SEATTLE — The massive amount of plastic polluting our oceans is inspiring people to find alternatives.
"It is killing the environment, it is killing the oceans. It's unnecessary,” said Jolene Dobson, owner of an innovative new store in West Seattle. Her personal environmental epiphany, however, was triggered by something smaller.
“I don't know if I'm allowed to say this but the minute I saw Lunchables in the grocery store I'm like, it's over."
In 2018 Jolene Dobson opened a store of her own to fight disposable culture: Public Goods and Services. This small store offers goods that come plastic-free, and helps shoppers reduce, re-use and refill by providing alternatives to goods that usually come packed in plastic.
Like bars of dish soap instead of plastic bottles. Laundry detergent without the plastic and pods.
Shampoos, conditioners, even hair gel in bulk.
And toothpaste without the tube. Instead, you purchase it in bulk and use it by brushing your toothbrush into a small glass container of the stuff (it contains colloidal silver to prevent bacterial growth).
"I wanted to introduce people to alternatives to single-use disposable products. I want to make it accessible and achievable to everybody,” said Jolene.
Customers bring their own packaging or upcycle free containers from a donation bin. They can also buy reusable glass bottles, a popular choice since the simple label-free containers are also beautiful in a minimalist way.
This store's Home Goods section earned a mention in Bon Appetit for its selection of reusable, biodegradable replacements for plastics we throw away every. Bestsellers include cotton produce bags that keep lettuce fresh, and wraps made of cloth and beeswax:
"You would use it the same way you'd use like plastic cling wrap,” Jolene explains. The cloths can also be folded into re-useable snack bags to replace the plastic Ziploc bags.
Jolene's advice if you want to go zero waste? Change one habit. Start small.
And she hopes shops like hers might be the start of something big
"In the future, I would definitely would love to see one of these on every street corner. I always say to people this should be like the bodegas of New York, you know? And that's really what I hear from a lot of the customers."
Public Goods and Services | 3836 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116