I really haven’t been able to make any refill option (aka bulk shopping) purchases since COVID-19 impacted us in March. Most refill stores either closed or made drastic changes in response to COVID. BUT that isn’t the reason why I haven’t been able to get refills for most of my pantry needs – store access is to blame.
You see my favorite refill locations are about 1.5 hours away via public transportation (remember I don’t have a car). Prior to March, I would make the monthly trips to stock up on items like flour, beans, detergent, and other low-waste living needs. Since March, I’ve only really needed our low-waste toiletries, dish soap, and detergent which I bought directly from the companies or via online zero-waste retailers. Fortunately, while in Kentucky, I had access to a natural store that retails Kentucky ground flour in sustainable packaging so I stocked up on some. BUT now I’m back in Bronx and almost out of basic bulk pantry needs like sugar and oats. Even though I don’t want to I am fine buying some items non-bulk versus taking the long trek and potential risk to just get sugar. Before people even say anything – I don’t have the option of getting the items delivered because the refill locations are in another borough.
This limited access is just another reason why our current concept of sustainable living is a privilege. It shouldn’t be that only folks that live in a certain location or folks with a certain amount of money can decrease our world’s plastic usage and landfill waste. I’m personally ready to do what is needed to change the role of cost and accessibility – starting within my own borough. Starting today, I’m taking the needed steps to open an educational and refill location in the Bronx. Phase I will be focused on hosting pop-up style events that will include an educational aspect and provide participants with basic low-waste/plastic-free items for free or at a reasonable cost.
Naturally, an endeavor like this requires money. Gratefully, I’m still working and intend to utilize some of my own funds, but will also reach out to potential investors to help with the endeavor. First key things to do are becoming an official Bronx-based business, and developing a business plan for potential investors to review.
You can track my progress and if so desire support this endeavor with a ‘coffee’ purchase via my KoFi page.