Highland Park Scores A Zero-Waste Wonderland Filled with Eco-Friendly, Stylish Goods

No plastic, no problem-o at Sustain L.A.'s first permanent shop.

View Gallery 14 Photos

Going green in L.A. has just gotten easier in more ways than one, especially for eco enthusiasts. (Shouldn't we all be?) After popping up at farmers markets around town, Sustain L.A. has set up a permanent refill station at its first brick-and-mortar store in Highland Park, not far from bustling Figueroa Boulevard.

The zero-waste wonderland is stocked with non-toxic home cleaning products in liquid and powder form by Pur Home and Free + Clear, such a dish soap, glass cleaner, castile soap, laundry detergent, baking soda, and more (10 to 90 cents per ounce), as well as glass Mason jars, dispensers, and other refillable containers. There are also plastic-free sponges and scrub brushes, silicone storage bags by Stasher, repurposed vintage fabric utensil wraps and straw sleeves by From the Future Vintage, and bamboo, glass, and metal straws (yes, even for your boba drinks), to name just a few reusables.

Photo: Danielle Directo-Meston/UncoverLA

Other refillable liquids include shampoo and conditioner (available in color-friendly, scalp therapy, and restorative formulas), while a dry goods wall offers scoopable baking soda, borax, epsom and sea salts, carnuba and bees waxes, scouring powder, organic arrowroot powder, citric acid, and more ingredients for whipping up your own home and beauty products.

Speaking of which, there's plenty more for your self-care and grooming routines, too. Expect to find Leaf's stylish, all-metal shaving razors, Bogue shaving bars, skincare products by cult-favorite indie beauty brand Meow Meow Tweet Tweet, and cloth wipes and facial rounds by Marley's Monsters, among others. Also on shelves are silk Dental Lace, bamboo toothbrushes, mint toothpaste tablets by Nelson Naturals, deodorant by Fat Moon, and more. Should you want to give your home gallery a no-waste makeover, there's also reclaimed glass art by local artist Lanie Overton.

Sustain L.A. founder and sustainability expert Leslie VanKeuren Campbell. Photo: Courtesy of Kalaj Margulieux/Sustain L.A.

The shop was founded by sustainability expert Leslie VanKeuren Campbell, who began her career in restaurant management. After seeing first-hand the damage done by disposables (hi, single-use plastics), she created Sustain L.A. a decade ago as a consulting business to companies and institutions (such as Adidas, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and Occidental College) seeking ways to reduce their waste.

After testing the waters with her refill station pop-ups, Campbell tells UncoverLA that she chose to open in her tucked-away location for its proximity to home. (Translation: A no-car commute!) Seeing other shops around the globe — such as Canada's The Soap Dispensary and Nada Grocery, Australia's The Source Bulk Foods and Good For, and Colorado's The Zero Market, to name a few — also inspired her to make it a cinch for Angelenos to cut out plastics and waste.

Kids can keep busy in the play corner, too. Photo: Danielle Directo-Meston/UncoverLA

Campbell explains that she considers several factors when stocking her store's shelves, such as the life cycle and effectiveness of each product, the carbon footprint from production to shipping, and the eco-friendliness of the ingredients. She even inspired a few of her favorite brands to join her zero-waste journey, and as a result several of them offer their goods in bulk form for the first time.

(That's just a tiny piece of what Campbell is doing to help solve the climate crisis: She's also a founding member of Don't Waste L.A. and an active part of L.A. Food Policy Council's Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Working Group and the Board of Public Works' Zero Food Waste Task Force. )

Photo: Danielle Directo-Meston/UncoverLA

Up next, Campbell says the shop plans on hosting educational workshops and classes: Think Zero Waste 101 for families, meet-and-greets with brand founders, and more hands-on, community-oriented happenings.

Can't make it to Highland Park? The store continues to pop up in L.A. farmers markets, including in Atwater Village, Hollywood, and Altadena — check their schedule online here, and scroll through the gallery above to see more inside the inspiring waste-free shop.

Sustain L.A., 5214 Monte Vista St., L.A., 90042; Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Tuesday)

Proud Member Of FFC
Get Our Newsletter