Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Refill, reuse, repeat

Eco-friendly refill station, Revolutionary Refillery, celebrates first birthday
Courtesy of Emily Larson

With a rising global need for climate action, any change — big or small — can make a world of difference. This is why 24-year-old San Antonio native Emily Larson opened her sustainable store.

“I saw other refilleries in different states and thought that was such a cool idea,” Larson said. “We really needed a sustainable store here in SA and I was switching to all the products myself anyway so [I] decided to start it as a business.”

Back in July 2022, Larson was vending products at local farmers’ markets until she opened her brick-and-mortar refillery on April 22, 2023. Larson will be celebrating Revolution Refillery’s first birthday and Earth Day with an event on April 20.

“I started looking at spaces for lease [on] Feb. 1, 2023, and signed the lease for the space we have now in March 2023, so it all happened pretty quickly,” Larson said. “I repainted the walls, ripped out the carpet and put in the new flooring, built all of my shelving and got all the goods in to open by the end of April.”

The most challenging part for Larson was finding a space perfect for the refillery’s needs, but she learned a lot in the process.

“I looked at about 20 different spaces before finding this one,” Larson said. “There [were] quite a few certifications to go through as well before opening.”

Larson shared that our society’s standard cycle of buying products with plastic containers, using up the product and then throwing away the plastic is creating too much waste. To combat this, Revolution Refillery offers sustainable, plastic-free home goods and zero-waste refills. Everything in the shop is non-toxic plant or mineral-based. 

“People should shop at zero-waste stores and bulk refilleries to reduce the plastic waste they create as an individual to help the Earth out,” Larson said. “So far, we have refilled over 2,000 bottles. Imagine if all those were just thrown into the landfill.”

Larson shared that she spent days researching the perfect products to sell in her store, and she uses Revolution Refillery’s products at home too.

Courtesy of Emily Larson

All her research paid off, as she shared that almost all of her bulk refill products operate on a closed-loop system, which means the containers they receive the product in get sent back to the company to either be sanitized and refilled again or properly recycled at their facility. Everything else they order comes in cardboard boxes with either paper or dissolvable packing peanuts.

“I wanted to have all of your basic home needs — dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, etc. — but I also used quite a few of these products and brands myself so it was easy for a good amount of them,” Larson said. “I wanted to make sure we carried good ingredients, non-toxic products that were still comparable prices to other leading eco-friendly brands.”

Larson’s advice to those interested in switching to eco-friendly products is to start small. Switch your Zip-Lock bags to reusable ones and your plastic bristle dish brushes to naturally sourced options. Similarly, consider exchanging your plastic shampoo bottles for shampoo and conditioner bars instead.

“If you are starting out fresh, switching to eco-friendly home goods, it can definitely be overwhelming with how much there is,” Larson said. “I always say starting with either the kitchen or the bathroom for beginners is easiest. Starting with just one or two switches can make such a difference.”

While Larson’s business is a significant step in the right direction, there is always more work to be done, especially since Revolution Refillery is the only zero-waste refillery in San Antonio.

“Hopefully, there will be more around eventually so that sustainability can be more easily accessible to everyone,” Larson said. “Everything we have here is either zero-waste, refillable, recyclable or reusable.”

For more information on Revolution Refillery, check out their website at, their Instagram page @revolutionrefillery, their TikTok @revolutionrefillery and their Facebook at Revolution Refillery. Mark your calendars for 12 to 5 p.m. on April 20 for their first anniversary party and Earth Day market and keep an eye out for future Revolution Refillery job listings this summer.

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About the Contributor
Riley Carroll
Riley Carroll, Arts & Life Editor
Riley Carroll (She/They) is a class of 2024 digital communication major with a minor in film and media studies. Originally from Houston, Texas, Riley is pursuing photojournalism and concert photography. Riley joined The Paisano during the spring 2022 semester after missing being an editor for her high school yearbook, The Talon. At 18 years old, Riley's photography won first place in a state-wide ILPC competition and at 19, she contributed her first article to the San Antonio Express-News. At The Paisano, Riley enjoys conducting artist interviews and covering live shows. Aside from The Paisano, she has published work with the San Antonio Express-News, The Fort Bend Herald Newspaper, The Talon Yearbook and The Heart Sounds magazine.

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