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Zero-waste refill stations in and around L.A.

A customer shops at the refill station at Sustain L.A.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Zero-waste refill stations offer a spot for you to fill up on bulk household and personal care items. Products vary from store to store but generally include things like dish soap, household cleaners, laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, lotion, facial products and other personal care items.

They’re easy to use: Just bring a container from home or buy one at the store, weigh it, fill it up with as much (or as little) product as you want, and bring it to the cash register to be weighed again. You only pay for what you take. It’s a way to reduce your personal plastic waste, potentially save money, and signal to larger stores and manufacturers that there’s a demand for zero-waste products and services.

When Stephanie Cochrane moved to L.A. two years ago, she embraced the idea of living frugally and with less plastic waste. Friends would comment on her Instagram Stories, which showed her making her own deodorant and facial cream.

“They would be like, ‘That’s awesome, but i don’t have the time for that,’” she said. “That’s kind of when it clicked in my head that it was something that I really enjoyed doing, and I wanted to help my friends see that it could be easy and convenient.”

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So she opened the Waste Less Shop in Manhattan Beach in October 2019. Cochrane likened the refill stations to an almost nostalgic shopping experience — hearkening back to refilling jars and flour sacks at the country store.

Part of the fun is that “it is old-fashioned,” she said.

Angelenos have already trained themselves to bring reusable bags on grocery store runs. Are reusable bottles next?

For owner Leslie Campbell, the idea for Sustain L.A. was also the natural extension of her personal zero-waste journey. She spent hours exploring the undeveloped woods behind her parents’ house in central Illinois, which she said gave her a deep appreciation for nature. Before she started Sustain L.A., she managed a restaurant where she convinced the owner to eliminate Styrofoam, switch to eco-friendly cleaners and start L.A.'s food-scrap program.

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Sustain L.A. began as a refill station at farmers markets in the summer of 2018. (You can still find Sustain L.A. at the ones in Hollywood and Atwater Village.) She built a solid enough customer base to open a bricks-and-mortar store a year later.

Unlike the Waste Less Shop and Sustain L.A., Otherwild didn’t start as a zero-waste store. It opened in L.A. in 2012, and moved to its Los Feliz location in February 2016. A New York City location opened that same year. The brand catapulted to national attention for its “The Future Is Female” shirts during the 2016 presidential election.

It started as a more broad general store that sells clothing, tote bags, candles, housewares and gifts. Owner Rachel Berks, who had been trying to reduce plastic waste in her own life, wanted to add something new. The refill station opened in the back of the Los Feliz location in April 2019. She hopes it’s a model for other shops.

“The reason I call it Otherwild General is the idea of a general store, the store on every corner,” Berks said. “How great would it be if we could walk into that store and refill our dish or laundry soap?”

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There are several zero-waste refill stations in and around Los Angeles. We’ve organized them here by neighborhood.

Highland Park

Sustain L.A.
5214 Monte Vista St., Los Angeles
sustainla.com

Wild Terra
5858 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles
wildterra.la

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Los Feliz

Otherwild Goods & Services
1768 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
otherwild.com

The refill station at Otherwild Goods & Services
Pricing and bulk products for sale at the refill station at Otherwild Goods & Services.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Glassell Park

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No Tox Life
3351 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles
notoxlife.com

Brentwood farmers market

Without Waste Shop
Mobile refill station
withoutwasteshop.com/locations

Echo Park, Hollywood, Mar Vista, Playa Vista farmers markets

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The Refillery L.A.
Mobile refill station — various farmers markets and events
refilleryla.com/location

Burbank, Montrose, Toluca Lake farmers markets

Lola Danger
Mobile refill station — various farmers markets and events
loladanger.com

Altadena, Monrovia farmers markets

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Refill Evolution
Mobile refill station — various farmers markets and events
refillevolution.com/

Altadena

Strictly Sustainable Altadena — located inside Altadena Beverage
1850 Allen Ave., Pasadena
No website - hours, location and phone number available on Yelp

Duarte, Monrovia, Arcadia and Azusa

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Riley’s General Store
Mobile refill station — offers home delivery
rileysgeneralstore.com/deliveries

Manhattan Beach

The Waste Less Shop
3515 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach
thewastelessshop.com

The Waste Less Shop in Manhattan Beach
Stephanie Cochrane, center, is the owner-founder of the Waste Less Shop in Manhattan Beach, where customers can bring their own containers (or take donated containers, or purchase glass ones) and fill them with bulk products.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
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Venice

Recontained
1629 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
recontained.com

Calabasas, Pacific Palisades, Hidden Hills farmers markets

Prostainable
Mobile refill station — various farmers markets and events
prostainable.com

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Ventura

The Refill Shoppe
363 E. Main St., Ventura
therefillshoppe.com

Long Beach

BYO Long Beach — downtown location
431 E. 1st St., Long Beach
byolongbeach.com

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BYO Long Beach — Alamitos Bay location
148 N. Marina Drive, Long Beach
byolongbeach.com

Costa Mesa

Eco Now CA
2930 Bristol St., #A112, Costa Mesa
econowca.com

Encinitas

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The Nada Shop
937 S. Coast Highway 101, Encinitas
thenadashop.com

San Juan Capistrano

Farm Stand at the Ecology Center
32701 Alipaz St., San Juan Capistrano
theecologycenter.org/farmstand/

Did we miss your store? Email jessica.roy@latimes.com to be added to the list.


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