Pandemic or no pandemic, the green revolution continues to roll unabated over the land, including Westchester. A recent example of this can be found in Hastings-on-Hudson, where the brand-new Refill Room — a 300 sq. ft. storefront on Main Street — is ready to help you up your sustainability quotient while reducing your carbon footprint.
Launched in June, Refill Room was conceived by principals Heather Ben-Zvi and Jaclyn Smith to help locals replenish some of their household products and personal-hygiene items in a new, eco-friendly way. “Our mission is to reduce single-use plastic,” says Ben-Zvi, who holds a degree from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. “The idea is that you can bring in any old bottle that you want — or use bottles that we provide at the store — to fill or refill from large-volume containers of household cleaning products and bath and
“Jaclyn and I love Westchester,” adds Ben-Zvi, “and as our kids were getting older, our attention increasingly turned to doing something that benefits this community, which we believe is one of the best communities in the country for what we’re trying to do with Refill Room.”
For Ben-Zvi and Smith, who is a James Madison University-educated dietitian, a big part of selling that concept here in the 914 means not browbeating people into either their patronage or their carbon-neutrality. “We don’t want to be preachy,” says Ben-Zvi. “If you just come in and buy our hand soap, and that’s all you use,
The self-financed startup cost its principals less than $200K to open, and while inventory is the single-biggest overhead item, Ben-Zvi says that purchasing in bulk has helped keep the debit column in check. At the current rate, she projects that she and Smith will have recouped their investment in less than 18 months — not bad for a business that opened in the middle of a pandemic economy.
Refill Room also offers a collection of zero-waste and low-waste products for customers who want to opt out of plastic entirely. These include soap and shampoo bars, reusable paper towels, dryer balls, old-school razors, deodorant, lotion bars, metal straws, and beeswax covers for food, among others. “Our product line is growing continually,” says Ben-Zvi, adding that her company’s products use no harsh chemicals and that all meet the standards of the Environmental Working Group.