The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast

How To Shop "Zero Waste, Zero Shame" (+discounts) with 5 Women-Owned Businesses & beyond!

April 08, 2022 Katie Season 2 Episode 9
How To Shop "Zero Waste, Zero Shame" (+discounts) with 5 Women-Owned Businesses & beyond!
The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
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The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
How To Shop "Zero Waste, Zero Shame" (+discounts) with 5 Women-Owned Businesses & beyond!
Apr 08, 2022 Season 2 Episode 9
Katie

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

Shopping "zero waste" can seem like an impossible task, and you may feel a sense of overwhelm or shame just thinking about how daunting this is. I've felt the same way! And here's the thing, if we're aiming for truly ZERO waste, then yes, that's impossible for most. But there are sooo many ways you can shop sustainably, with the lowest amount of waste possible, and definitely with ZERO shame!

In this episode, 5 amazing women join Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to share about their businesses and offer you a variety of options for shopping sustainably, both online and in-person. They offer so many options and pro-tips that you can apply this knowledge ANYWHERE, even if you don't live in Colorado.

If you do want to shop with and support these women-owned businesses, offering everything from food to skincare to cleaners to makeup and more, I have exclusive discounts for you! These 5 women are in my Community Partners with my coaching business, That Minimal Life LLC, and they have teamed up with me to offer YOU discounts. Here's how it works:

OR

Either way, you'll receive unique discount codes to more than a dozen sustainable shops, including these 5, and we're adding more community partners often! 

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More about these 5 businesses owners:

hello@juniperseedmercantile.com

instagram.com/juniperseedmercantile
---

Instagram: @joyfilldenver

joyfilldenver@gmail.com

---

Instagram: @glowandgather
---

Facebook and Instagram: @summitsustainablegoods

Email: carrie@summitsustainablegoods.eco

---

3233 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301

https://www.facebook.com/nudefoodsmarket/

https://www.instagram.com/nudefoodsmarket/

@nudefoodsmarket

21 Days Zero Waste Challenge
---
*Tiffany gives a shout-out to Shear Wisdom, a low-waste beauty salon in Littleton, CO that will refill shampoo and conditioner as well as give great haircuts!
*Also mentioned: article with visuals on the global landfill crisis 

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Show Notes Transcript

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

Shopping "zero waste" can seem like an impossible task, and you may feel a sense of overwhelm or shame just thinking about how daunting this is. I've felt the same way! And here's the thing, if we're aiming for truly ZERO waste, then yes, that's impossible for most. But there are sooo many ways you can shop sustainably, with the lowest amount of waste possible, and definitely with ZERO shame!

In this episode, 5 amazing women join Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to share about their businesses and offer you a variety of options for shopping sustainably, both online and in-person. They offer so many options and pro-tips that you can apply this knowledge ANYWHERE, even if you don't live in Colorado.

If you do want to shop with and support these women-owned businesses, offering everything from food to skincare to cleaners to makeup and more, I have exclusive discounts for you! These 5 women are in my Community Partners with my coaching business, That Minimal Life LLC, and they have teamed up with me to offer YOU discounts. Here's how it works:

OR

Either way, you'll receive unique discount codes to more than a dozen sustainable shops, including these 5, and we're adding more community partners often! 

-------
More about these 5 businesses owners:

hello@juniperseedmercantile.com

instagram.com/juniperseedmercantile
---

Instagram: @joyfilldenver

joyfilldenver@gmail.com

---

Instagram: @glowandgather
---

Facebook and Instagram: @summitsustainablegoods

Email: carrie@summitsustainablegoods.eco

---

3233 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301

https://www.facebook.com/nudefoodsmarket/

https://www.instagram.com/nudefoodsmarket/

@nudefoodsmarket

21 Days Zero Waste Challenge
---
*Tiffany gives a shout-out to Shear Wisdom, a low-waste beauty salon in Littleton, CO that will refill shampoo and conditioner as well as give great haircuts!
*Also mentioned: article with visuals on the global landfill crisis 

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Katie Kurpanek:

