Zero waste is getting center stage with Nordstrom.
For a limited time starting March 26, zero-waste retailer Package Free will be the star of Nordstrom’s Pop-In shop, available in select Nordstrom stores and online at nordstrom.com/pop, through May 9.
Nordstrom’s Pop-In concept launched in 2013, but since then it has seen sustainability on display, be it in a curated resale format like “See You Tomorrow” (to partly inspire a permanent resale collection with Goodfair) or now with zero-waste products from Package Free.
Vice president of creative projects at Nordstrom Olivia Kim expressed her passion for “taking better care of our planet,” adding that the curation of everyday sustainable solutions alongside Package Free offers customers an accessible solution to taking on trash-free living.
Items are available across verticals including beauty, grooming, kitchen, cleaning and kids’ stuff. The Pop-In includes products like The Simply Co. laundry detergent (another of Singer’s companies), biodegradable and compostable dental floss, bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable dish brushes, and pet toys, as well as zero-waste kits among other products.
While some products carried by Package Free do, in fact, have packaging (often compostable or recyclable glass), the essence is that all of the products are vetted by its team of sustainability experts to ensure it meets the Package Free Standard, “a core criteria and system of values that evaluates a product’s ingredients, packaging, and end of life,” per its website.
Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own bags and containers when shopping at Package Free.
“I never would have imagined that we would have grown to have nine stores in Nordstrom” and online, Lauren Singer, founder of Package Free, said at a press preview. Package Free will be in select Nordstrom stores including Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, Austin, Dallas and the New York City flagship, among them. Three locations (New York, Seattle, South Coast Plaza) will even offer bulk refill for deodorant, detergent and body wash, so customers can stock up on package-free essentials.
Singer recounted the viral story of fitting nine years’ worth of trash into a single Mason jar (achieved by making her own products and excluding items composted and recycled) that was a catalyst to the founding of her company. “This is the exception — not the rule.”
Package Free operates a zero-waste, plastic-free warehouse and partners with companies like reusable packaging start-up TerraCycle to ensure product end-of-life complies with the company’s stringent zero-waste guidelines. In honor of the partnership with Package Free, Nordstrom has given GrowNYC, a one-time grant to support zero waste programs.
Package Free guidelines went into the formulation with the Nordstrom Pop-In. Nordstrom staff are trained on zero-waste tips and living as per the Package Free ethos. In the case of online orders, fulfillment will be handled by Package Free where — in line with its mission — the company uses 100 percent post-consumer paper to pack and ship orders.
With its two previous stores in Chelsea Market and Brooklyn closed due to the pandemic, Singer is still adamant about reviving physical Package Free stores soon.
“Yes…My absolute dream is to open more stores in the future,” adding that the vision was “creating the space that I wish that I had when I was studying environmental science.
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