VENICE, Calif. — Filling up a glass bottle with laundry soap will save a plastic bottle of laundry detergent from ending up in a landfill or in our waters. For Recontained founder Tonia Soteros, this is how people do their part.
“There’s so many people on this planet, if everybody just made one small choice, imagine the impact that would have," said Soteros.
Soteros was inspired to create her zero-waste shop ten years ago after reading a staggering statistic related to the amount of plastic that humans were using.
“If every single person in America stopped using body wash, it would save 2.5-million pounds of plastic going into the landfill every year, and I was just so blown away by that number," said Soteros.
Human consumption of plastics has caused a crisis that continues to impact our oceans and marine life. A November report from ocean conservation group Oceana estimates that two garbage trucks’ worth of plastic enter the ocean every minute, affecting marine animals at all life stages.
So Recontained is trying to be part of the solution, by offering their customers sustainable choices.
“Once you start seeing what your impact is, it’s a rabbit hole. You can really go down the rabbit hole and start to realize much we throw away every single day", said Soteros.
Her refill bar has products that span from cleaning items to body and skincare, and even loose-leaf tea. Customer Nadia Jackson came in for her refill and to try a facial moisturizer.
“Since it is getting colder, I do want something that’s a little bit more moisturizing," said Jackson. So Soteros gives her a sample which leads Nadia to purchase.
The refill bar experience is also unique. Soteros fills up the reusable jar, and then weighs it out on her scale. Jackson will leave with her goods in a reusable bag, and this shopping lifestyle leaves her with a sense of pride.
“I feel a certain level of accomplishment that what I’m doing is actually making a change even if I’m a singular person," said Jackson.
Surrounding the store, customers can find tools to help live a more zero-waste life - like reusable flatware, bags, and straws - items that commonly end up in the ocean. While Soteros claims she’s not an expert, she’s dedicated to helping the planet.
“I’m just a passionate consumer who decided to make a choice that I could bring this option to other people," she said.