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Shopper disappointed after trying to purchase refill for 'trusty' pepper grinder: 'It's the same amount, not even cheaper'

"People seriously just buy a full plastic grinder and throw it out every single time they need pepper?"

"People seriously just buy a full plastic grinder and throw it out every single time they need pepper?"

Photo Credit: iStock

Life can be a grind, but making eco-friendly choices that are easy on your wallet shouldn't be. Sadly, this is often not the case, and one Redditor experienced a shocking example of this when trying to buy peppercorns to refill their grinder. 

What happened?

In a post to the r/Anticonsumption subreddit, a shopper shared their experience with frustrating wastefulness. 

"Went out to the supermarket to get a refill pack for my trusty pepper grinder at home," the poster wrote. "Why on earth does a refill cost 2.5€ [$2.70 at the time of writing this] upwards (even up to 5€ [$5.41] if it's organic one!) but the one in those single use grinders is 99ct? And it's the same amount, not even cheaper if you buy the refill, this is just ridiculous."

"It's ridiculous and infuriating," agreed one commenter

"Edit: I just noticed that the grinder is not one of those kinds that can only be opened destructively but can just be screwed open (not even much force required, every child could do that, a water bottle is harder to unscrew)," the OP followed up with, adding, "While still s***** it is better as I can reuse the thing when it's empty, even if it's only as a jar without making use of the grinder."

"People seriously just buy a full plastic grinder and throw it out every single time they need pepper?" asked another commenter. 

"Saving the planet is not cheap, I'll tell you that," said a third.

Why is it concerning?

Making the single-use grinder less expensive than refill peppercorns for a reusable grinder is problematic on several levels. 

First, it shouldn't cost a consumer more to make an easy, eco-conscious choice. While many commenters pointed out that buying in bulk is usually cheaper, this may not be an option for some shoppers. 

Second, the less expensive option will be purchased, used, and thrown out by most as it can't be refilled (or if they don't catch when it's refillable). This contributes to the more than 266 million U.S. tons of plastic waste the world generates annually. Most of this plastic waste isn't recycled, so it goes to landfills, creating harmful microplastics and planet-warming pollution as it breaks down. 

What can companies do about it?

While this post doesn't name the store where this occurred, instances like this are a global issue. Stores can do better by making the refills less expensive than the whole grinder filled with pepper and having bulk spices that make it easy and affordable for consumers to make choices that are less detrimental to both their wallets and the environment. 

What can I do to help?

As individuals, we can work to hold corporations accountable and make sure we support brands with either plastic-free packaging or that at least don't make their plastic containers single-use. 

We can also reduce our reliance on single-use plastics by reusing product containers, as the OP said they would be able to, and ditching plastic grocery bags, among other actions. 

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