Article by LeRae Haynes –
Daniella Gastaldello is a young, informed ‘hippie’ transplant from Vancouver Island who has embraced her new home in the Cariboo, bringing to life her vision, passion, and commitment to the environment, and to leaving the planet a cleaner, better place for her children.
Her new business, FullFILL Williams Lake, has been open since November 2020. She offers a wide range of refill products from skin care to floor cleaners, helping to reduce plastics in landfills and taking it to the next level: reducing plastics in recycling.
You can bring in your own containers and get refills on many household cleaners, shampoos, conditioners, hairspray, laundry products, bath and beauty products, and more. There is a retail aspect, too, with things like laundry strips, baby items, dog treats, beeswax food covers, reusable zip top storage bags, and refurbished second-hand clothing.
Customers can get containers, lids, and dispensers for their refill needs, or they can bring their own from home.
Gastaldello says that there have been refill stores on Vancouver Island for years, and that when she moved to Williams Lake, she thought the community would welcome one here.
“People here were talking about a refill store and expressing an interest for quite a while and the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” she explained.
Daniella and her husband have three young children.
“My logger husband, who has become a reformed waster in progress, was my biggest push to do this. He really encouraged me to do it. ‘This is you,’” he told me.
She helps take recycling to an all-new level: reducing plastics in the first place. “Given that stats show that the actual number of plastics that gets recycled isn’t that much, and that plastic production has never been higher, it’s important—crucial, even—to reduce the amount that goes into recycling,” she said.
Before opening FullfILL Williams Lake, Gastaldello ran a licensed day care in her own home. “It was always my personal challenge to lower how much refuse went in my bin,” she explained. “Most everyone else on the street had an overflowing bin every week. I was home every single day with my own kids and my day care kids in diapers, and mine would only be a quarter full every week. I thought I could do better.”
She added that the garbage was under control, but not being convinced that standard recycling is the answer, she decided it was time to reduce the amount of recycling items.
“I had at least one overflowing bin of recycling every week, and thought, well, how about I cut out that crap?”
She set her personal challenge to lower her recycling bin size every week. “We recently moved to 150 Mile House and in four months only had one garbage bag to haul in,” she said. “And our recycling was cut in half just by making little changes and by being more conscious about what I’m buying and what I’m using,” she said. “Refilling, using laundry strips instead of buying plastic laundry jugs, having kids use reusable containers and snack bags, and making your own things at home.”
An avid gardener, she also builds her own compost, repurposes items for her own household, enjoys canning and preserving her own bounty, and infuses her own vinegar.
When it comes to running the store, she said that the process has involved reaching out to as many quality local vendors as possible, partially to reduce the carbon footprint of hauling products long distances.
“I look for people with the same vision as me—people who work to reduce their waste before it gets here. I look for products that are free of parabens and toxins, and who have many fragrance-free options,” she added. “My products range from natural to certified organic and also appeal to those who simply want the refill aspect without the organic price tag.”
“I think education is key. I’m learning something new all the time, and my goal is that every time someone comes in here, they learn,” she explained.
Gastaldello has made connections with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society and is making plans for more education, starting with kids.
“We’ve taught them water conservation, composting, and recycling. Now it’s time to teach how to reduce recycling. This needs to be the number one way of looking at things,” she said. “You can recycle all day long, but the key to making change is to reduce the need in the first place. Why recycle when you can reduce?”
FullFILL Williams Lake is located in Delainey’s Mall at 271 Oliver St, offering free delivery weekly to Quesnel (pick up at Bouchie Lake Country Store) and 100 Mile for North and South Cariboo residents.
For more information, you can visit FullFILL on Facebook or Instagram, at fullfillwl.ca, or by phoning (250) 616-4494. -GG
LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, and instigator of lots of music with people of all ages in the community. She fearlessly owns 10 ukuleles, clinging to the belief that you’re not a hoarder if you play them all.