Post date: June 24, 2024 | Adventure

Refilling vs Recycling : Why Refilling Is The Sustainable Option

Nowadays, the emphasis on sustainability has really never been stronger. It has crept its way into politics, social norms, and business for good reason. As we all strive to reduce the impact we have on our environment, two options are talked abut most: refilling and recycling.

Both are essential in the fight against useless and damaging waste. However, refilling is a superior choice for a large variety of reasons which we will be discussing today.

So, strap in, buckle up, and join us to learn more about why we here at Volt decide to focus on refilling, and how it betters our world!

The Environmental Impact of Recycling

Volt enjoy + refill + repeat refill bag filling aluminum after shave bottle

Believe it or not, recycling isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And the truth is that most people don’t understand that recycling can be more damaging than refilling is.

Recycling, at its core, involves converting waste into new stuff. Simple enough, right?

The idea is that, by doing this, we are reducing the overall amount of waste there is, and while this is true, recycling is not without some severe disadvantages.

  1. Energy Consumption: Converting raw material to new goods requires energy to be expended. And each step that is required for this process will consume resources and emit greenhouse gases for that energy.
  2. Downcycling: Unfortunately, the majority of the stuff people think are “recyclable” like plastic, is only recyclable for a limited time. Plastics, especially, degrade each time they are reprocessed. This is called “downcycling” and will get to a point at which that recyclable plastic can no longer be used, inevitably leading it to a landfill.
  3. Contamination: The other issue is that, unfortunately, people can’t or don’t often sort out the truly recyclable materials from that which isn’t. Recyclable items can be contaminated by non-recyclable ones, therefore contaminating the batch and leading to more waste.

The Advantages of Refilling


Refilling is the other option, and in our opinion, the best. Refilling involves reusing containers or products multiple times before discarding or recycling that container. Here are some of the many benefits, and why we here at Volt love this option, specifically.

  1. Reduced Resource Extraction: If we were to start refilling, then the demand for new materials for containers goes WAY down. This results in less trees, less gas used to run machinery and make plastic, and reduced mining for metals.
  2. Lower Energy Use: The process of reusing containers requires negligible amounts of energy when compared to something as energy intensive as transforming and recycling plastic into reusable material again.
  3. Minimized Waste: The more we reuse our containers, the longer we have to go before those containers need to be recycled, leading to a dramatic decrease in the amount of unnecessary waste that occurs year by year.
  4. Economic Benefits: More often than not, refilling saves you more money than buying new, especially when you can get bulk refill packs from companies like us at Volt. Why spend the money to buy another container when all you need is the product?

Real-World Applications of Refilling

Voltsquare Refills 010 (1)

Several industries and communities have already embraced the refilling revolution with notable success:

Let’s discover some of the ways in which businesses, people, and whole industries have implemented refilling to great success so you can get an idea of what the real world applications look like.

  1. Grocery Stores: Tons of stores out there nowadays are offering bulk options for food where your own container can be brought and refilled. This cuts down on packaging waste, as well as gives you customized quantity options, reducing food waste as well.
  2. Water Stations: Refillable water stores are popping up left and right, encouraging more people to come fill up their own bottles instead of throwing bottles away.
  3. Cosmetics and Personal Care: Companies like us here at Volt are offering cosmetic and personal care products like shampoos, body washes, shave gels, and more in refillable bottles. Our bottles are even made of aluminum, an infinitely recyclable material, which completely avoid the plastic waste problem entirely.

How You Can Get Involved in Refilling

Volt Pouch Hglts

Adopting the mindset of refill vs recycle is surprisingly easy and a simple transition. But you’ll start to notice immediate benefits on both your livelihood and your wallet. Here are some steps that will help you get started.

  1. Invest in Reusable Containers: Trust me, with reusable containers, if you buy them you tend to use them. Tupperware is a perfect example of this. But don’t stop there, consider coffee mugs, water bottles, and more.
  2. Support Refill-Friendly Businesses: Give your valuable business to the stores that deserve it by offering refillable options. Most of these stores can be characterized as selling “by weight” of whatever you’re buying, and allow you to bring your own containers.
  3. Advocate for Change: Talk to others about why refilling is the more convenient, and less costly, option than they may be used to. Encourage them to take part in this practice by grabbing reusable containers and products that use them as well.


Although recycling remains an important part of reducing immediate waste and resources, it still requires a lot. Refilling, on the other hand, is a better way to recycle, requiring no additional energy needed to transform the material into something usable again.

Overall, refilling helps minimize waste, reserves energy, reduces resource extraction, and helps you save money. There’s really no reason not to use refillable containers.

Help us continue to find ways to reduce our environmental impact by embracing refilling and grabbing your own refillable products.

To see what kind of products you can get that are eco-friendly and refillable, take this quiz below!

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