You're listening to all things sustainable, where we unpack topics related to sustainable living, as well as how to apply specific actions to your own life. I'm your eco living coach and podcast host, Katie Kurpanek. Let's jump in. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the All Things Sustainable Podcast. I'm super glad you're here. And if this is your first time joining, then welcome. Season two is all about the many facets of how to become a more conscious consumer. And really being conscious just involves awareness. Right? So my goal with this season is not to tell you this is exactly how you need to shop from here on out, you know, here's 1,2,3,4, like here are all the bullet points. Nope, that's basically not realistic for everybody. You are all tuning in from all over the place geographically, economically, you have different family needs, and jobs and so on. So my goal with this season is to help you feel empowered when it comes to your purchases. I want to help you go from spending without very much thought maybe beyond like the cost of something to feeling like you really have some control over the impact that your purchases are making in the world. In the previous episode, right before this one, my guest speaker Akua Yamoah Opoku pointed out that even if we haven't put much weight into our spending, somebody else already has. Businesses have, you know, corporations, leaders, each dollar that we spend is a vote toward what we value as consumers. And as I've said a million times before, companies will not have very much motivation to change if their consumers aren't demanding something different than what they're already doing. So if you haven't listened to that previous episode with Akua, about supporting sustainable and bipoc owned businesses, BIPOC is Black, Indigenous and People of Color, I highly recommend that you go back and listen to that one so that you can learn about the free search engine that she created, so that it allows you to directly support business owners who are most often marginalized. And then today's conversation is my very first group interview. And it was so much fun. I had the privilege of interviewing five zero waste or low waste shop owners who are all women that approach sustainability from various angles. I'm excited to share this with you because these women work tirelessly to make shopping sustainably and ethically accessible to you, whether it's online or locally in person. And they give amazing tips on how you can shop sustainably even if it's not with them but it's wherever you live. If you do decide to shop with them, however, and they're pretty amazing, so I think you're going to love a lot of what they sell, you can also get exclusive discounts to their shops, both online or in store, and currently up to a dozen similar shops by becoming a patron of this podcast. Or also you could do that by signing up for personal eco living coaching with me if you feel like you're ready for that next step. But either way, you can check out the episode description to learn more about how to do that becoming a patron or signing up for coaching. And then I'll send you all the unique discount codes that you can use while you're shopping. So you can save some money while you save the planet. It's a win win, right? So today you will hear from these five women owned businesses. You'll hear from JuniperSeed mercantile, which is owned by Tiffany, you'll hear from Glow and Gather co owned by Sarita and her niece and nephew Kerala and Jaxon, you'll hear from JoyFill, which is owned by Brittany; Summit Sustainable Goods, which is owned by Carrie. And you'll also hear from Nude Foods market which is a zero waste grocery store co-owned by Verity. You'll be hearing much more about them soon from them in this conversation. So we'll jump into that. And then I encourage you to check out that episode description at the end to find all the ways that you can connect with these women and hopefully enjoy some shopping with them. Alright, let's get started. Okay, thank you everybody for joining me today. This is going to be so much fun. I have yet to do a whole group call on the podcast so far. So today I have five wonderful people wonderful business owners who are passionate about the Earth and living as sustainably as possible and making that an affordable and an attainable option to anybody who is interested in this lifestyle. So I'm excited to dive in today. I've shared just a little bit of background in the introduction, but I'm gonna have each one of you just share a little about yourselves what you have created. And then why did you even choose to do this? Like what's your big why behind what you do? So, Tiffany, let's start with you.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Great, thank you. My name is Tiffany Norton. I'm the owner of juniper seed mercantile. We have two local stores here in Littleton, Colorado. We make everything that we sell right here in shop and We do refills, we do cleaning products, skincare things, Body Care, Baby Care, refills, all kinds of things in sustainable packaging and all transparent so you can come by the shop and watch your products being made by the folks who are making them. And we're really proud of that. The reason why I started this is, you know, sort of following the locavore mission that started a few years ago where people were really encouraging folks to shop really close to home and not buy things that were transported from far away. And with a degree in chemistry, and being a teacher as my full time job, I was always looking for ways to you know, use my knowledge and that my ancestral knowledge as well it came down from my family in ways to help me be more sustainable and take good care of my family and just make things here and found that a lot of people were looking for that we're looking for things that are naturally made handmade, and also, you know, come from right here in their local community. So we've branched out and we sell all over the state and country and abroad, we sell online. But we still keep at our heart that locavore mission.

Katie Kurpanek:

I love it that is so exciting. And I'm really I'm so excited to check out your downtown location. And to all my Eco minded parents out there. I just have to plug like the diaper cream that JuniperSeed creates is amazing. It is like the one diaper cream that is it's been so great on my son's skin. It doesn't irritate him in any way.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

that's awesome to hear. Thank you.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, of course. Carrie, why don't you introduce yourself next?

Carrie, Summit Sustainable Goods:

Awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, so I am Carrie Martin Haley, I am a founder of Summit sustainable goods, which is a new Zero Waste shop here in the Denver area. So I curate household and personal care goods, all of it's designed just for nothing to end up in your landfill at the end of use. So, you know, I really started I started in September of 2020. And, you know, during the pandemic, it was, it was a good shift to just do something different. I actually have a background in education, similar to Tiffany. So when I left teaching, I knew that I wanted to go into environmentalism and sustainability. And I knew I wanted to take that passion for teaching with me. And so part of my mission with summit sustainable goods is making sure that we're educating our customers about what Zero Waste is about sustainability and offering a safe space to grow as individuals and as a community towards that sustainable mission. So I'm really big into the small steps and giving grace when we're not perfect in that concept of progress over perfection. I have an online store, which is how I started I grew into doing pop ups at farmer's markets throughout 2021 I'm really excited to start those again here next month throughout the Denver Metro area and I'm now part of a collective called Made To Last market that's a sustainable collective all of small businesses in Belmar which is in Lakewood, Colorado. And my why, gosh, you know, I think zero waste and sustainability is something that I've always really stretched for in my life. And it's something that I realized as an entrepreneur, I could encourage people and motivate people and, and kind of help people reach that next step in their goal of being, you know, living that sustainable lifestyle. And, you know, so it's, it's what helps kind of push me every day and connect with folks and make sure that we're all doing something good for the planet, little by little.

Katie Kurpanek:

I love that education is like so empowering. It's the key to any difference really, that you're gonna make in life. And I love that, including myself, there's like three educators on this call that have taken this into, you know, a whole new direction in their life. So that's so exciting. Um, Sarita, how about you go next?

