- Hi, I'm Leslie, the founder and CEO of Sustain LA.
We offer a place for people to come
and refill household cleaners and body care products,
and find plastic-free alternatives
to things they might use everyday.
We also offer reusable rentals to make your
parties and events sustainable, and zero waste consulting.
We've been told for a long time
that recycling plastics are the solution.
But unfortunately less than 9%
of plastic containers are recycled.
The Sustain LA refill station allows customers
to bring in their own container, any container works.
We have a weigh station where you weigh
your empty container first, record that weight.
And you fill up with laundry liquid,
shampoos, conditioners, hand soaps, all purpose cleaner.
We reweigh the container and deduct that original weight,
so you're paying only for what you fill up.
And this helps eliminate the plastic bottles
that you purchase in the store every time.
In addition to our store in Highland Park
we also still do popups at farmers markets.
We're at the Hollywood farmers market
and the Atwater Village farmers market.
I grew up in central Illinois and had access
to undeveloped forest behind my parent's house.
I spent a lot of time there.
And I think that instilled a natural
desire to protect the environment.
I had been working in restaurants for 10 years
and saw firsthand the amount of waste
and plastic pollution that restaurants caused.
I was managing a restaurant that used styrofoam
for to-go orders, and I realized that was part
of the problem, and I wanted to be part of the solution.
At the same time Captain Charles Moore
had found these giant gyres full of plastic soup
in the ocean, and the plastic pollution problem
was becoming more evident.
From there I decided that I wanted to help
restaurants operate more sustainably,
help events reach zero waste.
And eventually that led me to opening
the refill station here in Highland Park.
The community of Highland Park
is largely a Latino community.
And we wanted to make sure that we were
inclusive of our neighbors.
All of our products are labeled in both English and Spanish.
We also have a large infographic on the wall
to help new customers understand
the flow and routine of our store.
And that is also in English and Spanish.
The zero waste movement has many components.
The main consideration is what we're throwing away,
how to conserve resources, and how to restore
the natural systems of the planet.
Our customers include varying degrees
of the zero waste journey.
We have many customers who are coming to us
for the first time, asking the best products to start with
to change to a zero waste lifestyle.
And we have seasoned zero waste veterans that know
the routine, and are excited to have a place to refill.
We offer a variety of products in our refill stations,
some of which are really hard to find package free.
Household cleaners include laundry detergent,
dish soap, castile soaps.
And some of our body care products include
deodorant, facial cleanser and moisturizer.
And we're constantly adding on new products
based on our customer's recommendations.
We source from many small businesses.
We try to stay as close to home,
close to Los Angeles, as possible.
And we try to either return the container
back to the vendor for refilling,
or find a second life for that container before recycling.
Products like our laundry liquid and dish liquid
come in 55 gallon drums.
And this reduces the amount of single use plastic
as people are refilling their containers
from our large drums.
At the end of life we donate
those drums to an animal rescue.
We also have a bunch of products that help you
achieve a zero waste lifestyle including
plastic free toothbrushes, reusable containers,
reusable sponges without plastic, and plastic-free razors.
I have a six year old, and as a mom
I feel that it's super important for us
to leave the Earth inhabitable for future generations.
This is one way that I'm helping make a difference.