Refill at Wonderfill

Holly Rudoy (right), opened up her new business Wonderfill Market with help from her husband, Bruce, daughter, Maddy, and son Zach. The Broadmoor Avenue business offers eco-friendly products for kitchen, laundry, bath and body.

Refill stores may be a relatively new concept, but they’re popping up all around Pittsburgh and gaining popularity. You bring your empty containers of soap, shampoo, detergent or other house care products to a store that has a stock of the products, so you can refill and not have to throw out a container and buy another one.

Mayfair Drive resident Holly Rudoy owns Wonderfill, at 370 Broadmoor Avenue, the first low-waste shop to open in Mt. Lebanon. Rudoy hopes Wonderfill will become a hub for people seeking eco-friendly, locally sourced products.

Rudoy was inspired to start this business because of her own experience shopping for refills. For many years she travelled to a small shop in Somerset, but always envisioned having one in her own community. The timing seemed perfect when another Mt. Lebanon resident, Clare Moore, asked Rudoy if she’d like to purchase her refill inventory. Moore previously supplied product refills with her small business, The Reusable Life, at local markets, but struggled to keep up with demand alongside her full-time career as a teacher. Rudoy decided it was the time to set up her own shop, something she’d been envisioning and researching for years.

Rudoy first debuted Wonderfill at the 2023 Winter Market & Holiday Celebration on Washington Road. “It was a huge success and it really showed me that Mt. Lebanon is ready for this,” she said.

Just a few weeks later, Wonderfill opened in Sunset Hills, featuring a wide range of refill products for laundry, kitchen and bath. Here’s how it works:

• Bring or choose an empty container (the store sells containers and has a free community shelf).

• Weigh the empty container.

• Fill it up with product.

• Weigh the filled container and pay for the product. A tag with a full list of ingredients is provided for each product.

Some of the unique eco-friendly home and body wares offered at Wonderfill Market on Broadmoor Avenue.

With this method, consumers cut out single-use plastics and only pay for the product itself. While Rudoy doesn’t describe herself as an environmentalist, she believes reducing plastic waste in the community is important. Worldwide, plastic use is an enormous and growing problem. According to the United Nations Environmental Program, 400 million tons of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed for single use. Recycling management systems can’t manage the sheer volume, so 85 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills.

While this is a global problem that requires action from businesses and governments alike, individuals can make changes to combat plastic pollution. Shopping at refill and zero-waste stores is one way to make long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes.

In addition to the refills, Wonderfill features a sizeable collection of locally sourced products. The shop is a small oasis for all things reusable and sustainable, offering lotion bars, dryer balls, dish cloths and towels, reusable wrapping paper, biodegradable floss and toothbrushes, cotton tote bags, shower steamers, and much more. Rudoy’s family and friends play an integral role in the business, helping sample products and decide what to sell in the store.

Wonderfill accepts donated items to be up-cycled. Currently there are two donation campaigns. The first is a cork donation—shoppers provide used corks, which are sent to a business that makes them into shoe soles. The second is a collaboration with another small business in Mt. Lebanon, Knit by Ma and Bear. Customers can bring in extra yarn, to be knitted into hats to be sold in the store and donated.

The store’s operating hours, subject to change, are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free parking is available on-street and behind the store. You can visit Wonderfill’s website for more information or to place an online order.

Photography by John Schisler