Sarita, Glow & Gather:

Hi, I'm Sarita Parikh. And I'm the co founder of Glow and Gather and we are a lifestyle wellness brand that creates natural self care products, Home Goods and spice blends designed to spread joy. So I created this company with my niece and nephew who are really the ones who encouraged me to start this company with them. And they really, we really wanted to have these products that we could share with the world that really were good for your body for your soul and for the planet. And then to use our company as a platform for what more could we do? What impact can we create through a social justice environmental justice lens? And that we can do things differently and share that with the world. But there's a different path of path where we can really take care of ourselves help each other thrive, our community thrive. My niece is now 15. My nephew is now 12. And we started this company five years ago. So we're two thirds youth owned or minority owned company. I have epilepsy, like all these things come together to really, we have to do things differently in order for us to actually be successful. And so we want to share that story. And like there is a different way of being in the world and still being able to thrive.

Katie Kurpanek:

That's so fantastic. Every time I see posts that glow and gather puts out about what you're doing and with your family, and just what a family oriented company this is to I just get so filled up. So I'm happy that you all are doing this work. Um, Brittany, how about you go next.

Brittany, JoyFill:

All right. Hi, my name is Brittany Iseli, I own a zero waste store in Northwest Denver called JoyFill. And we offer a variety of refills, we encourage customers to bring in their own containers and refill any of our goods. We carry bath and beauty products, we carry cleaning products, we really try and source locally whenever possible. But something that I've really focused on is trying to just have variety for customers. I know a lot of people have preferences, and they like smells they don't like smells like unscented. And something that I always ran into is it was hard to find exactly what you wanted when you were trying to be sustainable for eco friendly and you kind of had to take shortcuts or, you know, get something that you really weren't that interested in. And so I try and have variety for customers and make it feel like the experience they're having when shopping and JoyFill is no different than maybe what they were doing before. But you're going to be more gracious with the planet and yourself and what you're putting on your body. So, yeah, we opened in a small space in 2018, spring of 2018. And we just recently moved last spring into a larger space about three times the size. So we are very happy with that move the space has been great for us. We're hoping to move into on subscription and delivery here this summer, try and reach more customers in the Denver area. And yeah, my Why, probably similar to other people. But I've more recently strive to be more sustainable. My husband and I, together have definitely taken a look at our lifestyle and what we purchase, we don't purchase what's important to us. And really in the last five years, we tried to make some big changes. And I was in between some jobs. And it was kind of a good time to look at what I really wanted to do with my career. And I actually live in the neighborhood that I opened up, JoyFill. So I wanted to bring something local for my community, make it easier for people to make these small changes and just have a place where they have support and they can go to with questions. And yeah, so that's how JoyFill came about.

Katie Kurpanek:

That's so great. I think being in that same community, like you've got a whole different layer of investment in those people and like the area that you're serving. So I love that you're doing this work as well.

Brittany, JoyFill:

Thank you.

Katie Kurpanek:

You're welcome. And last but certainly not least, Verity. Why don't you go ahead.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

Awesome. Thanks, Katie. My name is Verity. And I'm one of the owners of Nude Foods market which is a zero waste grocery store in Boulder. We are a full service grocery store. So everything from produce to grains and rice and spices and beauty products and cleaning products and frozen items. I mean, everything that traditional, I guess, landfill focused grocery store has, but everything we have is packaged in glass instead. And and our customers pay a small deposit per jar, and they get most of that deposit back when they returned the jars. So we're really encouraging a cyclical economy, I guess where people return things for reuse. And we love supporting local brands, we have at least 30 local brands as part of the store. And it's wonderful because they deliver everything packaging free and then we package it in the glass jars for them. And we're really unique The way that we're doing this, you know, most Zero Waste grocery stores are using the refill option, but we decided to try and compete more with a traditional grocery store. So testing out this pre packaged option and it's going well so far. In fact, we just won outstanding independence from Progressive Grocer and it was nationwide, well not even a competition, they actually just picked us and reached out. We were there, by far the smallest. So that was super exciting. And in terms of the why, behind why I founded this, if you've ever seen the movie Wally, where humans have had to leave Earth, because it's covered in trash, and there's little robots, looking through the trash looking for some greenery that plays on repeat in my head constantly. And I just think about all the trash that everyone is producing every day. I mean, the average American produces 1700 pounds of trash a year. And I just don't see how we can keep putting that into the earth without some terrible responses. So that's my why.

Katie Kurpanek:

Exactly, I hear those statistics and it's absolutely mind boggling. And my father in law actually sent me an email the other day that had this article that was helpful, I sent it out to some people, because you hear those statistics, and you know, that's a giant number. But you can't fully visualize it sometimes. And so this article had, like, you know, I think there was a Olympic sized swimming pools in one part of the article, and it talked about how like, we could fill this up, you know, three times, within like one part of the country's worth of trash or something like that, and it had all these different visuals that really make you grasp, like what a big deal this is. So thank you for sharing that. And this whole group, I feel like is just a dynamic team of people that are working to change the systems that we have in place. And I know that it's inspiring to a lot of other people across you know, the nation and around the world, trying to figure out how to just changed the systems that we have, which kind of leads into this next question that I have for you all, which is like, if listeners tuning in, especially because I checked the statistics, I know most of them are coming from the United States, but we have listeners internationally. And if they don't have a physical Zero Waste shop near them, or they, you know, are just brand new to this, they don't even know where to look, I would be curious what you all would suggest, as you know, very low waste shop owners like, what would you suggest be their starting point? Should they just look to shopping online? Should they start changing up the way that they shop at the typical grocery store near them? You know, we don't have to go in a certain order. And certainly, you know, y'all don't need to answer this everybody. But if you would like to chime in, what are your thoughts on that? Like, where could listeners begin?

