I was six months pregnant when I decided to open a plastic-free shop in Harare. Our vision: to promote environmental awareness and offer plastic free alternatives. Our mission: to reduce waste pollution in the environment by using plastic free and sustainable solutions, had been a personal passion for many years prior. Now was the time to introduce my passion to Zimbabwe!
My husband and I started the small, intimate shop known as Waste Me Not; for short we call it WMN. At the time of opening it was not clear on how the concept would be received, which is why we started a small outlet. Our mindset was: we didn’t need to go big to be seen or heard. We used social media and word of mouth to advertise our grand opening because we didn’t want to generate unnecessary paper waste.
Our doors opened September 4, 2018. We were delighted to see so many positive and interested faces at the shop. Since then our business has been word of mouth and social media.
Being eco-friendly is easier said than done. Most of us have heard the term but what does it really mean? And how can we really be, as they say “eco-friendly”? This was another driving factor for launching WMN. We wanted to make people understand that you don’t have to immediately change everything in your life to become a person who cares about the environment. Our smaller collective actions will have more meaningful long term benefits. This is how WMN gained its mission’s momentum: being a place for people from all walks of life wanting to make any changes to their current lifestyle to become “eco-friendly”.
After we opened we found that many people are unaware of the detrimental environmental effect of single use plastics. Our customers are looking for alternatives and wanting to learn more; so many of us don’t realize how much we all contribute to this global problem. By offering some fantastic plastic-free alternatives such as products made from bamboo, sugarcane, cornstarch and other sustainable options, people can see what substitutions for plastic are available and what actions can be taken at home to reduce our plastic waste footprints.
“It’s just ONE straw, said 8 billion people…”
This saying refers to any single use plastic item. On a cumulative scale our individual waste becomes a massive problem. We learned that Zimbabweans were keen to try new products and start making some lifestyle and mindset changes.
WMN strives to combine traditional, natural, reusable, sustainable, modern and useful plastic-free products under one roof. As part of our initiative to becoming a leader in waste-free and plastic-free packaging and products we encourage our customers to use our refill stations which include spices, flours, coffees, teas and cleaning products. Bring your jars for filling! We also offer sustainable and reusable everyday necessities like straws, menstrual hygiene replacements, biodegradable scrub pads and more.
Our shop is small. It’s quirky; it’s original and it’s the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. It’s a shop full of passion and desire to spread the word about making sustainable choices in life. When you enter WMN we want you to come into the reality of how serious our contribution of waste is to the environmental pollution problem. Continual documentaries featured on our mounted shop television offer the sad reminder of how plastic has become such a threat to life as we know it. The connection of what we use, how we use it, when we use it and why we use it are all questions we want people to start reflecting on. Because a lot of positive eco-friendly changes in our life can start at home. For free.
We are not perfect. We are just regular folks trying to make a difference in reducing the plastic waste in our environment. We are still learning and continually working towards our goal of a zero-waste and sustainable living lifestyle. We look forward to sharing our journey, our products and insights of how to be as waste-free as you can be. We are in this together, because there is no Planet B.
Come visit us at No 1 Kingsmead Lane, off Borrowdale Road.
Waste Me Not Sustainable Living