A new shop in Kingston, Ont., is selling household products with a twist: the store is zero waste.

Shoppers bring the containers, or buy reusable ones at the store, and fill up the jars with the products they buy, in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

The Keep Refillery: Kingston, located at 206 Princess St. W., sells everything from shampoo and conditioner, to make-up and household cleaning products.

Jasmine Lam, stopping in, says she’s trying to be a more sustainable shopper these days.

“I try to reduce my waste as best as possible. Where I can,” she explains.

Picking up hand sanitizer and a few other items, she is refilling her everyday items at the store. Lam says it’s far more efficient than recycling containers for her.

"I just filled up my hand sanitizer and you can, she let me choose a scent for the essential oils so I picked eucalyptus," she says. "They have a great selection of products and scents, which I love."

Store manager Amanda Richardson says the zero waste model hopes to help people rethink the way they consume.

"The idea is we want to curb the use of single-use plastics."

Richardson says people can bring any bottle in, it doesn’t matter. 

"We don’t care about the size, it could be glass, it could be plastic. It could be a mason jar, it could be an old shampoo bottle that you were just about to toss out," she says. "Instead, what you’re doing is refilling and creating a more sustainable solution to a problem."

You bring your jar from home or you can get one at the store. You place it on the scale, and weigh it out, and record how much it weighs. Then you go over to the product you want to buy and simply fill the jar up.

The jar is then weighed again at the cash register, so that you're only paying for the product inside.

This is the third location in the province the owner has opened during the pandemic. 

In an interview from her Creemore, Ont. location, just northwest of Toronto, Jacquie Rushlow says customers have responded.

“With everybody stuck at home, they’re now looking at the garbage they're creating, their understanding where their garbage ends up,” she says.

Rushlow began her career as a television and documentary producer and says she was inspired to make a change and open a store, after visiting Africa, and seeing that garbage is often shipped overseas.

She says another important feature of the store is that the suppliers also refill or repurpose the large bottles their product comes in once it’s all been sold, so that there’s no waste at all.

“I will research forever for that one product, that one supplier that ticks all of our boxes, so no plastic ever gets shipped here," said Rushlow. "They have to be responsible for their waste, so they have to take their empties back and more important the product has to work because if the product doesn’t work you’re going to go back to your plastic alternative.”