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

I'm happy to dive in. Yeah, if you're on. So the question was, if they don't have a zero waste shop near them, what can they do to zero waste their life?

Katie Kurpanek:

Exactly.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

So I mean, I think even shopping in traditional stores, you can start to make moves that way. You know, the first thing obviously, is never bagging your fruit and veggies that drives me absolutely insane. I have been known to pretend I'm doing a survey and go up to people and be like, tell me, why are you putting your bananas in a plastic bag? What do you think that's gonna do? So and the other thing is just to think more carefully about the actual packaging that other items are coming in. So if there isn't an option to get something without packaging entirely, then you know, choosing cardboard, ideally, without a plastic window, choosing recyclable glass, getting things in tins. So that that is always my go to if there is no package free option available. And also buying giant things online. So for example, a 50 pound bag of oats in recyclable bag, or you know, a 50 pound 25 pound bag of lentils. Because obviously, that's a lot less packaging than if you buy 25 One pound bag.

Katie Kurpanek:

Right? And that would probably be for goods that are not going to go bad anytime soon. Because then you know, then you're not creating a whole other separate problem of food waste.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

Exactly.

Brittany, JoyFill:

Yeah, I can piggyback off that, um, I would say a couple of the suggestions that I give off the top of my head are buying in bulk or seeing what you can make at home on instead of buying hummus every single week in a tiny plastic container. It's pretty easy to make at home. And you can find a lot of the ingredients and like the bulk bins. And then the other one, I mean, anyone can do this and it's free and it's just refusing things that you don't need. So just not buying something if you don't need it. And that seems like a simple gesture, but it's not really when you really think about it. And so just every single purchase you make in your daily life, just you know, go through some questions like that. Do I really need this drive something at home that would already know suffice? Is there something broken? Can I fix it? Can I buy used Can I borrow I mean, there's a lot of other options and just buying something new. And this doesn't necessarily pertain to food always, but just in other areas of your life.

Carrie, Summit Sustainable Goods:

Yeah, so So to go off of both of those ideas, I always recommend to folks that they start with one product change and one practice change in their life, because it simplifies that a little bit. So with one product change that can be you know, something that's in your bathroom, or something that's in your kitchen, or, you know, even the food that you bring into your house. And you start with one thing that you'd like to switch out, and it's very mentioned, you know, if you don't have a zero waste shop around you, there are options, at traditional stores where you can find simple replacement, you know, we're starting to see solid shampoo bars and things like that, you know, pop up in King, Soopers, and target and other, you know, bigger chains. So if you don't have a zero waste shop around, you start with the things that you're noticing around you that you can make a change on. And then the practice change would be just, you know, those behaviors that we engage in every day that can help us to be more sustainable and lower that waste. So, you know, we mentioned the idea of like, not bagging your produce, or you know, bring your own reusable bags, or, you know, take a travel mug with you, when you go to the, you know, your favorite coffee shop every week, or, you know, whatever it is, but pick one of each. And then don't give yourself any pressure to make the next step until you feel like you've really mastered that. And once you've mastered those two, then you can pick something else. And that puts it into bite sized pieces. And particularly for somebody who doesn't have the kind of resources that we're lucky enough to have here in Denver, it makes it a little bit more approachable.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I love all those answers about, you know, figuring out what you can make or what you can buy in bulk, or what you can, you know, take it in small pieces. I appreciate that a lot, because we really focus on zero shame, zero waste. And I think that's a value that everyone in this group shares. And, and what that means for us is, is obviously, you know, you can't change everything overnight, you can't give up everything, it's not the individual consumers fault that the world is in the state that it's in. And, and for something to truly be sustainable, I think it's really important that that that means that you can keep doing it, not just that it's sustainable for the Earth to sustain those choices. But, you know, like Brittany was saying, if I have to compromise on the products that make me feel good, I'm not going to keep using them. And it will actually increase my consumption, because I'm going to be buying more and more different things that almost don't fit the bill. And, and so I agree with all of the things that have been already said about, you know, using your local resources and trying to find things that you can buy in the better packaging, and, you know, make better choices where you are locally. And at the same time, if if you're so far from the kinds of resources that that give you what you want access to in your local community, then I think you need to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to buy it online if you have the resources to do so. But I would suggest definitely avoiding the big box stores if at all possible. And finding a local purveyor who can, you know, be conscious of how they're packaging things and support small businesses and minority owned businesses as much as you possibly can. And that sustainability can mean so much more than just a glass bottle or, you know, whatever it is that you define as your metric for how to measure sustainability.

Sarita, Glow & Gather:

I was gonna just add to that, often what Tiffany was saying is that we have to look at the whole big picture of what sustainability is. So if you can't switch your packaging, look at the ingredient list and see what the ingredients look like and make, you know, see that they're chemical free. Because even that's going to help your the environment or who's making it and is it supporting smaller businesses, is it supporting women? Is it supporting minority businesses? Is it fair trade? What is the how is it being made? All of those things are contributing to sustainability? You know, what, what is the company that's producing that? Is it? Is there a toxic work environment, those types of things also contribute? So if it's not, it's not always just about the packaging, but looking at the bigger picture of what's happening and there too.

