Happy Earth Day! This national holiday is a time for showing support for environmental protection efforts and sharing ways that we can all make a difference in the future of our planet. While there are countless online stores dedicated to environmentally-friendly products, the most eco-conscious way to shop for a green lifestyle is to visit a brick-and-mortar shop.
Right across from our Headquarters at One Lewis Wharf is Uvida, Boston’s first zero waste store. Founded by Maria Camila Vasco, Uvida sells a wide range of environmentally-friendly home products, beauty products, plants, and more. We talked to Maria to learn a bit more about Uvida and how we can do our part to help the environment.
How did you become interested in the zero-waste movement?
When I was studying Environmental Studies & Sustainability at UMass Boston, I learned a lot about the plastic pollution problem and decided I wanted to do something about it. Change starts with yourself so I embarked on a journey to find sustainable replacements to plastic products I was using at home. I bought a bamboo hair brush and toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner bars, reusable bags, and more. I slowly worked to eliminate the products I was regularly using that came in plastic packaging.
Why did you decide to open Uvida?
I started Uvida because I thought there should be a store where you could find all those types of products in one place. As I was making changes for myself, I was testing a lot of products and have found the ones that perform best. Uvida started as a way to cut out that research product for other consumers. I started as an online-only store and eventually launched a pop-up in East Boston. It’s always been my dream to have a physical storefront.
Why did you pick the North End?
I really like the North End neighborhood and its many kind residents. Being right near downtown means that many North End residents don’t have a car. While that’s great for the environment, it means that people are reliant on the stores that are in their neighborhood. I wanted a store that provided environmentally-friendly goods in a walkable distance to a wide range of people. Many customers from the area have told me that in the past they have walked long distances to find plants and other similar products that I carry at Uvida.
Where should people start if they want to live more sustainably?
I always recommend that people take stock of what waste they produce on a daily basis. Everyone has different consumption patterns so it is important to understand what yours are to see where you can make easy changes. One easy change I always recommend is reusable bags for produce when grocery shopping. Another one of our commonly sold products are our all natural soap bars. They are sold without any unnecessary packaging and are great for people with sensitive skin. People have told me that other soaps cause flare ups of their skin conditions but that my natural soaps have been great for them. Overall, my main piece of advice is to analyze what plastics you’re using at home and looking for alternatives to those specific products. There’s something out there for everyone looking to help protect the environment!
Uvida is the first of its kind in the city of Boston. They are a small business with a big mission and we’re happy to have them as neighbors at our Headquarters. Visit their website to learn more about their product offerings, store hours, and latest updates.
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