For Plastic Free July we are delighted to introduce you to Chloe and Monica, the founders of charrli. Greenscents is supplying increasing numbers of zero waste retailers with our large refill containers so that customers can fill and reuse their containers locally or have their essentials delivered to their home like charrli offers. We are so proud to be part of enabling the circular economy and working with such great zero waste businesses.
Can you tell us a bit about your service and what you offer?
We like to say that we’re the re-imagined milkman for home essentials. Effectively bringing refills to a new market: cleaning products, bath & body, skincare and more to come. So instead of throwing out your laundry liquid bottles, shampoo’s etc and having that waste pile up, with our service you can leave your empty bottles outside your front door and we’ll pick them up to clean, refill and reuse. Our mission is to help households and companies reduce their single-use plastic waste by making the reuse of packaging mainstream and as convenient as recycling. This along with inspiring and educating our communities to live a healthier and less-wasteful lifestyle.
We’ve carefully curated some the best natural and eco-friendly brands in the country all in one place and all refillable with more to come! We partner with brands that share the same ethos as us: natural ingredients, family-owned, give back to their communities, and locally made. That’s why we immediately wanted to work with Greenscents – they were one of the first brands we launched with. We also deliver completely carbon-free, using e-bikes to distribute, we live in London ourselves and know the last thing we need is more pollution.
Currently we deliver to a select few boroughs around London but will be expanding our catchment area over the next few weeks, do join our waitlist if interested!
What made you decide to start charrli and why did you choose that name?
charrli was born out of frustration with the amount of plastic and waste we produce each year. The more facts on plastic and waste we read about, the more we realised we had to do something about it. Stats like, a dump truck of garbage being dumped into the ocean each minute really got us! And if it’s not being dumped in the oceans it is being shipped to third world countries, poisoning their communities – we were no longer ok with out-of-site out-of-mind mentality and wanted to do something to make an impact. We didn’t have to look further than in our homes, the amounts of waste we went through each year was extraordinary, if you stack up all the empty shampoo bottles, detergents, packaging waste it was just mind-blowing. So we thought let’s tackle this. We did a bit of work on how this model will work, we really loved what the Germans did in the beer industry, essentially 100% of the beer bottles are given back for reuse ; we also loved how the traditional milkman was making a comeback and made things quite convenient, so we crossed these two together and hence was born charrli. Bringing reusables to a new market and making it as convenient as recycling.
Many people have curiously asked why we called our business charrli. We wanted a friendly and approachable name that was unisex and non-binary. Charlie was in the top 10 names in Britain and we love the name (ours has a slight misspelling for the acronym) so it stuck. It stands for: Circular Homes are Re-filling Re-using, Love It.
Which areas do you deliver to currently and which areas do you plan to serve in the future?
We currently delivery to Islington, Hackney and parts of Camden and are moving South West very soon. We are a nimble and hard-working team and are working really hard to expand to other boroughs of London as soon as we can. We have a waitlist that you can join to let us know what boroughs we should come to next! Spread the word so we can move into other areas faster! Our goal is to be across the whole of the UK by 2023.
Why do you think it’s important that people move towards zero waste living?
We are firm believers in the circular economy vs our currently linear-system, ie. buy, use, throw-out, landfill. The timeline from production to landfill can be as little as one week! It’s bonkers. If we continue on this course, we will run out of resources for future generations.
We like to give the example of plastics on why we should aspire towards zero-waste, as it is mainstream in our disposable culture. 40% of plastic production goes to making packaging, a large majority of this is single-use! Every single piece of plastic made still exists in the world today and although it is recyclable it is typically down-cycled into yarns and can only be recycled 2 – 3 times before it loses its value and has to be ‘disposed’ of. Plastic is not only building up in landfills (U.K. landfill is expected to be at capacity by 2022), it’s being shipped overseas to other countries that can’t handle it either, building up in the ocean forming garbage islands, but also killing marine life, polluting our air and our water and leaching into the food we eat. Now imagine we don’t use single-use plastics in packaging anymore, we’d see a huge improvement.
If we move to a circular economy, reusing products, reducing our garbage, we plug in some of the holes. This way of thinking is also inspiring a lot of creative innovation on how we can shape our future societies. The single-use culture is draining our natural resources and polluting our planet. Our mission is to encourage a behaviour shift from single-use culture to a refill and reuse culture. The milkman was once a flourishing service that got replaced with faceless plastic cartons of milk all because the oil and gas industries were pushing the convenience of single use-plastic that is profit-lead with no thought or care about the planet.
What are your top tips to help people on their journey to a more sustainable lifestyle?
- Read the labels. Many products on the market claim to be natural but contain destructive chemicals that are not good for you or the planet. We’d avoid things like: optical brighteners, sodium laureth suplhates, phosphates amongst others. So definitely do your research and don’t just listen to what the marketers say, there’s a lot hidden on the back labels. That’s why we looooveeee Greenscents, they are completely transparent and source the best ingredients for you.
- Get in the habit of refilling and re-using packaging. When we have time, we love to go to refill stores and fill up our jars full of lentils and cashews. When we’re time poor, which seems like most of the time recently, we obviously use charrli as it comes right to our door.
- Buy long-lasting items. At times we do get feedback that buying sustainably can be more expensive, I can’t afford it. It is true that some products are more expensive however they last forever – you buy it once then forget about it. It’s kind of like buying a paper plate vs a ceramic one. The paper plate is super cheap and affordable, but it won’t last long and you’ll end up spending more over the year than if you spent a bit more on that ceramic plate. The same thing goes with sustainable products. You don’t have to make the switch all at once, but little by little you can upgrade to long-lasting items. We have some amazing long-lasting items on our site such as kitchen sponges and paper towel which we love so check them out!
Of course, we know that you sell our products – can you tell us why you decided to stock Greenscents?
We absolutely love Greenscents because of their overarching mission to make the best organic and natural cleaning products that are ethically and sustainably made. It is run by a lovely husband and wife team based in Somerset, who’ve been absolute trailblazers in the industry, we are in awe of what they do. A wonderful array of essential oils are used in the products, every time we go to refill a Greenscents product our little studio in Hackney is transported to the hills of Somerset.
If you want to be part of the circular economy and live in the areas where Charrli Refill deliver or you want to join their wait list (or you just want to follow their gorgeous social media accounts!) go to https://www.charrli.com/