There’s an old adage that says “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
That’s the mantra of Simple Bare Necessities, a store that opened in Sparta one year ago. The concept of the store is to perpetuate zero waste and keeping plastic to a minimum with refills and bulk buying. It’s done just that, and in celebration of its year in business, Simple Bare Necessities will be hosting an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 23 featuring activities for all ages, food, prizes, discounts and shopping.
Owner and founder, Mikaela Turner is an earth enthusiast who began her zero-waste passage in late 2017.
“Before I knew it, this became my natural way of life,” she said. “As I progressed, I realized that this was more than just a journey: this was my passion. As a lover of the outdoors, I realized how much destruction was being done to the environment. I knew I had to do something more than picking up trash off the ground.”
She wanted to find a way to align her values with her lifestyle and share what she had learned with others, so with the encouragement of her husband, Jake, she followed her dreams and Simple Bare Necessities came to fruition.
Simple Bare Necessities provides sustainable alternatives to single-use essentials that are friendly for the environment and oceans.
“The concept and the store has really taken off within the community,” Turner said. “It’s been very well received and we’ve more than tripled our inventory since opening.”
Simple Bare Necessities has bulk laundry detergent, dish soap, kitchen and bathroom cleaners and much more items where people can bring their old containers and refill. They also have bulk shampoo , conditioner, lotion and other personal care products to refill.
“We have organic food including rice, beans, flour, nuts, dried fruit, snacks, spices, coffee, tea and much more,” Turner said. “All where people can bring their bottles and jars and fill up. We also have plastic free and earth friendly alternatives to everyday home essentials.”
“People are really getting into the groove of refilling containers rather than going to the grocery store and buying cases of plastic water bottles and the like,” she said.
The anniversary celebration will be held, appropriately in keeping with the store’s concept, the day after Earth Day so that it can be on a weekend.
“We’ll have Green Teams coming from area high schools including Lenape, Sparta, Pope John and Newton high schools to help out,” Turner said. “Thee will be games, raffles, prizes from local businesses and all proceeds will be donated to 1% for the Planet, an organization that represents a global network of businesses, stores, nonprofit organizations and individuals who are interested in taking on some of the planet’s most disturbing environmental issues.
Customer Kari Marino, of Franklin, had driven by Simple Bare Necessities a few times, but it wasn’t until her niece gave her a basket for Christmas that she discovered what it was all about.
“I’m a vegan so I was given a wonderful gift basket with cool soaps, with no animal ingredients, this amazing vodka sauce and other items,” she said. “I was already a big composter and try to avoid using plastic, but when I went in and saw what they were all about, I realized I could compost even more. For such a tiny store, it’s amazing that they have everything you need to be much more environmentally conscious.”
Sloan Van Wyck echoed the sentiment.
“I love Simple Bare Necessities,” she said. “The owner is a doll and has done a fantastic job educating the community both through her store and her store’s social media page on the power of zero-waste and how little changes can make a world of difference. I used to think it was an all or nothing type thing, but Mikaela has been so wonderful in teaching me that any little thing we can do for the environment is a step in the right direction.”
The store carries a host of items including homemade pasta that Marino deems is “out of this world.”
The list of items is extensive but includes countless bulk items and customers can either bring their own containers to refill or purchase them from the store.
Head to Simple Bare Necessities this Saturday, April 23rd from 11 am to 4 pm to celebrate Earth Day. The store is located at 17 Main Street in Sparta on the lower level. Look for a food truck, discounts and a lot of fun celebrating the store and the planet.