Zero Waste, Eco-Friendly Business Opens in West Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – BYOB — Bring Your Own Bottles. A new locally-owned market in West Duluth takes sustainability to a whole new level.

From shampoo and conditioner in the form of a bar, to dish and laundry soap in bulk, Ren Market is your one-stop eco-friendly shop.

“I feel like a kid in a candy store every time I come in,” said Jessica Schneider, a Duluth resident.

For Schneider, there’s pride and joy in protecting herself and the planet on which she resides.

“When you actually start thinking about it, there are so many products you use that have plastic in them, or aren’t really sustainable,” said Schneider.

With a passion for the products she uses, her eco-friendly lifestyle is now easier to adhere to in the city she calls home.

“Every time I make a switch to a new sustainable product, I think about how many times I didn’t use that and it’s just mindboggling,” said Schneider.

Owner Kendra Dean has dabbled for years in sustainability.

“The products that I carry, most of them like the soaps here aren’t wrapped in anything, there’s no packaging,” said Dean. “Living here in Duluth I was struck by how difficult that was.”

With a background in environmental science, she recently put her knowledge to the test, opening Ren Market.

“I carry a lot of bulk products, so that means customers can bring in their own bottles, jars, containers, dish soap containers, spray bottles, and you can refill them here,” said Dean.

Ren just so happens to be the Chinese term for responsibility to look out for others before you look out for yourself.

“If you get too on the sustainability train, you go gangbusters and want to do everything all at once, it’s a lot – it’s a lot to think about, process, it can be expensive,” said Dean.

With the opening of her store, she’s thrilled to help, and guide new customers along the way to becoming more sustainable in the daily routine.

“It’s truly retraining our minds as to how we purchase things,” said Dean.

From solid, bar shampoos and conditioners, to buying laundry and dish soap in bulk with your own bottles, Dean is determined to help make a positive impact.

“This is a very quick and gratifying way to be like, there are things you can do now that are simple and even though they might seem small, they do make a long-term impact,” said Dean.

“Just try one thing. Just try switching one thing you’re doing to a sustainable option. Instead of buying shampoo next time, buy a shampoo bar. If you don’t like it, that’s okay, you can try something else,” said Schneider.

Dean says at the end of the day, it’s all about keeping plastics and waste from entering our waterways.

“Making sustainable switches is not sustainable if normal people like me can’t afford to buy them,” said Dean.

With an affordable approach, she invites all Northland residents to challenge themselves to make a switch for the sake of a sustainable future.

“People have been incredibly supportive,” said Dean.

“It’s so great to know that I’m taking care of the earth, and taking care of my body,” said Schneider.

Ren Market is located at 519 North Central Avenue in West Duluth. If you don’t have a bottle of your own to be filled, they do have sanitized containers on site.

Click here for more information.

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