Take a close look around you. See if you could find a single item when you purchased it, it came with no packaging. No box, no plastic, no paper wrap. One has to admit that it is hard to find something that is not using single-use packaging. finding zero plastic packaging is considered difficult to. Many people like single-use packaging instead of reusable one. More convenience, would be their reason if being asked.
However, with number of plastic waste increasing every year, going zero plastic is something to consider. For example,bringing your own reusable packaging while shopping. Some stores in New York City are doing just that. Selling products without packaging.
The store lives up to its name. Everything sold in this store has no packaging. Meaning the costumers bring their own mason jar to keep and bring their stuff home. This store started by Lauren Singer, the mind behind the zero-waste lifestyle blog Trash is For Tossers with collaboration with Daniel Silverstein, a fashion designer whose clothes are made from discarded fabric under the line named Zero Waste Daniel.
The store opened with the goal to provide New Yorker and online shopper with goods they need to live a trash-free lives. “What Daniel and I have realized through trying to live a zero-waste lifestyle is that the lifestyle itself is really easy. But finding all of the tools you need requires effort, time and a bunch of different websites,’ told Singer to Mind Body Green. The store that opened in May has taken a quite literal on “think outside the box” phrase.
Located on 137 Grand Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, offers a wide range of home goods and bath & body product for zero-waste living. Such as naturally-made deodorant and Singer’s all-natural laundry detergent under the name The Simple Co. if you thought this store more of bring-your-own-bottle to refill product, think again. They also have reusable tote bag, compostable toothbrushes, linen food cover, stainless steel and bamboo drinking straw, and bamboo silverware among so many things. They even have skateboards made of ocean plastic.
Thru packagefreeshop.com, the store offers the change for wider customers to life a zero-waste life. They make sure the package used in shipping the product is plastic free, 100% recyclable and 100 compostable. As mentioned on the web, they use boxes they receive the inventory in; boxes given by neighborhood; or found in the neighborhood. They include a note in every shipping encouraging customers to reuse, compost, or recycle the packaging. As for the supplier, Package Free ask for every shipment use zero plastic packaging, including bio-based or compostable plastic, and using as little packaging as possible.
Both Singer and Silverstein like to spend their time in the store. They are ready to answer question regarding the products and lifestyle, also giving advice. The shop itself includes an area where it could be used to hold DIY classes. With the addition of iPads available at the shop, the customers are also able to get detailed info on where every product comes from, how it is made and how they could incorporate the product into their lives.
Sarah Metz, the founder of The Fillery plans on helping people to be able to reduce packaging and food waste. Seeing the waste when she first moved to Brooklyn, New York City, has inspired her to become proactive toward lessen food and packaging–related waste. Her vision includes assist people be more health-conscious when choosing food and environmentally conscious about the waste production. She looks at the Fillery as a place at the intersection of the Zero Waste and Slow Food movement.
The Fillery sees some problems that need to be addressed. First problem is plastic pollution, as recent study found that only around 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling while the rest pollute environment. Second problem is food waste which according to United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, 40% of food in United States of America alone goes to waste. Third problem is obesity that is on the rise in America. One third of adult in USA suffer from this condition.
The shop offers solutions thru the products they sell and the campaign they have. As the store has its motto, “Goods for your pantry, good for the planet.” The purpose is offering customers food in bins and dispenser to reduce plastic waste. The shop provides items like nuts, rice, spices and coffee. All you need to bring is container when purchasing. This is also the solution for food waste as customers only buy what they need in the quantity.
Not only food, the shop that located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11238, even has dish soap and plant based/natural cleaning tools and other household products. They also have wide options of storage and containers. From bottles, jars up to reusable drawstring bags. The store also hosts community and seminars about waste management, eating habits, health benefits of herbs and spices’ cooking demo teaching how to make healthy cooking; and DIY classes.
The idea first popped up in Metz’s mind in 2013 after living in Brooklyn for 10 years and no bulk store had ever existed. How she remembered a shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan named By the Pound and wanted to live near such store. She finally decided to do it herself and begun two years search
Metz said that the shop’s biggest challenges so far has been assessing the complete environment impact of the prospective product. The product cannot be eco-friendly but the supply chain does not support the program. Things like shipping materials, shopping methods and cost is also considered. The challenge is to balance between providing truly environmentally sustainable products and maintaining a financially sustainable business.
When asked what sustainability means to her, she answered that “sustainability is the compass the should guide the choices we make about the things we consume, in whatever manner that might be. It’s a quality in the things we eat, purchase, create, utilize – they must not cause harm, but instead hold lasting value and overall goodness for our bodies and environment.”
Although the idea is Zero Waste Lifestyle is still hard to digest and sounds hippie, but it is one solution for a better future. Besides reduce, reuse and recycle, we could also refuse plastic and choose a longer lasting, eco-friendly and better for health items such as containers and household products.