Environmentally-friendly Park Slopers are in luck, as the neighborhood is now home to a zero-waste store where shoppers can purchase goods free of harmful packaging.
La Nature opened on Fifth Avenue between President and Carroll streets in May, where they’ve been slinging everyday products — and it’s been a hit in the notoriously liberal neighborhood.
“Reception has been awesome,” said Peter Rubinstein, who opened the shop with his partner Linh Nguyen on May 7. “People have been so patient and excited and helpful about this whole thing.”
La Nature offers standard household goods, including kitchen supplies and bathroom appliances, and everything is devoid of any materials that harm the environment.
“It’s basically plastic-free alternatives to the stuff you buy at Walgreens,” said Rubinstein.
Their biggest draw so far though has been a refillable household liquids station, which allows customers to refill their cleaning supplies containers without having to purchase a new plastic vessel. The set-up involves a long table in the middle of the shop with about 20 glass jars full of things like shampoos, conditioners, hand sanitizer, and all purpose cleaner. Customers can bring in their own containers, fill them however much they desire, and pay by weight.
“Folks are just paying for what’s inside,” said Rubinstein. “That’s kind of the main way we encourage zero-waste, just stop for the love of God buying all those plastic bottles.”
Rubinstein and Nguyen left their former careers in journalism and marketing respectively to launch the shop, spurred by a desire to leave the pandemic doing something different from when they entered it.
“We were sitting there for months in our apartments thinking ‘do we want to go back to what we were doing before this all started?’” Rubinstein said. “In a lot of ways we realized, no, not really.”
They also sought to fill a void in New York, where zero-waste stores have not yet caught on in a significant way, with the largest concentration of shops out on the west coast.
“All things considered, New York is behind right now,” Rubinstein said. “It’s something that’s really blatantly sweeping towards the east.”
Going zero-waste takes a serious lifestyle change, and a commitment to leaving behind the convenience of retailers like Amazon. So far, it seems to be something people are willing to do, Rubinstein says.
“That’s what worried us slightly going in, are people really going to embrace something like this?” he said. “Honestly, the answer is yes.”
La Nature, (233 5th Avenue near President Street in Park Slope), 917 336-2403, 11 am — 7 pm daily).