What is BYOC?
BYOC Co. (Bring Your Own Container) allows you to bring a container from home, purchase a new one in-store, or take from our free donation shelf to fill up on eco-friendly, plastic-free household cleaning and personal care products. We aim to reduce single-use plastic consumption by refilling the same containers over and over again. In addition to refills like hand soap, laundry detergent, and shampoo, we also carry a wide variety of zero waste essentials for the home and body.
About our brands
We prioritize stocking Women-, BIPOC-, and LGBTQ-Owned brands that align with our overall mission and values. While we ultimately are looking to stock plastic-free alternatives to everyday items, that does not encompass the full scope of sustainability and ethical consumption we are looking to achieve. Our brands are small, pay their employees a livable wage, source high quality, plant based ingredients for their products, and avoid plastic usage in their packaging and how they get their products to us. Our shop is 100% cruelty-free, while also aiming to stock a variety of vegan options. To support the local economy (and because their products rock), we stock many local small businesses. Our dish soap, laundry liquid, castile soap, lotion, bar soaps, candles, coffee filters, glass straws, and apparel come from Michigan brands.
How do products get to BYOC?
As of May 1st, 2023, our refillable products are 61% closed loop, meaning we receive quantities of one gallon containers to 30 gallon drums, sell the product inside, return those containers for cleaning by the manufacturer, and receive new product in the same containers. When we opened in 2021, we were at 20% closed loop and improved to 52% closed loop in 2022. For refillable products not on a closed loop, we find every way to reuse the containers before recycling them through Terracycle. Our one gallon containers often become new holding devices for customers through our Free Shelf, 5 gallon containers get donated to a local farm for growing produce, and 30 gallon drums become rain barrels.
Our non-refillable products are shipped plastic-free with recyclable tape and kraft paper inserts. The best part about working with local vendors is eliminating the need for shipping and packaging. We typically receive deliveries from local vendors in reused cardboard boxes and zero additional packaging.
How does it work?
When you come to BYOC Co., you’ll hand your containers (or choose your containers from the options we have available in-store) over to staff to get their tare weights. Taring is what we like to call weighing your containers on a scale before you fill. That way we can deduct the original weight of the container after you’ve filled so you’re only paying for the product inside. You will be able to fill your container as little or as much as you’d like. For liquids, powders, and creams, we charge by the ounce. We’ll weigh your filled containers and deduct the original container weight before charging you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many containers are labeled by volume, not weight. When a container is labeled with fluid ounces, this is a volume measurement. When measuring by weight, our liquids tend to weigh a tad bit more than the volume measurement. Keep this in mind when predicting your fill weight. We are happy to fill your container to the desired weight or price you have in mind.
What containers can I bring?
As long as your container is clean and dry, we can fill just about anything! We’ve filled glass, plastic, aluminum, silicone bags, cotton produce bags, and more.
Where is your shop?
BYOC Co. Ann Arbor is located on the lower level of 255 E Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can enter the shop from three entrances. The most commonly used entrance is below the BYOC Co. awning on E Liberty St, there is a set of stairs that lead directly to the lower level. The second entrance is through the common area of Liberty Square.
We have one entrance that is wheelchair accessible. From the sidewalk outside our shop, you’ll head towards Fifth Ave and turn left towards Washington St. When you reach the end of the building Afternoon Delight occupies, you’ll take another left and look for a door that has 255 above it. Take this entrance and immediately to your left there will be an elevator for you to use to take to the ground floor.
BYOC Co. Plymouth is located on street level at 550 Forest Ave in Suite 4. We are apart of the Westchester Square shops and have a designated parking lot off Harvey St in downtown Plymouth for customers to park for free.
What can I donate?
We accept containers and paper bags for donation. Please review our donation guidelines on the Donations & Recycling page.
What can I recycle?
We accept a variety of hard-to-recycle items through Terracycle. Please review our recycling guidelines on the Donations & Recycling page.
What if I forget my container?
Have no fear! We have lots of free containers on our community donation shelf in-store for you to choose from. They have been sanitized for reuse and you can take as many as you need.
Meet the Founder
Hello there! My name is Emma Hess, I started BYOC Co. when I was 22 and fresh off graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Sociology. My low waste journey started while in college when I swapped my bottle of liquid shampoo for a solid shampoo bar. When I'm not in the shop, I'm likely prepping for a backpacking trip, playing with my cats Millie & Luna, pursuing a new zero waste project, or spending quality time with my family.