What does "closed loop" mean? How does it relate to sustainability and the world we envision living in? You may have heard of it or its cousin term, circular economy. At The Waste less Shop, we're striving to operate according to these systems that are essential for ensuring our current and future generations have the ability to thrive symbiotically with the Earth around us.
A closed loop or circular economy means that all goods, products, their packaging and their byproducts are, at the end of their life, composted, recycled, or upcycled into new ones. It means that we work in harmony with nature and our fellow communities by sourcing materials sustainability and ethically, prioritizing low carbon, low waste, and regenerative practices that nourish both the planet and people on it.
Right now, we operate on the linear economy, where we dump waste and used products into landfills, and a good portion of our waste ends up in the ocean. Our collective consumption and trash habits have lead to higher methane emissions which worsen climate change, environmental injustices where communities live and play right near the places we dump our trash, and microplastic pollution in the ocean, killing marine life and ending up in our systems as we consume seafood. These are just a few of the issues that result from our current waste habits.
So, the major underlying principle of a circular economy means we change the ways in which we live. We begin to question: do I really need this? How was this made? How was the environment impacted by this? What about the people who made it? From there, we can make decisions that close the loop. Unfortunately, some sustainable options are often inaccessible to low-income communities, so the systems we have in place to live more sustainably have a lot of room for improvement. We're trying our best to use this knowledge in our business operations and ensure that our practices reflect all that we stand for as a team.
Here's how we’re striving for closed loop shopping at The Waste Less Shop:
- Current closed loop solutions:
- Our Candles, once used, can be returned to the shop for a $1 credit and the jars will be cleaned and refilled by the makers
- Sierra Roots Wellness containers can be returned for a $1 credit and the containers will be cleaned and refilled.
- You can return any unused jars purchased from us for a $1 credit
- Verdant Wild now accepts returns of their containers!
- Many of our products are partially or fully compostable (Plant-Based Loofah, Soap Pouches, Bamboo Cotton Buds, Bai-li Deodorant container, and more - check product descriptions for information on each)
- Our jar donation section so you can opt-out of buying a new jar
- Wands for Wildlife - we are now collecting clean, used mascara wands through Wands for Wildlife! This program repurposes used mascara wands to help remove insect eggs from wildlife fur in the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. Our collection site in-shop is located next to our Terracycle bin!
- Simply Sooney jars can be refilled or re-purposed
- Davids toothpaste tubes can be recycled (follow instructions on their website here)
- In need of a compost bin or a bin for storage? We’re looking to repurpose our 5 gallon buckets! Call to see if we have any empty ones available.
- Refill labels (stickers) are curbside recyclable.