What does One Less Bottle Do?
We are a local, small initiative working towards putting a stop to plastic pollution at its source, by making refilling on your home cleaning and body care essentials as convenient as it is to purchase a new bottle, so you never have to trade off convenience, for reducing waste, ever again.
What makes One Less Bottle special?
We don’t like to boast, but we are the first in Australia, to have developed a refill station that automatically & accurately dispenses everyday liquid products. We are motivated to changing the perception of being sustainable, from ‘inaccessible & expensive’ to ‘convenient & cost effective’ – No more rushing to the city health food store before 5. We’ve got you covered.
Who is your team?
Currently we are a small family based team with myself, Dale, who is main operations, Dan who is our social and media guru and my brother Steve who helps develop the refill stations.
What did your business look like before COVID 19 and how has that changed?
Our initiative launched in March. A week before Melbourne’s lockdown. We had braced for a challenging launch because we were unable to engage face to face with the community and get involved on a personal level. We had to quickly adapt our approach to an online approach and have found that the response has been absolutely incredible. It has been an incredible testament to the current climate with our interaction free shopping experience, because the community have adapted so seamlessly, bringing their own bottles and refilling as intended. It has really proven that the community is ready for this type of convenient alternative.
Are there any apps or technology that really helped you make this transition?
Social media has been an incredible saving grace with a Tik Tok video getting over half a million views in a week for one video. It has really helped spread awareness to our initiative and see so many people across the world give some beautiful support.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this time?
Like any other new business or other business navigating this time, just simply spreading the word. Having to be fully reliant on social media has been fantastic, but also limiting because we can’t interact with the community and the refill stations to bring the two together and make great connections. I personally feel that people connect with businesses who can be personal. We haven’t been able to do that with all the restrictions. We have been very lucky that so many people are sustainable minded are still really supportive of the initiative despite the social interaction only being online.
“People connect with businesses who can be personal”
Have there been any 'silver lining' surprises?
I think the overwhelming support has been the most surprising aspect of this journey. Within the 6 months, I have spoken with so many people, all of which have just wanted to get behind us and see how they can support us. Being a small team, launching a business in the height of a pandemic it was a bit of a “Let’s just roll with it” mindset, because we had pushed so hard to get to launching that we wanted to still move forward with it and surprisingly, people have just been so beautiful with their support.
How do you see your business evolving in the future? Are there changes you've made that you will continue with when things go back to 'normal'?
It’s hard to say what is normal, when our normal began with Covid normal. What I am most looking forward too is just engaging with the community in various aspects through support programs and just simply with people using the refill stations. Being able to have on site programs to support the initiative will be an amazing aspect and to just have the ability to split our resources from online only, to both on site and online.
Are there any business decisions that you have made with sustainability in mind?
Sustainability is the core of what we do. From the products we stock, to the way we operate behind the scenes and just on a personal level. We have a great relationship with our local supplier who have set up a circular system with the products and their containers so there is no waste. It was super important to emulate what we want our community to do with what we do behind the scenes. We are looking into how we can offset other aspects of our business, like transport to the refill stations, to be somewhat carbon neutral, but this is a work in progress.
“Sustainability is the core of what we do”
How did you choose which products to focus on?
This was an easy one I think. I simply just took a look at the products I used around the home the most and focused on that. I considered that I am just a common Aussie, that uses nothing too out of the norm and that’s what dictated the range. I even decided to stock the products I personally use, Abode. They’re made in Vic, vegan, toxic chemical free and many more beautiful elements, and it just seems like such an organic fit.
What are some changes that everyone could make at home to be more sustainable?
Simply, have the ‘reuse’ mindset. Every time you go to throw something ‘away’. Think about how it can be reused first. Whether it be your laundry or shampoo bottle, or even a take away container – We really focus on this mindset with everything we use in our home and find it is so powerful to reducing our waste. Simply being more conscious of what we consume & waste.
And if you did have a bit more time and budget, what is the best thing to prioritise?
For us, just being able to develop more refill stations and get them into the community is our aim. That is the entirety of our focus at the moment, trying to work with shopping centres around the country to get refill stations to as many communities as we can. If money was no object, you would see refill stations in every suburb across Australia if it was up to me!