By now, I’m hopeful that most people believe in the science of climate change. All you have to do is turn on the news on any given day, in any corner of the planet and you will witness some horrific crisis. Due to extreme heat, wind and drought, we’ve seen the devastation in Australia over recent weeks as thousands of hectares of land are burning…not to mention the heartbreaking loss of human and animal life.
I’ve always believed that change, any kind of change, comes from the bottom up…not the top down. We may “own” our little bit of property on this planet, but at the end of the day, we are all just visitors here. We can not continue polluting without conscience. Nature is a much stronger force than we ever can be.
Small changes in our daily lives will help the planet recover. If you’ve ever gone to a market in Europe, you will have noticed that shoppers carry a straw tote, string shopping bag, or have a rolling cart to load their groceries in. There are not rolls of plastic by every bin to store their fruits and vegetables. As I do my daily run to the market, I’m encouraged to see more and more consumers bringing along their own reusable bags to pack their groceries.
By 2021, the Canadian government will no longer allow single-use plastic. As consumers and producers, we will all have to adapt to these policy changes. This opens the doors for clever entrepreneurs to provide the products we will need in the future.
I’m thrilled to have a new “pop-up” shop open in my hometown, Edmonton, that is providing zero-waste products. Re:Plenish opened its doors this past weekend.
As you can see from the interior shots of Re:Plenish, it is possible to have to zero-waste products that are both useful and beautiful.
*** interior photos by Intex Imaging (@intex_imaging on Instagram)
The founders of Re:Plenish…Meghann Law (right) Karine St-Onge (left)
***above photo by Melanie Madeleine Photography (@melaniemadeleinephoto on Instagram)
Earlier this week I interviewed the owners of Re:Plenish
What inspired you to open a retail business that provides zero-waste products?
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to start my own business/store. Growing up, working at CC was a huge inspiration for me, and since it closed I’ve been missing the feeling of “home” at work – that’s something that a small business allows you to have. Karine and I have discussed different businesses over wine for years – things like bookshops and cafes, but we had never really considered entrepreneurship as a viable option. When the idea for Re:Plenish came about, it seemed like it was too good to wait for, and we got to work right away. Doing zero-waste retail allows us to have a viable product and creative outlet while also easing some of the guilt that comes along with promoting consumerism.
How do you research the products you buy?
About 90% of our research is done online – countless Google searches and sifting through results to find products that are both ethical and available in bulk. Once we’ve selected suppliers that we think would be a good fit, we contact them via email and ask for more information about their products. The other 10% of our research is done at craft shows and markets, connecting with local makers and seeing their products first hand.
Do you have suggestions to consumers about making small changes to help the environment?
We always suggest starting small! Choose an item or activity in your house that stands out as wasteful and commit to making a change just for that. When you are at a comfortable place and have developed a new habit, choose something else to work on. A good place to start is by refilling soaps or shampoos, starting a countertop compost, buying a water filter jug instead of drinking bottled water, switching from plastic wrap to beeswax wraps, changing to a bamboo toothbrush, or switching to reusable facial cotton rounds.
How has social media helped build your business?
Social media has been instrumental in marketing our business. We actually haven’t had to do any traditional marketing outside of operating our Instagram and Facebook accounts. We feel that zero-waste, as a concept, is intriguing, and we’ve created a platform for people to learn more. We have people reaching out every day asking about our products and for advice on starting out their personal zero-waste journey. This kind of interaction has been great for the growth of our business, but it also has meant that we are essentially working 24 hours – there is always another message to respond to!
What are your plans for the future?
We are taking our business one day at a time. We had an OVERWHELMING response to our first weekend and are already receiving all kinds of offers to help move our business forward. For the time being, we intend to really enjoy what we have created and when the opportunity comes along to expand, we’ll know it. We are protective of our brand, and we want to grow slowly while staying committed to the zero-waste model.
Located at: 9803 – 47 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta Business hours: Saturday 10-5 Sunday 12-5