Sustainability, eco-consciousness, and working towards living a zero waste lifestyle is shaping our social zeitgeist. More companies are not just taking sustainability to heart, they’re taking action. More and more people are carrying around reusable tote bags, metal straws, utensils, and water tumblers in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Our zero-waste starter kits have become almost just as essential as our smartphones.

But have you ever asked yourself, “Why bother? My efforts won’t make a difference anyway.”

If the thought has crossed your mind, you’re not alone. Thankfully, we came across this post by social entrepreneur and sustainability advocate Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches. Here, she reminds us, “We should never belittle anyone who wants to make a change, no matter how small. Every small decision counts because a lot of big changes start with small decisions done consistently over time.”

We don’t know about you, but those words eased our minds and inspired us to be better, more eco-conscious shoppers. It also made us go, “What else can we do?” These stores at Power Plant Mall will help you answer the question and do even more good while you shop.

Donate paper bags
Common Room, R2 Level

Traditionally, trips to the mall mean walking out with shopping bags, not the other way around. Tip for your next shopping trip: donate old paper bags at Common Room. These bags are then stamped and reused to pack items for customers who probably forgot their reusable totes at home, or ran out of precious bag space.

Support Refilling Stations
Messy Bessy, R3 Level

If you’ve ever read the labels on a Messy Bessy product, almost every one of them say “A little goes a long way!” Yup, the little act of choosing to refill your bottles of dish cleaner, disinfectant spray, or room spray really goes a long way in keeping empty bottles out of landfills.

While we wish there were more refilling stations and refillable products out in the market, the fact that Messy Bessy’s Refilling Station in Rockwell has lasted for almost a year is a huge step in the right direction. While waiting for more refilling stations to open and offer more products, what you can do is return empty bottles and get P10 off your purchase. Messy Bessy works with a recycling company to transform empty bottles into tables and chairs.

Recycle Used Coffee Pods 
Nespresso, R1 Level

Good news, coffee lovers! You can enjoy every cup guilt-free. Nespresso recently launched a recycling program. They give you a black recycling bag with every purchase, so you can fill them up with coffee pods and drop the bag off at the store.

You’ll be glad to know that coffee grounds will be used as organic fertilizer, while the capsules will be upcycled by Negrense volunteers. The best part is that these volunteers have created livelihood, education, and feeding programs that benefit their community.

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Are these small steps towards sustainable shopping enough to make a real difference? It might be too soon to tell, but we owe it to the planet and to our children’s children’s children to at least keep trying. While we still have a long way to go, our small actions do matter. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even yourself.