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BUSINESS PROFILE: Lots of space for zero waste

Newly reopened West Coast Refill aims to reduce waste for city consumers
Leanne Allen fills a reusable jar with epsom salt at the reopening of her shop, West Coast Refill, at its new location at 1319 Broad Street. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

A cultural shift towards staying green is what West Coast Refill owner Leanne Allen says prompted her to move to a bigger space.

“I think we’re at a tipping point where people are tired of seeing the build-up of packaging, of single-use disposable plastic, and they want to be more active and have a simpler way to make a difference themselves,” she says.

West Coast Refill sells household products in bulk to help consumers move toward zero waste. Products such as laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoos and cleaners are filled into a customer’s reusable container and sold by weight (glass bottles and jars are also available for purchase). The store also sells bulk quantities of do-it-yourself body care products such as Shea butter, vegetable glycerin and beeswax, and reusable items such as stainless steel straws and beeswax food covers.

Allen opened her first store in July 2017 in a 220-square-foot space in Dragon Alley in Chinatown. She opened the doors Tuesday to the new space, five times larger, at 1319 Broad St.

She’s excited to have the extra room.

“We couldn’t really move before. We had nowhere to put new product and every once in a while we’d get a wave of about eight or nine people at once and that was just way too tight.” she says. “This is a great area and it’ll bring in more people and more product.”

Allen has hired two new staff to help her out and hopes to use the space to host more workshops and events.

Marie-Anne Dussault Gomez was the store’s first customer at the reopening, buying a reusable straw. She saw the shop earlier in the week while out walking. “I thought, ‘oh I should go check it out, get some more reusable things, get some more things I like and reduce my carbon footprint,’” she said. “It’s a pretty cool idea.”

For more information about the shop, you can head to

Some of the bulk items available at West Coast Refill, a shop promoting zero waste that just moved from Dragon Alley to Broad Street. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS