Meet A Member: Jill Kingsbury | Redbud Refillery
Meet a member of our Green Business Network! Redbud Refillery is Kansas City’s mobile source for refillable and sustainable household cleaning products, with a mission to reduce single-use plastic by refilling already existing containers with sustainable plant-based cleaners. Currently, Redbud Refillery dispenses laundry detergent, dish soap, and all-purpose cleaner from its mobile van using a unique vending machine.
How many years have you been in business?
Redbud Refillery was launched in May 2022.
What’s an interesting fact about your business most people don’t know?
Because solutions to the environmental problems created by single-use plastic may seem overwhelming, I chose “Redbud” as the name of my company because after a long, gray winter, the unmistakable pink blossoms of the redbud tree are the first sign of hope; spring is coming. The redbud tree is also an important source of food for honeybees and other pollinating insects and is packed with seeds providing food for birds and wildlife. And, what could be lovelier than the redbud’s heart-shape leaf? The redbud tree offers us hope for a less wasteful society so we can all live better. Redbud Refillery also gives out free redbud and maple tree seedlings with any purchase; refill your old plastic containers AND plant a tree, small steps toward a more sustainable planet.
Why is sustainability important to your company?
Sustainability is the heart of Redbud Refillery. Because big corporations have hooked consumers on the convenience of single-use plastic, plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental problems the planet faces. Every year, approximately 14 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans, endangering the health and safety of marine life, threatening food safety and quality, human health, and contributing to climate change. To help reduce plastic pollution, and specifically, single-use plastic, Redbud Refillery was born.
What kinds of initiatives around sustainability has your company done/currently working on?
Redbud Refillery is also working to build stand alone vending machines that will dispense cleaning products and can be located around Kansas City to further reduce the impact of single-use plastic on the environment while making it easier for consumers to refill their containers at their own convenience. Our goal is to have a working prototype by Fall 2022.
What was the experience or compelling factor that motivated you to join GBN?
Having worked on various Bridging The Gap’s projects in the past, and knowing of Bridging The Gap’s reputation in Kansas City as a top organization for environmental activism, joining GBN was a no-brainer! With environmental sustainability at the heart of the work of Redbud Refillery, I am hoping to piggy-back on Bridging the Gap’s excellent recycling efforts and turn Kansas City residents into REFILLERS as well!
What’s your earliest memory or inspiration for caring about the environment?
About 30 years ago, on a trip to El Salvador working on a micro-credit project, I first noticed the impact plastic was having on the earth. In the developed world, it is easier to “hide” the effects of single-use plastic from the public. However, in the developing world, the trash/plastic waste is literally visible everywhere. The impact of our addiction to single-use plastic on the environment and its inhabitants is front and center in the developing world. This impression has had a lasting impact on me and has provided me with inspiration to take action.
What environmental issue is nearest to your heart?
Reducing single-use plastic, of course!
When you’re not working, where in KC do you like to spend your time?
When I am not working, you can probably find me running (having been a long-distance runner for 45 years), walking my three dogs, or watching the birds from my porch. You can also find me delivering meals to shut-in seniors, as I have been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for the past 10 years.
What’s something most people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a teacher at Metropolitan Community College – Maple Woods, having taught Economics and Business Law there for the past 15 years. I am also licensed to practice law in Missouri.
To learn more, visit redbudrefillery.com or on Instagram: @redbudrefillery