COSTA MESA (KABC) -- Here's something to think about when you make your next trip to the store. How many items can you buy that don't involve some type of plastic? A pair of earth-science students at U-C Irvine are doing more than just think about it -- they're changing the way people shop!
Amis de la Terre - or "friends of the Earth" is a zero waste market in Costa Mesa that offers an easy and affordable way to shop for items without contributing to the waste cycle.
Chris McGuire and Jessica Walden are both PhD earth system science students at UC Irvine studying human effects on the ocean.
"We have an integrated system. You come in, you weigh your jars or your bags, a lot of people bring in like pasta jars to re-use, but we don't frown upon brining in plastic Tupperware. As long as you're reusing something, feel free to bring it in," said McGuire.
"You can buy as little or as much as you want. Even if you're not as concerned about plastic packaging you're wasting a lot less food and a lot less money," said Walden.
They opened the store this past September after noticing a need.
"When covid hit, all the bulk sections at the grocery stores got shut down and that was the way that we were shopping, getting all of our nuts, grains, legumes... everything from the bulk bins," said Walden. "I remember saying I wish we could just sell stuff out of our pantry, and I think that was the beginning."
They're hoping to tackle the issue of plastic, which they've done plenty of research on, finding micro plastic in water samples from our local beaches.
"I think what we're really concerned with is the packaging in general. Not many items you can walk into the store and walk in and you can buy without plastic," said McGuire.
"I think my favorite items that we offer are the protein powders because those are really hard to find plastic-free. Plastic-free and really good," said Walden.
They sell everything from herbs and spices to candy with natural dyes.
"Our dates are really popular. We have nut butter grinders, so you can grind almond, peanut and cashew butter, which is really fun," said Walden. "I imagine a store like this in every neighborhood or every city where you're going here instead of a big grocery store."
Ultimately, they're trying to make a difference, by taking action.