Katie Kurpanek:

Absolutely, and I know I've mentioned this before, and even in my previous episode with Shiela DeForest we talked about like the huge connection between social justice and climate justice. The two just go hand in hand. There's no separating them and whether you think about it just packaging and you think about plastic pollution, all of the pollution within our oceans, like that is having a direct impact on, you know, human and non human animals. And then it continues from there and like a ripple effect. And then yeah, beyond packaging, everything that you just mentioned Sarita, like the the toxic work environments that a lot of laborers are under, like, there's so much that's connected here. And typically what I found, if you are searching for more sustainable products, they're typically going to have a better social impact as well. I know that's not true for all, but usually that is going to be the case. So I think it definitely comes down to like shopping in a way that aligns with your ethics. And again, that will look different for everybody, but it's a huge, you know, starting point. So thank you for all those ideas. Those are fantastic. And I wonder if each of you could share a little bit about how you personally prioritize sustainability in the operations of your businesses. And thinking about it from like, a really beginner's perspective, because I know, we have a lot of listeners tuning in, who may not know the background of like, plastic versus paper versus cardboard versus metal packaging, you know, how do you prioritize this in the way you run your businesses? If it comes down to like transportation or local manufacturing, like why is that a big deal to you? I'd love if anyone who wants to go first could just share a little about that.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

I'm happy to dive in. Okay. So I'll just give two examples. So we do deliveries, and we use either bikes or electric vehicles. So that is obviously reducing our carbon emissions. So that was one way of doing it. And then the other way, kind of within, I guess, the backend operations because the front end of the design is sustainable, is we try to get everything secondhand. So you know, all our desks in our office, a secondhand all our monitors are secondhand, all the shelving in the store is secondhand. currently trying to find a secondhand cash register, you know, so everything has been pre loved. And then also, if we have anything that we can't, that we can't use anymore, we then make sure that we pass it on to someone else who can use it. So get opting for the reuse. Before we recycle model.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I would love to go next. My situations, I think a little bit different because I realized that this isn't a model that everybody can use for running a business. But I operate from a place of pretty significant privilege at this point in my career. And that is that, that I have a full time job and partner who also has a full time job. And so it's not as important to me that I'm turning a profit. And so my most important sustainability metric is really around my employees and the customers that I serve. So I really want to make sure that I am paying my employees what they're worth before I start taking a paycheck. And, and like I said, I know that that doesn't make any sense for lots of people who are in business, but for myself, it does. And and so that's a very important goal for me is to make sure that that I have an end in sight that it's not an end, it's a continuing process. But I want to make sure that that my employees know that like while I may not be turning the profit that I need to right now to pay them what they're worth that, that they I am committed to being the lowest paid employee in this business until they are. And so that's really important. And the flip side of that coin, is that I need to very carefully manage the cost to the customer of my product, because this whole business started from an accessibility standpoint, really, like I couldn't afford to buy the expensive things, you know, when I was a single mom on a teaching salary. So I don't want to price my product at the highest level that I feel like I can get and so I'm playing a very delicate game of making sure that my product is accessible and that my employees are treated right and that we cover our costs. And, and then you know, in addition to all of that, you know, we have sustainability goals around sourcing and in our upstream and downstream and things like that, but I just wanted to throw that in there because it's a unique feature of our business.

Brittany, JoyFill:

I'll hop on for a little bit. I'm on a different note. We as a retail store, we do everything we can when we source new brands and suppliers to make sure that they meet our goals of just being very low waste and when we get products shipped to us that they are plastic free and that we try and order as much I guess the most that we can at one point in time, so that we are reducing our carbon footprint with shipping and things, so on and so forth. Um, there are a lot of instances where we aren't totally able to avoid that. So with that comes cost to me, but I kind of worked it into the business plan. So we have a lot of, when we get large pallets in, they always wrap them, it's so lovely, with a lot of plastic wrap. And so we pay to put them in boxes that make sure they're responsibly recycled. At the end of the day. A lot of other things where we were doing when COVID hit we tried to, when we closed our storefront, we did some pouches for refills that we'd send to the customer, we don't really have a way of refilling those. But we did promise to take those back so that we could, again, responsibly recycle those, it's not really the first choice. But moving forward, we hope to do something different in the future. So things like that there's just added costs. But when you think about, you know what's important to you, and what your business stands behind, you're willing to invest in those extra costs with like compost and recycling and things like that.

Carrie, Summit Sustainable Goods:

Yeah, I love so many of what all of you are saying and a lot of this is already resonating, which feels really great. Brittany, I'm similar, I'm really focused on trying to pay attention to the kind of products that I'm bringing into my shop, to make sure they're as sustainable as possible, and that they're coming to me as sustainably as possible. And then if there's any kind of material that you know, is packed in that, I need to figure out what to do with it so that it doesn't end up in landfill. So I've been trying to focus on metrics for the last couple of years just to kind of get a baseline for where I'm at. And so for example, one of the things was paying attention to the amount of landfill that I was producing just through my business. So for all of 2021, I was able to get all of my trash into like a grocery bag. And then at the end of the year, I took it out, like strew it or like threw it all over my floor. And I went well, what's here? What's going to end up in landfill? And what can I use? You know, what other channels do I have to try to take some of this out and put it into different, you know, piles, I guess that can go different places. And of what's left? Is there anything that I can do on the front end when I'm communicating with suppliers, and when I'm, you know, looking at my other operations to how to minimize what's there. So things like that, I've been paying attention to the amount that I drive for Summit. And every year at the end of the year, I will offset my carbon footprint through the Colorado Carbon Fund, which helps keep things local and also focus that money towards a nonprofit that can do good and help us to switch to renewable sources. So all of these little things to add up. Tiffany, I absolutely loved your point about the fact that this sustainability conversation needs to be focused more than just the, you know, paper versus, you know, plastic versus tin conversation. You know, it really needs to expand out to equity. And that's something that I will definitely be focused on as I grow big enough to, hopefully one day have some employees. But yeah, I'm, I'm loving so much of what I'm already hearing. So thanks to everybody.

