Every year, the average American uses (and discards) about 110 pounds of single-use plastic. And by 2060, plastic use in packaging is expected to double from 2019. A lot of those wrappers, containers, and jugs end up in oceans and rivers, but even if they don’t, the mere process of making plastic emits millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases.

It’s those grisly statistics that have inspired the opening of refill shops—small businesses that sell soaps, lotions, and other household products without the packaging. There, shoppers bring in their own containers (or use ones provided by the shop) and pay for their product by weight, which almost entirely eliminates waste. The idea is gaining traction; environmental campaigning network Greenpeace has reported a surge in popularity of refill shops on social media. Long story short: Caring about the planet is cool now, and what better time to jump on the bandwagon than Earth Day?

So, we’ve rounded up six refill shops in Denver you can visit to restock on everything from shampoo and cosmetics to kombucha and dog treats.

Off the Bottle Refill Shop, Denver

Organic soap nuts and other bottles of product at Off the Bottle.
Photo courtesy of Off the Bottle

Capitol Hill’s Off the Bottle offers vegan, cruelty-free alternatives to common household products. Try swapping your pricey paper towels for Unpaper Towels, Oregon-made cotton cloths that absorb spilled liquids and are machine washable. But the store’s real star is its selection of refillable products. Just bring in any container (maybe one of those Starbucks cups rolling around your car), and the staff will weigh it to subtract it from your total before filling it with whatever soaps, cleaning concentrates, shampoos, teas, or spices strike your fancy. And if you don’t have a container, the shop is always accepting donations—so you might score one or two for free. 220 E. 13th Ave., Denver

Homefill Co., Arvada

Jugs of soap and cleaning products at Homefill Co.
Photo courtesy of Homefill Co.

After initially launching in RiNo six years ago, owner Kim Whitehead moved Homefill to Olde Town Arvada last November. At the new location, shoppers can still stock up on shampoos, lotions, dish soaps, cooking oils, and salt and pepper. Additional eco-friendly products also line the shelves, such as compost bins and beeswax wraps (a reusable alternative to plastic wrap for food storage). Like other refill shops, you can bring in any container to fill, or Homefill gives you the option to have most goods shipped to you or, if you’re in a rush, you can drop off your containers and pick them up later. 7405 Grandview Ave., Arvada

Nude Foods Market, Denver and Boulder

Oats, nut butters, rice, and grains in glass jars at Nude Foods Market.
Photo courtesy of Nude Foods Market

What started as a grocery delivery service quickly became a brick-and-mortar store in Boulder, and the concept was so successful that the owners of Nude Foods Market opened a second location in Denver on April 12. All of Nude Foods’ goods, from juices to produce to household products, come in reusable glass jars. Customers pay $1.50 per container and then return them to the store for $1 back each (Nude Foods Market keeps 50 cents as a cleaning fee). Avoid the container rental fee by joining the membership program (starting at $15 per month) and benefit from members-only discounts. Don’t miss the new Denver location’s launch party on April 27 (starting at 10 a.m.), which will feature free samples, live music, and, for the first 100 shoppers, 50 percent off their entire order. 3538 W. 44th Ave.; 3233 Walnut St., Boulder

Joy Fill, Denver

Jugs of hand soap at Joy Fill.
Photo courtesy of Joy Fill

The product list at West Highland’s Joy Fill rivals the length of a CVS receipt (check it out online if you don’t believe us), which means that you’ll find a plethora of goods from small businesses, such as loose leaf tea from the Boulder Tea Company and dog treats from Boulder’s Winnie Lou. Bring in your own containers or participate in the jar exchange program (pay $1.50 per jar, and when you bring them back, you’ll get a discount of $1.50 each on your next purchase). Looking for extra good karma? Participate in Joy Fill’s recycling program: Bring in cleaned recyclables (check online to see what’s currently being accepted) and they’ll collect them for free. 4340 W. 35th Ave., Denver

ReFillanthropy, Denver

Jars of loose leaf tea at ReFillanthropy.
Photo courtesy of ReFillanthropy

One-year-old ReFillanthropy in Denver’s Speer neighborhood specializes in refills sold by the ounce, with the option to buy products in bulk. Many of the products—like lotions, soaps, and makeup removers—come from locally owned businesses like Golden’s Mountain Time Soap and Fort Collins’ Salus that are committed to lowering their waste, too. That means that ReFillanthropy receives its product from the supplier in reusable containers, making for a truly zero-waste experience from creator to consumer. 5 E. Bayaud Ave., Denver

Zero Market, Aurora and Edgewater

Dispensers of soap and glass jars line the walls at Zero Market.
Photo courtesy of Zero Market

Zero Market has been around since before refill shopping was cool—aka 2016. With two locations, one in Edgewater and the other inside Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, shoppers can find more than 1,000 products in store (and more online), ranging from household cleaners and cosmetics to kombucha and cooking herbs. If you want to level up your planet-friendly lifestyle, check out Zero Market’s pay-what-you-can workshops, which cover topics like the basics of composting and how to make your own soap at home. 2501 Dallas St., Ste. 160, Aurora; 5505 W. 20th Ave., Ste. 150, Edgewater

Barbara O'Neil
Barbara O'Neil
Barbara is one of 5280's assistant editors and writes stories for 5280 and 5280.com.