How Soap Company Produced Only 8 Pounds Of Trash in 2019

They're on a mission to get rid of single-use plastics – and you can join them.

Imagine making it through an entire year and only creating eight pounds of trash. Seems like an impossible task.

A soap company in Durham, NC is proving it's possible, thanks to their partnership with a local waste management company and some eco-savvy production methods.

Along with products for hair and body, Fillaree creates non-toxic cleaning products like dish soap and spray sanitizers. The soaps are packaged in metal and glass bottles and are available as a refill system.

Customers can pay for a subscription service, where they're able to come back to the store and the employees will wash, sanitize and refill their bottles as needed. Subscription orders are also able to be refilled by mail with free shipping.

"These bottles are essentially the last bottle you'll ever need to buy," Alyssa Cherry, the store's founder and self-proclaimed 'ocean defending mermaid warrior,' told WRAL-TV.

The 'mermaid warrior' part comes from Cherry's love of the ocean and commitment to keeping plastic out of it, a sentiment that inspired her to start Fillaree in the first place.

This is what 8 pounds of trash (collected over an entire year!) looks like. Fillaree/Facebook

After her mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Cherry started looking into the toxins in bath and cleaning products – she found that even products labeled as "green" have dangerous carcinogens in them.

So, the mother of two started making her own soaps and cleaning products in her kitchen – eventually, she opened a storefront and began producing, selling and bottling her products on a larger scale.


While Fillaree is not a zero-waste company, they're getting pretty close. In fact, there isn't a trash can in sight at the Durham store. Instead, the employees sort what little waste they do produce into three bins: paper, plastic and "everything else."

Fillaree works with 'Gather Green,' a local waste management company, who makes sure the waste is sensibly reused.

"I kind of channel my depression era grandmother, and I'm like 'I'll find a way," Bryce Northington, Gather Green's founder, said.


Cherry hopes that Fillaree can be an inspiration to other businesses that are looking for ways to reduce the amount of waste they produce.

While Cherry admits that operating an almost zero-waste business has its challenges, it's just a matter of adapting to a different type of lifestyle.

"Now that we're there, it's just going to get easier and easier. We're in the flow now," she said.


We think it's awesome that Cherry turned her passion to keep pollution out of the oceans into a practical, eco-friendly solution that anyone can use.

How can you start something good?

If you want to know more about Fillaree's products and subscription services, here's a link to their website.

If you're looking for other ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, we found a great list of tips you can use to reduce waste here.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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