Sarita, Glow & Gather:

Yeah, and I was just gonna, I think it's all probably already been said. But like, I'm just just like Tiffany, my background. It's not teaching but it's, I'm a physical therapist, and I worked in pediatrics for years. And I actually still have my private practice a little bit. But that's how we started some not started some of these products, but tested a lot of our self care products on my patients. And so part of that was these kids had so many triggers, whether it's, you know, eczema, seizures, so many things, and using these products, and the families loved them. But again, in that equity conversation, like they have such high medical bills, that the affordability of having also high quality products that kids could actually use and that were beneficial. And that didn't trigger some other issue. And that were chemical free. And so we also really tried to keep our costs where it's accessible to people and because we don't think that high quality products should not, you know, should only be for a select population. And so that's part of our goal as well. And that's where that started for us. It's from all those kids that I worked with my medical background We also have that built into our pricing. And then on the we use solar power when we can for some of our production. And then obviously composting and repurposing, we do a lot of that as well. And some of that plastic packaging that we receive from products that we get, we then repurpose into some of our repackaging. So we actually don't purchase any packaging materials, we'll just repurpose what we get from companies that are sending us packaging. So you know, we try our best. And when we do have to ship out glass, unfortunately, you do have to package it somehow. And that's a conversation that we've had so many times, but God glass is heavy, the carbon footprint of shipping glass is so high. And then the packaging needed to ship out glass, it's you know, they're just the conversation of cardboard versus plastic versus glass, which plastic obviously. And we still have some products, self care products and plastic. And so with every order that comes in for a self care product, we plant a tree and our customer will get a tree certificate, just to help because we know we're sending out plastic. But some of those self care products, we just can't figure out a better alternative right now.

Katie Kurpanek:

I know I've heard that from a lot of people, that plastic is just sometimes the most sanitary way to go about things. Sometimes it is just you know, the most cost effective. And when you're starting out as a young company, like it's really hard to get around this. And I agree this conversation goes much deeper than just plastic versus not plastic. But plastic is a huge problem too. And it's like, it's hard to figure out which you know, piece of the whole thing to bite off of at a time. So thank you for all of the ways that you all are prioritizing sustainability in your journeys and your businesses. Some of the ideas overlapped, but a lot of them were so so different from each other too. So I love hearing that. Hey, just wanted to jump in real quick to talk about Patreon. Patreon is an online platform that allows you to become a patron of the arts, so to speak, a financial supporter of the creators who enrich your life with their content. Thanks to the generous support of my patrons starting as low as just$3 a month, I'm able to continue empowering individuals like yourself through these educational chats with various experts across the spectrum of sustainable living. As a patron of this podcast, you will have the privilege of joining the discussions with guest speakers via zoom and taking part in the exclusive q&a is within two. If you can't make the actual interview live, that's okay, you'll have access to the full recorded episode early before anybody else gets a chance to hear it. You also receive the added bonus of personal shout outs in podcast episodes, and other behind the scenes content sent your way. Plus, you'll receive unique discounts to more than a dozen sustainable businesses that have partnered with me so that you can save money and the earth while you shop. If any of the content that I create adds value to your life, or the perks alone have piqued your interest, check out patreon.com/all Things sustainable to join our community and become a patron today. Thank you so much for your support of this journey to minimize our carbon footprint while maximizing our positive impact on this planet we call home. Okay, let's get back to our show. I'm curious, since I know a lot of people want to be more eco minded in their shopping, but they often have like no idea where to begin. What resources are out there. Based on your professional and personal experiences, what are you seeing in like the future of shopping with less waste, at least in the United States? You know, are there any like trending things that you're seeing coming up? Do you think that there's a most important or impactful development that you're seeing coming together? Anyone who wants to jump in on this, I'm just curious.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

As as a manufacturer, that's supplying a lot of zero waste stores, I can tell you that the increase in shops that are putting in, you know, business proposals and doing research into what their markets can sustain and asking for initial wholesale accounts with us, we've seen a doubling every year since we started providing wholesale and I think Brittany actually was one of my first wholesale customer so yeah. So it's been about doubling every single year. And I think that's so exciting. And I know some of us were in a group in 2020 together and so you know, this is the theme of mine. I don't believe in competition. I think that the more of us there are the better it is for all of us. And I would love to see a zero waste market on the corner of every intersection, you know, in an urban area and like one in every town and if we had as many zero markets as we have Starbucks stores, or even Walgreens, you know, like, if you don't pick your pick your big brand. But I just think the more the merrier is, if people could walk to their local zero market, it would be amazing. And I do think that we are well on that path, because Millennials and young people are really seeing the value of you know, the shared economy and the refusal to like buy into the capitalistic story that they don't want to be a part of, it's really refreshing and exciting. I think that's I think we are really, you know, kind of the future of the the Zero Waste market, everybody here and what we're doing and, and following a philosophy of supporting each other in a non competitive kind of way, I think, is really beautiful. And, and I think that we can just support each other as much as possible and not worry that anyone's taking a piece of her pie.

