Americans throw away more than 285 billion pieces of convenience trash every year—it is a crisis, and one that friends Elizabeth Smith, Jennifer Brody, and Karen Hoskin got tired of just being angry about. “I travel a ton for work and play. I was relentlessly handed convenience trash – throwaway coffee cups, plastic water bottles and to-go containers, shopping bags, produce bags,” says Hoskin, who also owns Montanya Distillers, a craft distillery she runs with a similar low-waste philosophy. “It made my heart sick, but I couldn’t figure out how to refuse it. Finally I just had to commit, and I needed a system.
The partners got together in their kitchens to look for ways they could refuse single-use trash all day every day. Eight months of design and testing later, Zoetica was born. Zoetica—which means, “a state of being alive, aware, and vibrant” is system that elevates the style, convenience, space-saving nature and quality of the zero and low-waste life through its line of products. “Think of it as a “leave no trace” ethos for every day,” says Hoskin.
Zoetica’s revolutionary kits are easy to drop in a purse, tote, computer bag, or backpack and use wherever you go—shopping, dining out, traveling, etc. It also sells grocery bags, and custom-branded kits for use at events and festivals.
A single U.S. resident will personally toss about 71,160 water bottles, coffee cups, straws, and plastic shopping bags in their lifetime. Zoetica aims to make it easy and stylish for people to refuse single-use trash.
“As I navigated the world, I realized I was accepting piles of throw-away trash just for the sake of convenience and traveling light,” says Smith.“I realized it is my moral responsibility to do what I can – I owe it to my children. The Zoetica lifestyle is a starting point for a much larger movement.”
In Zoetica’s first year of business, they hope to help customers refuse 11 million pieces of single-use trash. Zoetica also works with coffee shops, food sellers and airlines to become certified as Z-Life Vendors who commit to honoring Zoetica reusables.
“This movement focuses on the positives and continually asks the questions, ‘What simple actions can I take in my life every day that will have a powerful ripple effect?’,” says Brody. “Ripple effects of a small personal change can have a profound, widespread impact. I am excited to help bring about the results we all know we need to see.”