Caledon is no stranger to the environmental activism of Bolton’s Betty de Groot. Her Caledon Environmental Leadership Award in 2020 is just her most recent recognition. Betty grew up on her parents’ farm on “the fifth line of Albion” and that is where her love of nature and the environment originally sprouted.
“But it wasn’t until I began running the Green Team while teaching at Holy Family School, that I began to develop an amateur’s understanding of the climate crisis and of environmental degradation” says Betty.
“As the EcoTeam Leader, I was always humbled and energized by the passion our youngest members of society have when they learn about the problems in our current way of living” she continues. “With the climate situation weighing heavily on me, my worries about the futures of my daughters, nieces, nephews and all of my students led me to become an activist. So I joined ecoCaledon, and I learned and then taught that recycling was NOT enough. I read great books and articles, and I signed petitions, and I met wonderful people and I continue learning and speaking and living as if how we live matters.”
“Recently I’ve retired from St. John the Baptist School, yet I still work with children in Nature and Forest School settings. I also work with adults through ecoCaledon, where we discuss, among other things, food waste, plastic packaging, and rampant sprawl. This is all in a quest to change current patterns so that we may live in greater harmony with our natural world” Betty explains.
Another opportunity to make an impact was about to make itself known to the dedicated environmentalist. Her friend Carolyn Vallejo, who had founded Turtle Green Refillery, had reached a point where her busy job as a Tutor was preventing her from dedicating the time needed to grow the business. Betty had been one of Carolyn’s very first customers when Turtle Green opened. “It gave me a way to practise what I preach” she laughs. “Myself and other ecoCaledon friends were afraid of losing a valuable service that Caledon sorely needed. So I bought the company!” Betty is the new owner as of mid-January 2022.
Betty says her motivation is “to see Caledonians (and beyond) move away from the plastic dependent lifestyle of which we, as consumers, have almost become blind. Rethink Refill is Carolyn’s very catchy and very honest tagline, which I have happily inherited. It encapsulates exactly what we all need to do, when it comes to our regular understanding of shopping.”
How does it work?
“Conscientious individuals are encouraged to visit our website and explore. Refillable liquid products can be purchased in various jar sizes. When any jar is purchased there is a built in deposit fee, which customers can get back by returning the jars; alternatively, they can get a coupon which can be used to lower the cost of their next purchase. All returned jars are washed and sterilized before being put back into circulation.”
Currently Turtle Green Refillery is offering two main categories which are household cleaning products and personal care products. Other newer items are part of the extended offerings, which will grow with time.
While the delivery zone at the moment is primarily Caledon Betty says they are willing to expand that into the GTA. She is the proud owner of a Nissan Leaf (an EV) and says that, while range isn’t fantastic, it is definitely the vehicle being used for Caledon deliveries.
Betty concludes “We are pretty nice people and not at all intimidating. So please give Turtle Green Refillery a try! We’re interested to know which products and brands mean a lot to our customers, so that we can help push for these producers to switch to offering their goods in Zero Waste packaging too. The Circular Economy is coming so why wait? You can get on board now!
Instagram & facebook: @turtlegreenrefillery