In the “Meet our Starters” series we invite people who start new ideas in their communities to share their stories with the ChangeX community: What gets them excited about an idea, how are they hoping it will benefit the community, how do they make it happen.
Juli is starting Refill in Carrick on Shannon. Refill provides a framework and materials to sign up business owners in a town to offer refills of reusable water bottles. More and more communities in Ireland are joining the Refill community to help promote this simple and effective idea. To kick off, Juli just quickly gathered a team around the kitchen table and they set some goals together.
Why did you start Refill? Why is this idea close to your heart?
The campaign caught my eye on Facebook and I signed up in a heartbeat to bring a small change to our town and community. Such a simple and brilliant idea to reduce single-use plastic. Also no excuse from anyone really, you don’t have to do much or pay from your own wallet to begin to move a mountain.
What’s the difference you are hoping to make by bringing Refill to Carrick?
I was hoping to sign up ten businesses to bring Carrick onto the Tap Map, so locals and tourists would be enabled to fill their bottles from taps throughout the town. We have exceeded that number within a week and are hoping to recruit a few more businesses in the next week or two. If people start seeing this change, and the window stickers are starting conversations, and two of your friends fill their bottles like this from now, then it should have a domino effect and the ripples of change hopefully widen.
What are the first steps you took to get it all going?
I put it on Facebook that I joined, asking my friend who is IN, 30 days to do our share and help Carrick to reduce single-use plastic waste. Small steps. The response was brilliant, and we had a handful of people for the actual job and lots of thumbs up about how good the idea was.
Tell us something about yourself. Have you been involved in community projects before, have you ever started something before? What drives you …
I have never done anything like this before. The injustices and the current state of affairs in the world are so mad, and there is little enough we can do about a lot of things. I am trying to do right in my own small world, teach my kids being fair, looking after our planet. and keeping our carbon footprints a bit below average. This project caught my eye and spoke from my heart. The most simple step, a no-brainer really, no matter how much bottled water has been produced and is ready to be sold from the shelves.
Tell us a little more about your community and the ideas driven by the community that, in your eyes, make it a better place to live.
Carrick is a small town, so that gave me the bravery to start this even as a blow-in myself. Most people know each other to see, the barber nods when I cycle by as he knows us from when my boys were small, the cinema owner knows us by name, and the list of this is endless. Carrick is big enough to be vibrant and lively, and small enough for people to care and to be connected.
I knew when I walk into places people will know me and will listen to what we have to say about the REFILL project. The response has been brilliant. When after our first sentence the hotelier in the middle of town nods and says “this is a no-brainer, of course we are in’ that is when I feel at home and know we can still do things and change the world in small ways. We are not done yet. There is still a bit of town and ground to cover and we are hoping to get a few more businesses aware and on board over the summer.