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About Us

REDUCE. REUSE. REFILL.

Without Waste Shop makes zero and low-waste living accessible by bringing reusable and refillable options to our community. We are a small part of the growing effort to create a more circular economy.

 

MEET THE FOUNDERS 

Hello! We’re Charlotte and Darby. Right after graduating high school in Maryland, we packed our bags and moved to California in pursuit of sunshine and beaches. We quickly fell in love with the West Coast’s cold water and unparalleled landscapes.

When we started surfing and participating in beach cleanups with the Surfrider Foundation, the reality of a plastic pollution crisis became abundantly obvious. We made efforts to reduce trash in our own lives, by shopping at the farmers’ markets and in the bulk section, but quickly realized that low-waste options for home and body products were few and far between.

We started Without Waste Shop to satisfy our own desire for an accessible refill station that sells products with only whole, non toxic ingredients. But the shop has also become a source of reciprocal inspiration between us and our customers. The best part of this endeavor has been meeting so many people with a shared enthusiasm for our amazing planet.

WHY ZERO WASTE? 

You’ll see a lot of different definitions of zero waste thrown around the internet. To some, it means saying ‘no’ to all forms of plastic while to others, it means producing no more than a mason-jar worth of trash in a year. 

The ultimate goal of zero waste is to create a world that is clean and liveable for all creatures on it. We can do this by shifting from our current linear economy ( take -> make -> use -> waste) to a more sustainable, circular economy where “waste” is just a part of the circulating resource pool. 

Because this is a pretty big - and kinda overwhelming goal - we like to think of zero waste as a philosophy. Zero waste as a philosophy gives us a why. Why do we want to work for a cleaner world? It could be your kids, or because you’d rather collect seashells than trash at the beach.

Whatever your why is, it will encourage and guide your personal decisions to those that are more sustainable, even if they aren’t perfect. Producing literally zero waste isn’t realistic, which is why we focus on sustainable solutions to sustainability. We don’t want to burn out!

WHY GO PLASTIC FREE?

Those who practice zero waste tend to focus on plastic, and for a good reason. All of the plastic that we've ever made still exists, because plastic takes between 500 and 1,000 years to biodegrade. And that's A LOT of plastic; over 9 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950. 

Plastic doesn’t biodegrade within a meaningful timeframe, but it does break down into tiny little pieces that we call microplastics. Microplastics have infiltrated nearly every corner of the planet, and they can even find their ways into our bodies. A lot of this plastic leaches endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA and pthalates.

While some plastic can be recycled, 91% of it will end up in landfills - or worse - in our natural spaces. And unlike metal and glass, plastic polymers lose their strength with every run through a recycling facility, meaning that plastic cannot be recycled indefinitely.

The production of plastic is an issue in itself. Extracting crude oil - a key ingredient in plastic - exerts CO2 and methane. When oil extraction is done by means of fracking, it pollutes groundwater and disproportionately affects poor communities. 

There are good uses for plastic, for example, in hospitals and to help disabled people. But in general, plastic is drastically overused and overconsumed. This fact is more the fault of large corporations and manufacturers than on individuals. However, we can put pressure on these entities to cut back on plastic by cutting back ourselves.