Creating a sustainable future has become a mainstream conversation as discussions of combatting climate change have skyrocketed leading up to the 2020 presidential election. Common phrases include carbon-neutral and product lifecycle, but do you really understand why using a bamboo toothbrush, rather than plastic, makes a difference?
Adria Hall and Jamie Fairman are here to help. The duo opened a sustainable goods and refillery shop named Koko at 318 W. Fourth St. this month with the goal of making sustainability an option for everyone. (Next door, at 320 W. Fourth, the business partners debuted Koko’s sister shop, Forage, which offers houseplants and planters. The downtown shops are connected, so customers can easily browse products from both under one roof.) Koko is a Finnish word meaning full. It’s a nod to Fairman’s heritage and the shop’s refillery offerings. The cofounders’ main goals? Sell products that don’t sacrifice quality, help customers find changes that work for them, and educate the public on the various sustainable options available.
“There is a need and a want for this in the marketplace,” Hall says. “We want to help people as they start to consider the impacts of their purchases.” When the sustainable option becomes the convenient option, people are more likely to incorporate sustainability into their daily routines, she adds.
Deciding which sustainability efforts to incorporate into your lifestyle can be overwhelming at first, but Hall and Fairman say there’s no reason to stress. There is no “one-size-fits-all” journey to living a more sustainable life, Hall says. She suggests starting small, recalling that her journey began with a simple self-examination of her wasteful habits. She worked to understand which of the products in her home were single-use products and how she could start reusing products to lengthen their lifespan. Then she started to make simple changes.
Enter the bamboo toothbrush. Oral care products are often overlooked, but the plastic toothbrushes your dentist gives you are practically impossible to recycle. While switching to a bamboo toothbrush is only one example, there are various small changes you can make to reduce your waste. At Koko, you can ditch plastic wrap for beeswax wrap, paper towels for dishcloths, plastic snack and sandwich bags for reusable silicon bags—the list goes on.
The shop sells everything from reusable Q-tip swabs and all-natural dry shampoo powder to five-ingredient laundry soap and compost bins. The best part? The cofounders tested each product before adding them to their inventory. Plus, the shop’s refillery allows customers to fill and refill products for their home, face and body, hair, and laundry, which means you can say goodbye to all those the plastic bottles that hold your shampoo, detergent, deodorant, and cleaning products. Talk about convenience!
Koko, 318 W. Fourth St., Downtown