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(Image: Courtesy of Scoop Marketplace)

Start your zero waste shopping journey with Kirkland-based Scoop Marketplace

You've heard of zero waste shopping, but you might be intimidated to try it. Zero-waste, really? It might sound too complicated and time-consuming.

And yet, you have a growing understanding that we all need to lower our waste production for a sustainable future for our planet. You know that you have a role to play but aren't sure where to begin.

Lucky for you, Scoop Marketplace is a Kirkland-based resource and store available to help you learn about and take steps towards zero/low-waste living.

Founder and CEO Stephanie Lentz opened Scoop in 2018 in order to "revive [not using disposable packaging] from generations past, but in a way that is convenient and efficient enough to meet the demands of our modern culture."

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Scoop is filled with zero/low-waste products including bulk beans, grains, spices, cleaning products, toiletries and other kitchen/home goods.

Lentz encourages people who aren't sure where to begin to pay attention to their waste production habits and then start by changing the way you consume just one item. For example, if you notice that you have a mountain of disposable coffee cups in your garbage, replace this habit with a reusable coffee tumbler that brings you joy when you use it (because you chose a beautiful tumbler, and you are now saving all of those disposable cups from the landfill).

Lentz said if consumers are really "extreme and go zero waste overnight and give up disposable things and [make themselves feel guilty], how long is that going to last?" — focus on taking small steps instead of revolutionizing your habits overnight.

Here are a few benefits of shopping zero/low-waste at stores like Scoop:

  • REUSABLE CONTAINERS: Instead of shopping at the conventional grocery store and using plastic bags to fill up at the bulk section, or blocking up the check-out line if you try to bring your own reusable containers (because the cashier and system aren't suited to processing these items at check out), Scoop customers bring their own clean, dry reusable containers to fill with products.
  • QUANTITY CONTROL: Trying out a new recipe and need a teaspoon of a spice you've never heard of before? Curious to try millet or mung beans? Want to test out coconut oil in your cooking? The beauty of bulk shopping is that you can get however much or little of each product instead of purchasing a set quantity (and then having it go to waste if you don't like it).
  • RESEARCH: If your values align with Scoop's values (low-waste, ethically-produced products), you can trust that you're shopping your values at Scoop. Lentz said that before opening Scoop, she would often stop in the aisles of the conventional grocery store to look up product information. At Scoop, you don't have to wonder about the values surrounding the products you're buying — Scoop has researched for you.

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Instead of looking at zero/low-waste shopping as sacrificial, Lentz focuses on teaching others "how they can improve the quality of their lives while walking more gently on the planet." This is a great concept — perhaps one for you to consider as we enter the New Year.

As Scoop continues to grow, Lentz's vision is for it is to become a one-stop-shop for zero/low-waste living by expanding product offerings. She also hopes to expand to other locations as she continues to champion zero/low-waste living for our community.

So grab your clean, dry reusable containers (any will do – they don't have to be fancy or Pinterest-worthy), and check out Scoop today! Here are some next steps to get you started:

  • Visit the website and explore products you'd like to check out.
  • Check out Lentz's podcast on sustainable living, "Green Stuff."
  • Learn how to open your own Zero Waste Store through Lentz's course.