If there’s one everyday struggle that unites people near and far, it’s probably getting overwhelmed at the grocery store. There are just too many options for literally everything, and making a choice can feel like the hardest thing you’ll have to do all day. The worst part is, no matter what you choose, it usually comes in plastic that goes straight to the trash once it’s empty…and shopping with Granny Guilt is never fun.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And one store in Nashville is putting the brakes on plastic, full stop.
Welcome to The Good Fill, Nashville’s first plastic-free store for all your household needs, where “zero waste meets impeccable taste.” Step into the room and you’ll see stacks of incredible organic goods available for purchase in incredible waste-free form. The store provides a large assortment of those home products that everybody needs, without plastic that the planet doesn’t need: laundry detergent, dish soap, hair products and toothpaste tablets, just to name a few.
Customers bring their own bottles and jars (or purchase the reusable glass and aluminum options available at the store) to be filled with the sustainably-sourced goods available there. Products can also be ordered for delivery, coming in a refill pouch – 93% less plastic than a plastic bottle – and including a return package and postage to ship the pouch back to The Good Fill for cleaning and reuse. “With a circular economy, products are created, customers use it, and whatever materials are left can go back into production somehow,” said the store’s founder and owner, Megan Gill.
Three years ago, Megan Gill launched The Good Fill as a blog and online shop. The idea came after she started a nonprofit teaching cosmetology to human trafficking survivors in Costa Rica, where she realized how much waste her 11 years as a hairstylist had produced. “I was really overwhelmed by American consumerism when I moved back home. We shouldn’t be a throwaway society,” she explained. She started spending her free time researching low-waste initiatives in other cities and countries, and how she could reduce her own waste. Following the online shop, she began hosting pop-up shops around town, finally opening her own storefront. “It was a very slow start. I didn’t think this was something that would be successful this soon,” she said.
Despite the expenses of sustainably-sourced materials and in-house operated recycling, her sales have tripled since the store opened. It turns out there are a lot of people looking for plastic-free options – and not enough plastic-free options available for them. As one customer Alexandra Payne explained, The Good Fill makes buying natural products more convenient. “I [was] thinking of making my own laundry detergent and cleaning solutions…It just wasn’t something I had a ton of free time to do. With (The Good Fill) you can buy what you need and reuse the packaging.”
“It would be amazing if there were more stores like The Good Fill in Nashville,” Lindsey Kanes, another customer, remarked. “If something like The Good Fill had been in my neighborhood before, I would’ve saved so much plastic.”