On April 25, 2014 the City of Austin launched its 'Shop Zero Waste' campaign. The initiative is part of the city's Zero Waste Plan and encourages shoppers to patronize local businesses that sell and/or rent recycled, reused or upcycled items and services. The city hopes that shoppers will give consideration to how we purchase, utilize and dispose of things we use everyday.
By promoting this approach to shopping we can help sustain and promote our local economy, reduce landfill waste and conserve the energy required to make new items.
The campaign has created three categories of businesses: (re)Share, (re)Made and (re)Pair and has a listing of over one hundred participating vendors on their website Locally Austin. This website is part of a city program to encourage small business development.
The (re)Made designation includes companies and organizations that make or sell items made from recycled, upcycled or reused items. Currently there are forty businesses included in this category on the website. Some of them include:
- Open Arms at 200 E. 8th Street. They employ refugee women who make clothing from recycled and American made materials.
- My Kid Essentials which is a baby and child resale business.
- Flashback at 1906 S. 1st Street. The store sells vintage clothing.
The (re)Pair designation includes sixty six businesses with the following samples:
- South First Performance Automotive which specializes in vegetable oil conversions.
- ITC at 5555 N. Lamar. They provide computer repair.
- Blanchard's Upholstery at 3205 FM 620 N. They will reupholster your furniture and make it look like new.
The final category, (re)Share, lists sixteen businesses on the website. Some of these vendors include:
- Toybrary Austin at 7817 Rockwood Lane. This is a membership organization that allows you to borrow children's toys.
- Venus Envy at 1810 W. Anderson Lane. This is a consignment shop that specializes in costumes.
- Rocket Electrics provides electric bike rentals.
Of course, shoppers are not limited to the businesses listed on the Locally Austin website. There are, undoubtedly, many more places in Austin that provide the types of items and services that would be considered zero waste shopping. Your local library is a perfect example as are consignment shops and even neighborhood bartering.
Be creative and discover your own approach to 'Shop Zero Waste'!