Hi! Maybe you can relate to this...It all started with looking at my recycling bin, seeing a lot of plastic in there, and thinking I was doing a great job of being eco-friendly.
But I learned that filling your recycling bin with plastic is really not the end of the story.
Very little plastic actually gets recycled, and can only be recycled once or twice anyway. Incineration creates air pollution, plus contaminated ash. And landfills, already too big, lead to leaching of toxins and microplastics into the soil and water.
So, like many people, I wondered: Well, where does that leave us?
Reducing and eliminating.
And being a conscious consumer, so that we pay attention to who makes it and how it gets to us. The exploitation of workers is something we enable every time we buy cheap goods from unknown sources.
Cutting your plastic and waste is not a solution, let’s be real about the magnitude of the problem. But let’s also just start somewhere.
I think what that looks like is this: Cut your waste, and buy from ethically sourced businesses.
If whole communities drastically cut their waste and only support responsible companies, not only does it start to add up in physical tons of waste, but it changes industry demand, changes local economies, and changes political will.
That is when the big changes can happen! So let’s start, together, with the first steps.
We hoped that by starting Center Goods, we could make a difference by helping people get great products, made by great people, in one convenient place, without having to do all the research themselves - and by supporting small businesses, while cutting the carbon emissions involved with small deliveries from multiple businesses.
For me, this is a personal journey, and I hope it becomes a personal journey for you too. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about taking the steps that you can take.
I started with laundry detergent. In my recycling bin, the biggest container was usually the plastic laundry jug. So I switched to powdered, plastic-free detergent. Now, I’ll never buy or dispose of another plastic laundry jug!
(Here's a little on why I don't buy or sell laundry sheets or pods: Made Safe.org)
Then came toothbrushes and toothpaste. I switched to bamboo toothbrushes (after careful research, I believe these are the best toothbrushes!) and toothpaste in a glass jar. Now, I’ll never buy or dispose of another plastic toothbrush or plastic toothpaste tube!
Then came dish soap and sponges and paper towels and deodorant and lip balm and shampoo… You get the idea.
Now here’s a little bit of hard truth: Sometimes these products are not as convenient, don’t work the same way, cost more, don’t smell or taste like conventional products. And sometimes you have to try several different kinds to find one that works for you.
I think it’s worth it! And I hope you will too! I’ve happily made the transition so completely to some plastic-free and zero waste goods, that I get excited when I think about all of the waste I won’t be generating over time.
Imagine the waste that won't be generated if whole communities switch to plastic-free goods!
Is there more to do? Of course! But again, start somewhere and build on that.
This is, of course, a privileged position. I know that. So if you can, please do. If you can’t, you have enough to worry about, don’t feel guilty. And if there are products you see here that you’d like to try, but you can’t afford it, please send me an email.
What we’ve tried to do at Center Goods is offer great products for you to try, that come from makers you can trust, and a supply chain that makes a difference in workers’ lives as well as the planet.
Please take a look at our collection, come visit us at 30 Waltham St, Lexington, and feel free to get in touch with questions, feedback, or product suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also support organizations doing important work, because if we all work together, we can make great things happen.
Erica Bouchard Rabins (she/her)
Acknowledged as Massachusett and Pawtucket Land