soaps Company. As you can see, all in those lovely glass bottles.

Refill Drop hand products tested at Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent

This year I think we have all become hand sanitiser experts, haven’t we? Before I wouldn’t have been as aware of a weak or slimy textured sanitiser as I am now that’s for sure! While this one had a slightly slimy texture it actually dried very quickly and is amongst the nicer ones I’ve used this year. It also has a 70% Ethanol content. WHO recommends using a sanitiser with an alcohol content of 60% or more for effectiveness against COVID-19. So, this one exceeds that which of course, is fantastic too.

The fig leaf hand soap was also great, it didn’t dry our hands out at all. I have to say the moisturiser has been my favourite product and I would recommend it. If I’m honest I wasn’t sure I’d like it when I first read it was sea kelp. However, this is actually a really fresh, clean smelling moisturiser and I can still smell it for ages after I’ve used it. Plus, my hands feel lovely and moisturised too which is the important bit.

Household Cleaning products

We also received several cleaning products. These included ginger washing up liquid, honeysuckle all purpose spray, grapefruit kitchen clean and bergamot floor cleaner once again all in the glass bottles.

Refill Drop cleaning products. Tested by Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent.

The all-purpose spray and the kitchen clean both have a safety nozzle for off and spray. The all-purpose spray hasn’t had any problems cleaning our hard surfaces while the kitchen clean has successfully tackled our sink and appliances which certainly get a lot of use in this office.

The floor cleaner goes a surprisingly long way while the refreshing scent lasts ages too. Additionally, you might notice that this one is plastic free which is a big bonus as it has a metal screw top lid rather than the sprays and pumps on the other products.

Personally, I love the smell of ginger so the washing up liquid is great in my eyes. Also, you really don’t have to use much to get all those fabulous bubbles either.

Refill Drop washing up liquid tested by Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent.

Of course, we all have different preferences on smells, textures and products as a whole but overall I would happily recommend the products supplied by Refill Drop. As you can tell from this review there are is a fantastic array of scents available, so something for everybody!

Not only are they great products in themselves but they are also great for the environment too which makes cleaning up just a little bit better, don’t you think?

Hold up, hold up… HOLD UP!

Let me interject… Markus here, and as many of you have seen me embarass myself on live streams during the last lockdown – not so much this one, yet, so I’ll talk about the toilet paper!

They sell products by a company who gives a crap, and honestly, where we can do! The biggest way in which they care is that their paper seems to come from 2 different sources. Either recycled toilet paper (don’t worry, it’s made from just general paper waste, not recycled toilet paper made from… Well, old toilet paper), or simply from FSC certified sources.

Toilet paper is designed to be soft and comfortable (unless you’re buying for a school – I’ll never forget the hybrid between tracing paper and baking parchment which we had in our school), so it’s easy to forget that it starts out as wood mulch. So if you can get that mulch from a sustainable source certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, like all the wood we use in construction at the park, you know you’re on the right track.

And yes, whilst the kitchen paper is absorbent and able to clean up all the mess we make with our leaky kettle in the office, the toilet paper on the other hand is lovely and soft! As one rival loo roll company might say it makes you feel clean as red panda!

You can find them on their social media below:

On their Facebook profile, they even show you how to become more sustainable at home with recipes and life hacks!

I’ve spoken to the guys who set up this company myself a few times and I have to say that they’re doing an admirable thing and really trying to make a difference at a grass roots level and in a way which could actually work. Let’s be honest, a waste free lifestyle in this modern age, is so difficult – especially for a business (and by the way they do also have a business site here)… We know that so well trying to juggle sustainability and being able to be competitively priced. So the best start we can all make on this journey is to minimise our impact where we can, and then work on making that impact smaller and smaller.

RefillDrop make that change easy to go after. You’re still not plastic free, but you’re getting very close to cutting out all of that plastic which covers your food or contains your soap just once before ending in the bin. That’s how you can start to make a change in this world… Everything else will follow.

Don’t get me wrong, even RefillDrop are still working to improve their range and processes – they are still a very new company, but they’ve made an amazing start. I believe they are looking for new products all the time, especially for things like food wraps. At this time when it comes to cling film for example, there is still nothing which combines being reusable, cheap and finite – by which mean, when you’re done with you, you can be sure that the world is done with it too. You can use reusable latex food covers but these are expensive and you’re still left with latex waste when it breaks, or bees wax wraps which again are even more expensive and less effective or covering fresh produce (latex works best for that)… What we want to see is a product which best combines all of those features, and I think RefillDrop are worth watching to see if their dedication to the cause can find us that product!

About Leanne - Education Officer