Brittany, JoyFill:

Based on what Tiffany said, I'm the same, if I could, I should really do a tally. But how many emails I get every single week of people wanting to open a zero waste store. And they're and it's usually not even in Denver, Colorado, and they must just find other stores online and just want some information on, you know, my business plan, how I opened any, you know, pros and cons. I mean, in the last six months, I've probably gotten 50, it's insane. And it's great. I'm so happy every time I get an email like this, it's just wonderful to know that there's other people out there that are passionate about this, not just in our city, but everywhere across the country. And I'm the same if I could open 15 more stores, and I didn't have two little kids and I had 40 more hours in the week. I would do it. But um, yeah, the other the other thing that I've seen, and this is totally unrelated to that, but, um, I think people have been more trusting of concentrates. In general, when you think about personal care cleaning products, which in my opinion, are some of the more sustainable ways to it's more of a sustainable way to, let's see, consume things on you don't have the water wait when you're shipping. And so I see, you know, like the handsoap, tablets, the powders, things that dissolve. I mean, I had that it seems like that markets exploding. I'm not in manufacturing. So I don't know, personally, but I've had a ton of customers ask about products like that specifically. So that seems like an interesting path. I don't really know what the future is for that. But...

Carrie, Summit Sustainable Goods:

Yeah, I mean, I think I completely agree that none of us are in competition. And we can all grow upon one another and keep building this new mindset for, you know, our generations and those that come after us. You know, something that I keep hearing over and over again, is like, this is the time to have a zero waste shop. And this is the time to be in the sustainability field. Because so many folks are turning to this and asking questions and getting curious. And it's now becoming something that's being talked about, and just like, you know, what we're all doing right here, for the regular population, to be able to really think about their consumer practices and how they can make it not only more sustainable, but more ethical, as many of us have already talked about today. So I think, you know, it's only going to go up from here. And I would agree that it's all about the support, and it's all about us, you know, doing it in our own authentic ways, reach our own audience. And if we all take this little piece of the pie, we're gonna reach this huge amount of people and have such a great impact in the years to come. So yeah, just appreciate this community.

Katie Kurpanek:

I love it. Anybody else before I jump in? Okay, cool. Yeah, those are super helpful and inspirational to hear and definitely lines up with what I'm hearing from other people as well. So hopefully, that provides a sense of, you know, optimism to any of the listeners tuning in who are not within Colorado, or this Denver area. You know, these these resources are coming your way, most likely. And if they're not there yet, you can turn to online, you can definitely like, look at your own grocery store and see what you can do and what you could possibly offer as your own feedback too. We didn't talk about that very much, but like your voice really matters and getting a whole group of voices together is even more powerful. So I think starting to land the plane here, this question is kind of similar to what I asked already at the beginning of this episode, but I have a routine question that I ask everybody and it's just kind of summarizing what you've already said, or maybe offering an entirely new idea: Considering all the different levels of privilege and accessibility and backgrounds of our listeners, I usually ask speakers to give one or two or three tangible steps listeners could take today, you know, to become a more conscious consumer or live more sustainably. Um, you all have shared amazing tips already. But I wonder if there's anything left, that's kind of like just a burning idea that you've got to get out there or you feel like is worth re emphasizing, if you said it before. Something that listeners can just take away from this episode and apply directly, you know, as soon as they're done listening.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

I would say one thing would be to personally shop secondhand, so I, I did 18 months of buying nothing new. And actually, it was so fun. Because when I would have an event to go to, instead of having that Panic of, I've got to find the perfect outfit for this wedding, or whatever you're going to you just like, well, I'm going to shop my closet. So whatever I need is right here and I will find it and put it together. Or you know, going to a consignment store or thrift store or whatever is is fun if you want that retail therapy. So I think that's a really easy thing to do. Just stop having that trigger finger flicking on Amazon whenever you need something and thinking, do I really need this? And if I do, where else can I get it, you know, Craigslist or a free swap site or any of those things, I think that's an, it's far more satisfying to find something. And then I think my my second kind of personal thing that you can sometimes do reasonably easily is, instead of driving places take public transport, or if you're able to get hold of a bike, and there are many Community Bike Share programs, and then riding a bike, if that's feasible for people in I guess a more kind of urban environment. That's not only a great way to reduce your carbon emissions, but also a great way to just get outside and get some exercise. So it generally makes you happier too.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I'm happy to go next. I think my most important bit of advice for people who don't know where to start, or who aren't sure if they're in the right place, or making the right choices, is, you know, re emphasizing zero shame, zero waste, there are so many ways to measure sustainability. And it's different for everybody. And you don't have to justify your sustainability choices to anybody else. And I think that sometimes the Instagrammable nature of like, you know, take a picture of your trash in a mason jar or something like that can be a very intimidating access point for so many people who think that like why I can't do it, right. So why do it at all. And I think that, that given that there are so many different ways to measure and, you know, join in at whatever point you're in, and priorities that you can make for yourself, if for you shopping sustainably means to buy things that you can afford, that are healthy, do that if you if your idea of sustainability is to support small business do that, if it's to support black businesses do that, if it's to not ship anything, you know, do that. But whatever you decide, you know, if it's comes from a place of being really mindful about your consumption, it's a step in the right direction, and we can tweak and continue making different choices and you know, always do better. You know, when you know better, you do better, and you can't go back. And and I think that the the anxiety that we put on ourselves to like do zero waste correctly, is, you know, a really misleading idea. And it's, it's more harmful than it is helpful. So we need to let that go and give ourselves a break.

