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Three things helped propel me into a more sustainably conscious lifestyle: having friends that were already on the journey before me, continuously exploring why something like plastic is not sustainable, and having a one-stop zero waste shop in my area.
I have mentioned on my Instagram @thekyliebee and in other blog posts that I absolutely LOVE to shop at my local zero waste store, also known as Zero Market. It has a variety of different items that help make the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle in every area of life.
I didn’t know a place like this existed until my coworkers and I went out to lunch at this new market place in town that featured boutiques and eateries. After lunch, my coworker said, “Oh my gosh, while we’re here, the zero waste store that I have been hearing about is here! Let’s go check it out!” Just to give a bit of background, my coworker was already very knowledgeable about living sustainably. I completely trusted her recommendation to check this store out and to ACTUALLY give it a try.
At the time, I looped “sustainability” into hippie stuff, like only people that were vegan and smoked grass were into sustainability and that just wasn’t my group. No judgement if you’re vegan or smoke grass, it’s just not what I identified with. However, the more I gave the idea of sustainability a chance, the more I realized how wrong I was in that assumption.
Living sustainably should be important to all of us! For example, do you love the ocean? What if I told you it’s creatures are being choked out by plastic that you CHOOSE to buy and throw away? OR do like to breathe clean air? What if I told you that the manufacturing side of the fast fashion industry is one of the biggest air and water polluters? Basically, that little red dress you bought to go out last weekend is contributing to air and water pollution.
There’s no hippie dippie stuff in that… I mean we all want to breathe clean air and drink clean water no matter where you live or what you’re into.
So what is the solution? The whole thing is quite overwhelming, trust me. I will cover this topic so much more in future blog posts with suggestions on how you can incorporate more sustainable practices into your daily life so subscribe if you haven’t already done so. For this blog post though, I wanted to take you back to the beginning a bit and suggest why finding a one-stop zero waste shop to begin your journey to living more sustainably can be one of your biggest resources.
Let’s dive in…
1. They have a sustainable replacement for almost everything
Zero waste shops tend to have a large variety of different items from different suppliers, just like a Target would. When you walk into a zero waste shop you can walk to the laundry section if you’re looking for bulk laundry powder, dryer balls, stain remover sticks, etc. Or you could walk over to the drink section to find reusable straws, reusable and/or collapsible cups, plastic-free koozies, etc. The list goes on and on and on.
2. They give you ideas to switch other items to sustainable alternatives
Many times when I go into the zero waste store, I already have in mind what I’m going to buy there. I tend to have refillable options replenished like dish soap, beard oil for Bryan, etc. BUT I always see something when I browse the shelves that I didn’t know could have a sustainable option.
For example, the time I discovered plastic-free lip balm. I didn’t go to the zero waste store to buy lip balm initially, but then I saw a plastic-free, compostable lip balm tube available for sale near the register. Now here I am reducing the amount of plastic lip balm tubes I throw in the trash because I now buy a more sustainable option. The products that they stock in these stores give you ideas to further your sustainable living.
3. The people who work there are generally knowledgeable about various sustainability topics and products
It is so valuable to have the people that work in a store not only know about the products and why they are selling them, but that they are also passionate about the mission behind the store. I have learned so much about sustainability and have been given product suggestions based on conversations that I have had with the people that work at the store. Their knowledge is the intangible gem that you can’t measure, but has so much impact during someone’s journey to living more sustainably.
4. Exposure to new sustainable companies
While zero waste stores make their own products to sell, they generally also hold products that have been sourced from local suppliers, local artisans, and/or other zero waste stores and brands. Every time I buy a product and pay attention to the brand, artist, or store that made the product, I am introduced to a whole new company that is making a difference in the world by striving towards a more sustainable way of life.
5. They provide items in bulk
Not every zero waste store offers items in bulk, but the vast majority of them do. By offering items in bulk, it cuts down on packaging that would have otherwise been used to package that product. For specific products like loose leaf tea, olive oil, hand sanitizer, dish soap, flour, etc., you are able to use reusable jars or bags (like these) to transport and/or store the item until you run out and then need a refill.
6. They help you learn more about environmental and health issues
As you look around at the products that are offered in a zero waste store and think about what problem they are trying to solve, it offers another glimpse into WHY it’s so important to live sustainably. For example, did you know that your common plastic kitchen sponge can be 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat and when it’s thrown out it will contribute to the plastic pollution problem?? There is a sustainable alternative for that.
By taking a second to browse what the stores have to offer, you will be introduced to a waste problem in your life that you didn’t know needed to be solved.
7. They tend to focus on supporting local artisans, craftsmen, female and minority-owned businesses
This is one of my favorite aspects of supporting a zero waste store. Even the online markets make a point to feature products made by local and female and/or minority owned businesses. Why is this so important? The main point is that by doing so we are enabling the economic stability of the families within each of our communities.
Check out my “Why Support Local” blog post HERE.
Having a zero waste shop physically within your community or in close proximity is a wonderful thing, but they aren’t like Starbucks yet so you may have to resort to shopping from online zero waste shops that can supply your sustainable lifestyle.
CLICK HERE to see my recommendations when it comes to shopping sustainably online. These are some of my favorite online zero waste shops that I will continue to refer people to. You can also check out the Resources page on my website by CLICKING HERE to find more specific product options, Instagram accounts to follow, books to read, etc.
I hope this blog post helped you understand why zero waste shops seem to be popping up in every major city. It’s because sustainability is a global concern and needs to be a priority for us all.
Why do I care so much you ask? Because I want my daughter to explore places like Bangladesh and not worry about air/water pollution from the fast fashion industry, I want her to be able to swim in the sea without encountering a turtle with a straw stuck up its nose, and I want her to be able to look up and actually see the stars in the sky at night, not just smog.
There’s no hippie dippie stuff in that. Just a girl looking for the beauty that this world has to offer.
Click HERE to subscribe to my blog for future zero waste, sustainable, and plastic-free tips, tricks, and reviews of alternatives to products that we use everyday.
Until next time,
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