We had the good fortune of connecting with David Rouse and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
How it works. Refill shops are becoming more and more common, but for many people it still seems a novel or somewhat exotic way to shop. Before the big plastic boom, buying by weight and reusing containers was much more standard. In a short time, however, we’ve become quite used to purchasing prepacked products and then tossing out the package, which almost includes a little or a lot of plastic. This practice has lead us directly into the worldwide trash crisis we’re in right now.

Refill shops aim to reduce waste by offering to refill existing reusable containers, charging by weight for the product that goes in, often personal care products like soaps, shampoos, and lotions or home cleaning products like all-purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, or dish soap. At Off the Bottle, we ensure that the products we offer are also eco-friendly, biodegradable, and non-toxic. We carry as many locally-manufactured products as we can.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Off the Bottle Refill Shop is a low-waste refillery that specializes in home and personal care products with the intent to take single-use plastics out of the equation. We carry many locally sourced refillable products as well as low-waste lifestyle accessories. Basic daily needs kind of stuff… all clean, plant-based, and biodegradable. What sets us apart from other general stores is our mission to reduce waste, and what sets us apart from other refill shops is our commitment to supplying truly green and clean products. We are excited about everything we do and we love to share our passion for sustainability with our guests.

Off the Bottle was born of this passion to create a better space, to offer an alternative to the norm. Both Daniel and myself have shared this passion together and separately over the years with our various projects like Osa Mariposa Hotelito, Watercourse Foods, City, O City, The Bodyguard Travel Companion Cookbook, as well as in our daily lives, always striving to promote earth-friendly ideals.

It hasn’t always been easy. Not by a long shot, but we’ve always believed in what we we’re doing and that belief, along with passion and hard work, has led to success in many cases. Personally, I’ve been able to overcome challenges by kind of blurring the bigger picture and pushing through the tough times, focusing on one little project at a time until everything, all the little pieces, begin to come together. It takes time and perseverance, but, with commitment, almost anything can be done.

I would just like the world to know that Off the Bottle Refill Shop is a community affair. We’re learning as we go and we invite the community to be a part of the journey. None of us can go zero waste overnight. It’s a process. It takes time, it takes support. There will be a lot of trial and error along the way. For us, this is a business, but we desire to be in the business of doing the right thing. We’re happy to help you as you get your feet wet and we’re happy to learn from those who have treaded these waters ahead of us. It will take support, sharing, and solidarity to change the course of our future.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I should hope that the COVID crisis wouldn’t hinder this best friend’s visit. Under normal conditions, I would bring them to see some of OTB’s neighbors like City, O City, the Make, Believe Bakery and Please Plants. We would probably stop by some of the other staples of 13th Avenue like Wax Trax Records, Pablo’s Coffee, or Landmark Tattoo. We would then visit Mutiny Information Cafe on the out of town for a hike or concert at Red Rocks. Getting out of Denver, we may visit one of the many hot springs Colorado has to offer like Joyful Journey or Valley View and then do some camping out west before returning to the city for a night out in the RiNo district, exploring the various restaurants, murals, and clubs. Lots to do in Denver.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My partner Marisol Garcia has been integral in the success of Off the Bottle. We have a three-year-old boy and a three-week-old girl and she has sacrificed a lot in order to allow me the time and space to get Off the Bottle off the ground. Her support and encouragement has helped to make the shop a reality.

My business partner Daniel Landes has been a friend, mentor, and co-visionary for a number of years. We created Osa Mariposa together, a beachside bohemian hostel/guest house in Oaxaca, Mexico, and we have been working together on Off the Bottle Refill Shop for the past year. I’m positive that our creative relationship will continue to flourish.

Website: www.offthebottlerefills.com

Instagram: @offthebottlerefillshop

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/offthebottlerefillshop

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/off-the-bottle-refill-shop-denver

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