KnoxFill: A new brick and mortar refillery for all your sustainable lifestyle needs

In the spirit of Earth Week (April 17-22, 2023) here at MC, which brings many green lifestyle events onto campus, students may be interested to learn about Knoxfill. 

This cleverly named sustainable product store and refillery in South Knoxville was opened by Dr. Michaela Barnett. KnoxFill is a zero-waste company founded by Barnett, a sustainability expert and advocate for upstream sustainability. She encourages members of the community to decrease amounts of waste during use, rather than focusing her efforts on recycling and composting. She opened KnoxFill to do just that—and she brings in as many locally made products as possible, giving a portion of her earnings to local nonprofits dedicated to racial, environmental and social justice. 

As part of her efforts to decrease waste, she’s also provided educational articles on the KnoxFill website ( to help inform people of how to make more sustainable choices, as well as information on local places to recycle different materials and composting in Knoxville. Her business also runs a mobile refillery that makes its way to pop-up markets and local events. 

If you’re interested in visiting their store, you can bring your own refillable containers or purchase ones there. Their refillable products include homemade castile soap, handsoap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner, detergent, cleaner and more. Their zero waste products are things such as soap, dish towels, shampoo and conditioner bars, toothpaste tablets, laundry detergent sheets, dryer balls, lip balm and beeswax food wraps. 

Despite businesses like KnoxFill, living sustainably can seem like a huge mountain to tackle. Here are some other easy ways for a college student on a tight budget to live more sustainably:

  1. Buy your clothes second-hand at local thrift stores (Karm, Amvets, Goodwill). It takes a lot of water and energy to produce clothing that is likely to be thrown out in a year. The fashion industry plays a huge role in pollution. Another alternative is buying clothing from eco-friendly clothing brands, like Madewell.
  1. Cut down on plastic use. Whether this looks like paying a visit to KnoxFill to start your refillable collection of household products or simply buying a reusable water bottle instead of using plastic single-use ones, cutting down on plastic use is really crucial to living a sustainable lifestyle.
  1. Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. I know that it’s sometimes hard to reach that outlet behind the bed, but the electricity production in the U.S. is responsible for a large portion of carbon dioxide emissions. 

If you’re interested in making more sustainable lifestyle choices, you can find more ways college students (and other people, too!) can do so here:

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