Carrie, Summit Sustainable Goods:

Yeah, I think to add on to that, you know, everybody has their own journey with this. And taking it step by step, you know, you're not going to get to a glorious view at the top of the mountain unless you take it little by little. And I think that breaks it into pieces that folks who are really feeling intimidated by this new mindset. You know, it's it's in bite sized pieces now. And it's something that, you know, as Tiffany as you said, it doesn't have to be, you know, one way or the highway, it can be a variety of different things that you try out and some things may feel good and some things may not be the right step for you at that moment. And that's okay. So, you know, I would just encourage people to remember that, you know, you're going to push yourself, we know you're going to push yourself, but do so in a way that's like kind to you and feels empowering because zero waste can feel so empowering when you're doing it that you know in a way that feels authentically to you.

Sarita, Glow & Gather:

We can all do something like that you need to do what you can where you can, how you can and every little small piece matters. So even if it's as simple as I'm making one extra meal at home a week. I mean, that's small, it's simple, it's healthy, it's good for you, and it's good for the planet. So even if it's that, and it seems like, Oh, I'm just eating at home, but that's actually doing something. And so, it every little step matters. And so it can be just that simple.

Brittany, JoyFill:

And I think you all touched on everything I was going to say, as well. But one other suggestion I had would be, if you do have social media, it's not my favorite thing. But it can be a really good resource, especially if you're new to this world. Um, just seek out a couple accounts you don't follow and follow them. And I think you'll be surprised at what you can learn pretty quickly. There's, I don't know, I can't say any off the top of my head. But more than just refill stores, there's community minded accounts, there's, you know, more political ones that are pushing for, you know, change on a local level, on a state level. There's a lot of options. So I think just changing up your feed a little bit can help you too, and find some new ideas and maybe something you can resonate with. And that feels more personal to you that you can hop on board with.

Katie Kurpanek:

Absolutely, I love all of this so, so much like it fills me up and I'm really hoping that just overflows into like all the listeners tuning in. And my favorite quote is to you know, not do nothing because you can't do everything, just do something, anything. And that's by Colleen Patrick Goudreau. But it is literally a daily reminder that I have for myself because I can get so stuck in, you know, either analysis paralysis, or just feeling like it's all or nothing, you know, and if I can't solve this giant problem of climate change, or the waste problem of the world, then, you know, who am I? Like how do my actions really matter in the grand scheme of things? But if everybody did that, if everybody said that, then we would be way worse off than we are now. So just doing something is so important. And I think with everything that you all share today, there's a lot that people can come away with and start doing more than they did yesterday. So thank you, everybody, for your time. And for joining our call. I will be sure to link you know, all of the information that I have about each of you in the episode description so that people can follow up with you if they like. But yeah, are there any ways I mean, I'll probably link like websites, you know, Instagram, emails. Is there anything else that you guys feel like people need to know to get in touch with you or resources you might point them towards?

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I have I have one that I would like to um, she doesn't, you know, run in our circle, but I think she's doing a really great job. Anyone who's in downtown Littleton, we have a lot of customers looking for liquid shampoos and conditioners, which isn't a product that I make. And there is a hair salon here on Nevada and Main called Shear Wisdom, and they carry liquid, you know, or conventional shampoo, conditioner products to refill, and I would love to let everybody know about that place. It's called shear wisdom. Downtown Littleton. They also give a really amazing haircut. Here.

Katie Kurpanek:

Sheer wisdom like sh-e-er,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

e AR like,

Katie Kurpanek:

oh, like ahh I see. Oh, clever!

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

yes. Shear Wisdom. She does a great job. Sadie is the owner.

Katie Kurpanek:

Awesome. Well shout out to Sadie, then I'll definitely have to check out her business and link that in too

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Oh, well, I guess I can say more. They're, they're a sustainable salon. So they recycle 95% of their salon waste. And they hold themselves to some pretty stringent standards and things like that. Just nobody knows about it. Because I keep telling her she needs to put a sign out on the sidewalk that says that they're a zero waste salon, or not zero but you know, 5% waste, which is significant because salons produce a lot of trash.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, absolutely. That is so huge. I'm definitely going to be following up with her. Well, thank you so much for sharing that. Oh, Verity, did you have something?

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

Yeah, actually I have one thing. I recently did a 21 Day Zero Waste Challenge. Which I put together for kind of Nude Foods people. I honestly nearly kind of cancelled it because I thought no one's gonna have signed up and I looked, and 112 people signed up. So I ended up having to run this thing and it's on our website, nude foods market.com still and it was just and people really enjoyed it. It was like one easy thing to do each day for 21 days. So I've left it up there. So if anyone wants to access that they can. That's a that's another potential resource.

Katie Kurpanek:

That's awesome. I'm going to add that into, you know the description right next to your your general website and contact info and everything. That is so cool. Awesome. Well, thank you so much to all of you again. I'm really, really happy to be in this with you and doing this work alongside you. And thank you for the inspiration that you offer every day. I'm just so happy that you joined today.

Verity, Nude Foods Market:

Thanks, Katie.

Unknown:

Thank you again. Thank you

Katie Kurpanek:

I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend and subscribing to the podcast so you never miss a new episode. Check out the description for important links. And if you'd like to benefit from the perks of becoming a patron to the show, check out patreon.com/all things sustainable. Until next time, do the best you can with what you have and remember that you can make a positive impact on this world one day at a time.