A small van pulls up in the parking lot, backs into a spot, and cuts the engine. With the back doors open row after row of containers are visible just inside the trunk. This is Tap Refillery, a mobile refillery featuring personal care items and household cleaning products. It’s a unique business model, this shop-on-wheels, and it serves a unique purpose in the city of Atlanta.
Established only a year ago, the business is the brainchild of Tiffany Zujkowski. Though she works as a Manager of Client Success Management at Waystar, her passion for sustainability really thrives when behind the wheel of Tap Refillery. “I love being able to offer something so unique to our community.” A resident of Decatur, Zujkowski spends her weekends and off-times setting up shop in driveways and parking lots to sell her products.
The desire to start Tap Refigglery was inspired by Zujkowski’s childhood dreams of growing up to become a Marine Biologist. “I mean, who didn’t want to grow up and swim with dolphins everyday?” she mused. While she didn’t end up working in that industry, her intentions to reduce her contributions to ocean pollution have continued to this day. “I made changes here and there, but when the pandemic hit, and we started seeing wildlife change their behavior due to humans no longer frequenting their domain, I decided I wanted to do more to continue to reduce my personal waste.”
By starting Tap Refillery, Atlanta’s first mobile refill station, she was able to fill a need that was going unmet. Reducing waste and single use plastics is a huge undertaking, and something that requires conscious effort on an individual level. Zujkowski found that it was difficult to find brick and mortar locations nearby to refill her household and personal care goods. “I decided that if it didn’t exist, I would build it!”
And thus, the concept of Tap Refillery was born. “It allowed me an easy way to get out in my community and share this unique shopping experience with my neighbors and educate them on why making sustainable changes is so important for our future,” said Zujkowski. “I wanted to make refilling easy for customers so they could see how simple it is to make small changes no matter where they are in their low waste journey.”
Visitors to the truck, which sets up monthly at places such as Lush Plant Co. in Oakhurst and Dom Beijos wine shop in Kirkwood, can bring their own or buy new containers to fill up with products. Tap’s offerings include laundry detergent, dish soap, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, face and body lotion, body wash, and pet care. Customers can refill any sort of container, such as glass jars and empty plastic containers from past purchases, paying only for the products inside.
Not only is the business model centered around reducing single-use plastics and waste, even the sourcing of the bulk products is sustainable! The manufacturer who provides the plant-based eco-friendly formulas that Tap sells offers a closed-loop system wherein the containers in the back of the truck are actually sent back to the production warehouse to be refilled, thereby reducing even another instance of waste in the process. “We send the containers back to them to be sanitized and then they reuse the containers again. It was important to us to make our shop as zero-waste as possible so that we were not contributing to the problem we are ultimately trying to solve.”
Zujkowski is continually looking for more locations from which she can sell her products and you can actually book the truck for a private event at your home which makes refilling a no-brainer for you and your community. She hinted at some exciting developments that have not yet been announced, and hopes that she will continue to find additional community partnerships for Tap Refillery.
To learn more about Tap Refillery, go online to their website and follow them on social media. If you’d like to stock up on some of your goods and see the truck for yourself, you can check it out at their upcoming public events. They will be stationed from 1-3PM at Lush Plant Co on the third Sunday of each month and at Dom Beijos on the last Sunday of each month.