On a main drag that’s dotted with beachy boho boutiques and trendy bars beckoning tourists and Encinitas locals alike, Samantha Simone has bet her business on something far less sexy: barrels. About twenty of them, filled with hand soaps, Epsom salts, household cleaners, and more everyday goods we quickly use up from containers the size of our hands—and then discard those containers, never to see them again.
That’s where the concept of The Nada Shop comes in: Fill up those old vessels here and feel good doing it. Since opening just a year ago, they’ve diverted 6,250 single-use plastics from ending up in landfills and waterways, and are on track to triple that in 2020.
“I wanted to create a space that makes it easier and more accessible for people to live low-waste,” Simone says. “I had to think, What are the things people use all the time and want to change to make an impact, but they can’t because there’s nothing available?”
The “refillery” function of the shop is really just the start. They’ve got waste-free substitutions for almost every household and hygienic item. Consider reusable Stasher storage bags; Marley’s Monsters facial rounds to replace cotton balls; bottle-free bath products like Meow Meow Tweet facial soap bars; and even Mam Suds toilet cleaner bombs (no bottle!).
The Nada Shop also formulates and retails its own organic hand and body soap and castile soap, both of which are free of sulfates and parabens. Jumping on the clean beauty craze is just an added bonus for the business, Simone says.
Compared to some of her regulars, the 26-year-old admits she’s still relatively new to this whole sustainable living thing. For her, it all started with the reusable KeepCup she was given several years ago (and now stocks). It’s been glued to her hand through college and the consulting job that took her all over the country. During those business trips, she’d tally up the number of travelers she saw tossing their disposable cups. Instead of wasting time complaining about the problem, she dreamt up her own ways to offset the waste. “Little actions that make a huge difference,” she says. Things like biking instead of driving and bringing her own containers to pick up takeout or use as doggy bags when she dines out.
“If you try to overwhelm yourself with too many changes, you’ll get discouraged,” she says. “We think in these absolute terms. That’s where it gets us into trouble. You don’t have to be absolutely vegan or plastic free, but if you can set little goals for yourself, that’s where we move the needle.”
To that end, and to those who are sustainable curious, Simone has some simple advice: Make substitutions only where it makes sense. Coffee drinkers, buy that reusable mug. Cotton ball users, get those washable facial rounds. And if you’re coming to her shop… BYOB (bring your own bag).
937 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas