As the zero-waste movement is steadily gaining momentum, there are a bunch of major grocery stores and zero-waste pop-up shops offering bulk buying options to skip unnecessary use of plastic packaging. But not every city can benefit from such alternatives.
Portland, Oregon, is one example of a city that has been lacking such shops. That is, up until two friends came up with the idea of starting Utility Refill and Reuse — Portland’s first zero-waste pop-up shop, which is dedicated to promoting the ever-growing concept of zero-waste.
With no business-background whatsoever, Rebecca Rottman and Nadine Appenbrink started the shop as a personal journey, looking for a way to provide the green-minded city of Portland with an option to buy waste-free.
Like similar low-waste companies, Utility’s mission is to reduce the amount of single-use plastic at the individual level by allowing and encouraging consumers to bring their own containers when purchasing personal and home care products in bulk.
The low-waste company operates as a pop-up retailer and refill shop. Nearly every weekend, Rottman and Appenbrink team up with local businesses to sell their bulk personal and home care products, reusable containers, and refill products for new and returning customers. The products range from an all-natural laundry powder to a dish soap bar to house-made deodorant to a lint brush made out of beechwood and rubber.
Utility’s hope is if enough people can reduce single-use disposable plastics at the grassroots level, they can disrupt the problem at its source, making wasteful consumerism a thing of the past.