**The first in a series of stories focusing on the producers and makers you’ll find at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market**
Katrina Wood started her business, Eco Refillary, as a way to give back and make an environmental lifestyle change. “I live in the country outside of Mount Forest, and for 7 years our water wasn’t being filtered properly so I relied on bottled water,” Katrina explains. “I didn’t realize plastics were such an issue. I recycled the water bottles and thought I was doing the right thing.” However, she discovered only 9% of plastics are actually recycled in Canada. She decided it was time to make a change, and looked at other areas in her life where plastics existed. Shampoos and conditioners, laundry soaps, dish soap – all were packaged in plastic containers. Her resolution to make a difference led to the development of her company – Eco Refillary.
The premise of her business is simple: people can purchase a refillable glass bottle which is weighed, and then filled with the product of their choice. The amount they pay is based on the amount of product they’ve chosen. Customers can also bring in their own clean, dry containers and fill them with the products too, all of which helps reduce the amount of plastics they consume. At present her product line includes shampoos, conditioners, body wash/lotions, deodorant and cleaners. She also stocks several reusable products such as metal and glass straws, dish cloths, produce bags and coffee filters, providing easy ways for people to make a positive change. “Change doesn’t have to be everything all at once,” Katrina says. “I usually suggest people start in one place at a time – say, the bathroom or kitchen – and make a few changes there. It all really adds up.”
Katrina follows strict criteria when choosing products for Eco Refillary. Every product must be biodegradable, vegan, gluten free (Katrina herself is celiac), and the products cannot be tested on animals. She supports small businesses that are taking initiatives to lessen their environmental impact. Dealing with local companies is important to her (her products come from Cambridge, Burlington, and Barrie to name a few). The ingredients in the products must be natural, so they’re good for your body as well as the environment. Most importantly, Katrina says the products she brings into Eco Refillary have to work really well, and she tests each one personally to make sure they do.
Being able to help her customers put a face and a name to the makers behind her products is important to Katrina too. “Ashley runs her business, The Bare Home, out of Burlington,” Katrina says. “She’s such a sweet person: I always drive to go and pick up my products from her, so I know her. It’s so important to me to be able to help market other people’s products for them – it gives me so much joy.”
Katrina has been part of the St. Jacobs Farmers’Market family since August 2019, and is already seeing return customers at her vendor location inside the Market Tent – a bright, friendly place to explore. Even though she initially thought her products would appeal mainly to millennials, many Gen X and baby boomers have tried the products and find they love them.
“People come to the Market all the time and are on a mission to get what they need, and then head home!” she says. “While they’re rushing through they’ll discover my booth my accident, and then are excited to find us because they’ve been looking for this type of product.” And Katrina loves that she can fill that need for people.
Eco Refillary is one of the many makers you’ll discover inside The Market Tent at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market