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New low-waste business aims to help Hoosiers cut down on trash

Owners of The Sustainery are working to educate the community about zero-waste living by offering more sustainable products for daily use.

INDIANAPOLIS — Earth Day is coming to a close, but the negative impact humans are making to the world continues on. 

Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into oceans. That's the equivalent of setting five full garbage bags on every foot of coastline around the world - and things are only projected to get worse. 

Half of all plastics ever made were produced in the last 15 years and production is increasing exponentially, likely to double by 2050. 

But there are steps Hoosiers can take at home and at the store to minimize the impact they're having. 

Owners of The Sustainery, a new low-waste business in Indianapolis, Lacey Brown and Heather Nally are working to educate the community about zero-waste living by offering more sustainable products for daily use. 

Inside The Amp at 16 Tech on Friday afternoon, Brown and Nally greet customers stopping by at the pop-up market, telling them about how to cut back on single-use products by making simple changes. 

Credit: WTHR

"Rather than buying them in single-use plastic over and over, you buy a glass container that's refillable so nothing ends up in a landfill," Brown said. 

They launched their low-waste business at the end of February, hoping to help Hoosiers cut down on the single-use products and trash they toss out.

"We were shopping around in Heather's hometown of Evansville and stumbled into a refillery and thought, 'Indy needs this,'" Brown said. 

According to the EPA, Americans throw out, on average, more than four pounds of trash a day. Much of that comes from single-use items, especially plastic. While some items can be recycled, much of what we toss out cannot, quickly filling up landfills instead.

RELATED: Starting Friday, Starbucks will offer incentives for using reusable cups in an effort to reduce waste

That's why Heather and Lacey are hoping to help Indy residents cut down.

"If your tub is overflowing, you don't run and get the mop, you turn off the tap. And I think that's kind of what a refillery does in a stream of trash, just kind of cut it off at the source so it never ends up in the landfill," Brown said. 

Credit: WTHR

So they're offering sustainable versions of those everyday items you're already using, from laundry detergent to lotion.

"These are just wool balls, you throw them in the dryer. They separate your clothes so they actually dry faster," Brown said. 

RELATED: No, recycling symbols on plastics do not mean an item can always be recycled

Meeting customers at pop-up markets like this one, or through home deliveries dropping off orders, they're already seeing people making the sustainable switch.

"It's been really exciting, we're really glad Indy's having such a positive response," Brown said. 

For people ready to cut down on how much they toss out, go slowly. 

"Just take it one step at a time," Brown said. "Maybe do what's called a 'trash audit,' see what you're throwing away most often and start with that product."

They're hopeful that by accessing low-waste items more easily, they can help Indy start cutting back on waste.

For more information, follow The Sustainery on their website

Local recycling drop off points

According to Indianapolis officials, recyclable items can be dropped off free of charge at a number of Marion County locations.

They will accept all glass, #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs, aluminum, tin, and steel beverage and food cans as well as newspapers, cardboard, paper and magazines

They will not accept plastic bags or styrofoam items. 

You can learn more here.

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