“Respect Your Mother” reads the welcome sign outside of Chandler Square’s newest store, Simple Good.
The boutique, founded by Rocky Point resident Melanie Gonzalez, is all about protecting the earth, all while offering sustainable and zero-waste gift items, from clothing to soaps to candles.
Don’t expect a plastic bag after purchasing a good, says Gonzalez, all items are carried out with paper packaging—another way to be more environmentally friendly.
“The carbon footprint of everything in the store is extremely low because it’s locally made and everything is done in an eco-friendly manor,” Gonzalez told GreaterPortJeff.
Simple Good, which opened earlier this month at 35 Chandler Square, prides itself on using biodegradable and compostable resources, as well as being recyclable and reusable.
“We have to stop throwing things out and start reusing things— that’s our main focus,” Gonzalez said. “The second thing we’re trying to do is try to bring back small business and makers.”
The gift items are created around a sustainable ideology with long-lasting intentions. To do so, Simple Good uses the following products:
“The Unpaper Towel“, cotton napkins, burlap sacks of bamboo cutlery, dryer sheet balls, reusable beeswax wrap, cups, napkins, sandwich tins, bags, candles, razors, body and hair products, locally-produced clothing made from sustainable materials, like bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton.
To help benefit the enviorment, Gonzalez also donates 5 percent of her proceeds to to the Sierra Club, a national environmental protection organization.
After buying plastic toys for years for her son, Julian, 9, she noticed the seemingly sturdy toys broke easily. It also left her house covered in plastic packaging.
The frustration with the plastic waste inspired her to leave the corporate world as a vice president of product development for Financial Services Institution, after 17 years, and create a store centered around the zero-waste concept.
She soon created Simple Good, which began as a booth in the Artists and Fleas market in Brooklyn.
The purveyor says the layout of her new store is influenced by the borough’s mindset of environmentalism and minimalism with:
- The shelves lined with locally-produced goods that are made in small batches.
- Wall decor featuring a wave made from hundreds of plastic water bottles, sitting above a shelf of clothing made from plastic water bottles as well.
Each sweatshirt weaves the plastic from 17 water bottles together with organic cotton. The unique prints curated are by the North Shore resident herself who uses water-based ink.
A majority of mass-designed clothing continue to use plastisol ink instead, which is made from plastic and contains toxic chemicals like polyvinyl chloride and is not sustainable or eco-friendly, according to DTLA Print.
“It’s taking them out of the landfill and repurposing them for something else instead of being pollution,” she said.
Since opening, Gonzalez has been in awe with the public’s reaction.
“Things can’t seem to stay on the shelves,” she said, after explaining she had to restock almost entirely restock her entire store already.
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One of the most frequently bought items so far are the baseball hats adorned with the logo “f*ck plastic”.
“People see the zero-waste thing, either they get it or they don’t get it, but thank goodness a lot of people seem to get it,” she said with a laugh.
“We’re trying to move away from disposable things and make things more reusable,” she said. “Buy it once for life, rather than using single use plastic. Our landfills are overfilled, China doesn’t take our plastic anymore, Malaysia doesn’t take our plastic anymore and it’s going into the sea.”
Scroll down to see facts about the impact of plastic on the environment. Scroll even further for photos of the new store.
Global plastic facts:
- 85% of the world’s plastic is not recycled.
- 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
- 6 million tons of single-use plastic gets thrown out each year.
- 300 million tons of plastic is produced each year — to create packaging, utensils, containers, bags, and clothing
- 100 million plastic utensils are used in America in one day.
- They take up to 1,000 years to decompose
To learn more about Simple Good visit them online here.