SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — A woman in Orange County started a business out of a frustration she encountered during the pandemic while picking up groceries. The self-described eco-entrepreneur started a business that helps fill pantries without the plastic.
Colleen Henn said she’s been living a zero-waste lifestyle for about a decade now. Living it even when she’s surfing.
“A lot of that time is also spent picking up plastics,” Henn said.
Outside the ocean, Henn has helped pass local, county and statewide laws on the East Coast to ban single use plastics during her time with the Surfrider Foundation in eastern Long Island. After moving to San Clemente, Henn said she made more moves to cut plastic from her weekly routines, including grocery shopping. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
“All of the bulk bins were prepackaged in plastic,” Henn said. “So that zero-waste shopping experience wasn’t available.”
She searched online for plastic-free pantry goods, like rice, beans, quinoa, nuts and more, but said she couldn’t find much. So she decided to do something about it and found her own solution to her plastic-free pantry predicament. She started a business offering pantry staples without the plastic packaging called All Good Goods.
“My whole life whenever I’ve been feeling down, I always say, ‘It’s all good.’ so I thought, why not turn that into a business,” Henn said.
Customers like Sodavy Ou, who lives in San Clemente, pick out their pantry goods online and it arrives in reusable glass mason jars or biodegradable bags. Refills then arrive in biodegradable bags.
“I got tired of going to the grocery store and coming back with so many plastic packaging that just ends up in the waste, anyway,” Ou said.
And that’s what led Ou to All Good Goods for an earth-conscious way to grocery shop.
“So, when you eat it, you actually don’t feel guilty,” Ou said, laughing. “You feel good and it tastes good, too.”
Henn said she hopes to offer people a way to help cut plastic while shopping for things they already need.
“I believe there’s way too much pressure for consumers to do the right thing, but not enough options,” Henn added.
From a shared kitchen space in San Marco, Henn does nearly everything from filling the jars and bags, adding a handwritten note and sealing the boxes to get them ready to ship. Everything down to the gloves she uses to the stickers and labels are all earth-friendly. Henn said the biodegradable bags can be buried and they will be gone in a few weeks.
“I’d say we’ve helped prevent about 1,000 single use plastic food bags from entering the landfill,” Henn said.
So far, Henn said All Good Goods has shipped to nearly every state in the country.