Creating Ripples of Sustainable Change - Sydney Shoff, Founder of Sol Refill


My journey. 

Many people in my family own small businesses, my father, my mother, my grandfathers, my grandmothers, and my cousins, for example. I've always admired the creativity and drive of business owners, and growing up I knew I would want to have my own someday. In the past decade, my career path has shown me the ins and outs of small business. I've worn many, many hats—from creating visual retail displays to marketing to project management. Meanwhile, I began teaching yoga, which nurtured a deep care for helping people live with more awareness and connection and today I am also the co-owner of Inspirit, an online space to engage with other curious humans to deepen and expand the ripple effect of yoga. 

As a yoga teacher, and perhaps general human, I became hyper-aware of people and their impact—on themselves, others, and ultimately, the Earth. Learning about sustainability and living in harmony with our planet became a focus. On this new journey, I learned a sad truth. Plastic recycling is a myth. 

A dislike of plastic and a preference for better materials (such as glass) has always been present in me, but it was greatly heightened after learning more about the lifecycle of plastic. Plastic surrounds us. Plastic is way too easy. And it never goes away! I began to ponder what it would take to have no plastic in my home, researching "zero waste living," and incorporating different products and practices to personally eliminate plastics. I soon realized zero-waste was not a sustainable way to be sustainable in our modern environment. 

I may have grown up in a small business household, but I did not grow up in a household aware of sustainability, and I know there are other people, like me, who were not raised Earth-conscious. I believe that these are the people who are now more aware of the impact of the climate crisis and want to take action but don't know where to start. 

I wanted to create something to help bridge the gap between our current habits and the new ones we aspire to embrace. Something to help those on a sustainable journey—whether they are taking the first step or had the hippy parents I didn't.



So I created Sol Refill.

Sol Refill is a doorstep delivery service free of packaging and plastics. We offer pantry (like nuts, grains, oil, and flours), body (like toothpaste tabs, soaps, shampoo), and home goods (like cleaning supplies) in reusable (refillable) glass containers. 

Sol customers place an order for their goods online on our website by Sunday evening, we fill them and then deliver to their doorstep on Wednesdays. Like a milk(wo)man model, it’s a service that then picks up the empty glass containers when customers are done to sanitize and reuse them! Each empty container returned earns the customer a $1 credit to use on their next order. Return 5 containers, and get $5 off!

Sol Refill aims to mix old and new ways of being. Can we remember how we used to live? Before over-consumption? Before we threw away a single-use item that doesn't biodegrade for hundreds of years (if ever)? We're bringing back an old model, but better. Throwaway culture is costing us, yet there was no alternative way to shop… until now.

Sol is here to normalize a more sustainable, wholesome way to purchase what you need. 



Importance of sustainability/ sustainable living.

While we have experts telling corporations that it's now or never, (and it seems like they are seeing the urgency, as evidenced by some beautiful, genuine efforts and also, unfortunately, more and more greenwashing) as individuals living everyday life, it is hard to stay up-to-date on the science behind the climate changing rapidly and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Eco-anxiety is now a studied phenomenon haunting those aware of what's going on. 

But I'm not here to scare you into buying something green. Frankly, I'm over the doom and gloom, leading to despair and inaction. I'm here to say it is not too late! But it is up to us, and now is the time. 

While working on my business plan, I had someone "important" tell me individual actions don't matter in fighting climate change. I respectfully disagree. Making more sustainable decisions in our day-to-day life can be a gateway. Individual caring leads to smarter purchasing decisions, influencing large corporations to change based on consumer behavior. Individuals caring more leads to them using their voices in local government, voting for the earth, and making more sustainable decisions such as not driving as much or investing their money responsibly. They begin to be inspired to share with others in their communities, creating ripples of change. 

That's why Sol Refill is for those who care. We are inspiring sustainable changes in the household as a start. Sol Refill is far more than selling sustainable products. We are sharing a different lifestyle—normalizing intention, care, health, and meaning. 

Author Anne-Marie Bonneau discusses the outcomes of 10,000 people reducing their trash waste. She illustrates:

  • 1% of 10,000 (100 people) practice 100% "zero-waste" and reduce their waste to 0 in a year, which reduces around 164,250 lbs of trash.
  • 25% of 10,000 (2,500 people) were to reduce their waste by 25% in a year, which reduces 1,026,562 lbs of trash.
  • 100% of 10,000 (10,000 people) reduced their waste by just 10% in a year, which would reduce 1,642,500 lbs of trash! 


That's 100% of people doing 10%, not 10% of people doing 100%.

You can be one of the 100%.  We aim to help.


What's next?

Sol Refill is currently dreaming and scheming…

  • An electric van for deliveries! We can’t wait to deliver to your doorstep without using gas. 
  • A larger space, so we can expand and house more goods for our regular customers. And for more pop-ups where we can spread the word and meet more people that care. 
  • And partnerships! I want to add an educational piece to the business and partner with other small businesses to continue to grow a community that cares. 

Overall, I believe that conscious living requires conscious action. Sol Refill is here to support people on this journey!  


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