GUEST BLOGGER: Among her many talents, Lara runs an online second-hand store in which she has begun to explore more eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious options besides reusing items. For more information on the store, Onopshop Boutique, or to get in touch with Lara Wyatt, visit Onopshop or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Lara's regular blog, visit Similara
If you don’t know by now that plastic is terrible for the environment, then you’ve been living under a rock. But if that rock is anywhere close to a beach, surely you would have witnessed the effects that plastic has. Bottle caps would have washed up onto the sand, six-pack plastic beer holders would have appeared, along with a raft of other single-use items damaging the environment and killing the birds and the marine life who call the beach their home.
As the creator of Onopshop Boutique, during my first couple of years grappling at creating a start-up on a university wage and then transitioning into fitting it in around a full-time job, my company decisions tended to be made purely on cost and ease. This meant I was ordering free plastic courier bags (that can only be used once) to send out all my parcels in. That’s a ton of plastic being couriered to me, in their own plastic bag, that was being unnecessarily added to the country’s landfill. I decided I needed to make a change. So I changed my entire business motto and we’re currently unrolling plenty of changes to help us become more environmentally friendly.
Onopshop is all about sustainability. We sell pre-loved and handmade items, and use recycled materials for the majority of our creations. The idea behind selling pre-loved items is that just because someone may outgrow an item of clothing, either in size or in terms of the style they like to wear, it doesn’t mean that this item needs to just go in the bin. According to the Ministry of Environment, around 100 million kilograms of textiles are thrown out in New Zealand every single year. When I hear that I think about all of the potential things I could create using that fabric and give a second life to instead of just tossing it on the pile and contributing to such an environmentally unfriendly process. The idea of re-loving and repurposing is what Onopshop is all about, and we’re aiming to avoid contributing to the population’s waste in doing this.
What we still struggle with is postage. As I mentioned earlier, we were stuck in the rut of using cheap and easy plastic packaging as this is what our courier provides to us and the service is just so stress-free and reliable that we were hesitant to change anything. However, we did a little bit of research and it turns out our courier service will be completely uninterrupted if we use our own packaging! So once our supply of plastic courier bags runs out, we’ll be switching from plastic packaging to brown paper packaging that, if you unpackage it carefully, could be used to wrap someone else’s gift or package! Once we make this transition we’ll be on the hunt for the next eco-friendly process to implement into our growing business. Who knows — maybe there will be a wind turbine / solar power–run Onopshop in a shopping complex near you in the future!