Can I just say I LOVE San Francisco! We are such a progressive city and I feel so fortunate to live here! Just this past weekend the first annual Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday Market was hosted at Fort Mason in the old firehouse. This event featured 20+ local vendors selling eco friendly gifts and items to help reduce your own plastic usage. I arrived shortly after it opened at 10am and this place was jam packed with vendors and people shopping + learning. What an engaged, inquisitive group of consumers! It was so exciting for me to see the magnitude of interest this small event generated and I truly believe that next year it can easily be double, if not triple in size. The momentum around people wanting solutions to become more plastic free is becoming palpable and I hope this is not just in my lovely little bubble that is San Francisco. I hope all people are doing their part to reduce their plastic usage in little and big areas where they can. I will share with you some of the great vendors I chatted with and what I was most intrigued by.
First, as you head out to shop for your friends and family for the holidays, I thought I would provide some quick gift giving tips. I mean do we really need more stuff? The best gifts to give are experiences such as a dinner, a show, a massage or something that individual would truly enjoy experiencing. Alternatively, you could give a gift of a donation to an organization that they support and love (Hint: for me that would be a donation to 5 Gyres Institute 😉 Link: 5 Gyres Kindful donation page)
If you opt to give a gift, make sure it is truly meaningful and will be used. Rather than buying a bunch of little gifts, opt for something of high quality which will stand the test of time. Better yet, see if the gift can be something that is sustainable and better for the environment. Maybe the item is from a B Corp company. What is a B Corp? I am lucky enough to work for Method Products (you know our tear drop hand wash bottle made from recycled plastic) and they are also a B Corp. B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. A few great B Corps for great gift giving are:
- Klean Kanteen– reusable food and beverage containers
- Patagonia– Apparel
- Athleta– Athletic apparel
- Big Truck – Hats and apparel
- Bombas– Awesome socks + apparel
- ChicoBag– Reusable bags, bottles, utensils
- Raven + Lily– Fair trade fashion, jewelry + home goods. I love the super affordable leaf earrings ($28- $32) along with many other unique items on this website!
Now on to the first annual Zero Waste and Plastic Free Holiday Market. There were so many amazing vendors at this event on Saturday I won’t be able to touch on all of them but will leave for you the list of all vendors at the bottom of this post. The event was organized by Goods Holding Company and fillgood.co, two Zero Waste and Plastic Free companies in the Bay Area that are aimed at helping individuals and companies live more plastic free lifestyles.
Goods Holding Company was the reason I attended. I had seen their products that offer a simple solution to plastic free shopping in the bulk bin section of the stores. I had no idea that one of the founders also works for 5 Gyres Institute who I am an ambassador for and thrilled to support her local business. I went to the event to specifically purchase the The Goods Kit. This kit includes two 32 fl oz jars, two 16 fl oz jars, blue grease pencil, and 100% organic cotton carrying bag. Each jar has the “Tare Weight” printed on the jar. I am relatively new to bulk shopping. It can be a little intimidating at first so here are a few tips. I started with the mesh + cloth bags. In that case you just want to write down the PLU# (Price Look Up #) which is located on the bulk bin on a twist tie. They use that number to look up the item at check out for the cost per pound. My cloth bags also have a tare weight on them on the little side label. The actual cost you should pay is the difference in the weight of the total bag or bottle with product less the tare weight of the container. The bottles are convenient as you can just use the grease pencil and write the PLU # on the lid along with the tare weight already on the bottle. The jars are great for liquids + powders. Mesh bags are great for your produce. And the cloth bags I use for things like nuts, Granola and some powder items.
Another table I stopped by was Fillgood.co. They have built a unique refill service model for home and body products for those that live in the San Francisco Bay Area. They also offer up a variety of other carefully curated items that are eco-friendly. There are a lot of options out there and they have a great assortment of offerings, many of which I already have in my home and will share on future blogs.
I had a couple other favorites of the day. The Hay Straw was definitely something I just got a kick out of and I hope to see these in all bars and restaurants instead of plastic straws in the near future. As of July 1, 2019 plastic straws will be banned in San Francisco. Bravo! The Hay Straw is a great alternative and I picked up a box for an upcoming holiday party I am hosting where we will largely use items we can wash or leverage compostable as needed. I tried the Hay Straw in a drink and of all the non-plastic straw options, this felt and worked very similar to the plastic straws but did float a little more. I think that is a minor sacrifice in the whole scheme of things.
Affiliate Link: Hay Straw
Sustainability Concierge! What a brilliant idea! Trying to figure out where to start, what to do, how to reduce your plastic usage in your home is overwhelming and can be a long journey. I have been working my way through it room by room and item by item. Friday Apaliski worked at San Francisco’s Department of the Environment for 6 years and provides a wealth of knowledge from her background. She will take the guess work out of trying to go green by creating your own personal guide to a greener home. She offers a 1 hour “Go Green Session” for $120 which I am totally interested in checking out to report back. Alternatively you can do a full “Holistic Home” session for $500 which is more comprehensive. Check her out at:
Ecolunchbox was another great vendor who offers stainless steel lunch boxes and food storage that are 100% plastic free, ocean friendly and nontoxic. I loved the Seal Cup Fivesome set which has 5 bowls that nest for space saving or can be stacked. The bowls are made from steel and the lids are made from silicone. I loved these but we are already stocked up with glass bowls.
Last, I visited Albatross Safety Razors. Are you ready to ditch your disposable razor? I am definitely nervous about this one but after talking to the representative and other friends who have been using the safety razor, I am all in. Ladies this is not just for the men in your life so give one for that special guy and one for yourself this holiday season. I will take it very slow with small strokes to ensure I don’t cut myself. Ultimately this is a greener, cheaper and and better for the world shaving experience. And it makes me a little nostalgic to the days of watching my grandpa shave with his steel razor. I say let’s bring them back! So let’s “Shave the world from plastic!”
Vendors From the Zero Waste + Plastic Free Market (Alphabetical Order)
Carol Neilson Ceramic
GDS Cloth Goods
Goods Holding Company
Look it Maman
Peek A Green
Samudra Skin Sea
*disclosure: Some links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.