Meet Rebecca, the owner and creator of SOOP Bags!
Rebecca quit her 20-year career in the corporate world to pursue a social venture that held more meaning. The business was created with the mission to help stamp out single-use plastics and other plastic waste which is accumulating and wreaking havoc on oceans and landfills on a global scale.
SOOP offers eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics and uses minimal, earth-friendly packaging for a near-zero waste experience. Body care products are packaged using biodegradable or recyclable materials to avoid sending plastics to landfill.
What inspired you to start your company?
When I became aware of the mounting problem of single-use plastics and other waste in the world's oceans and landfills, I felt motivated to act. I believed that a single idea can grow into a movement and that, collectively, we could all make simple changes that would amount to massive global action and positive change. I started making reusable bags and wraps to replace single-use plastics and then expanded my product offering to include zero waste personal care items given that much plastic waste is owing to plastic bottles and containers from personal care products.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur in this space?
Hearing others' stories about their own commitment to reducing plastic waste and finding sustainable and eco friendly alternatives has been inspiring to me and affirms for me that I'm doing meaningful work. The Zero Waste Journey is different for everyone and knowing that I'm reaching people and we're coming together for a common cause is very rewarding as a business owner and eco warrior.
What is a surprising lesson you learned along the way?
Not everyone believes in climate change and there are lots of people who don't believe that their actions make a difference. I hear them say, "I'm just one person, what difference does it make in a world of 7.8 billion people?" I know I won't reach everyone but I still try to help people connect to the cause to help them realize that every action matters and it all adds up to positive change.
Who do you turn to for motivation and inspiration?
My husband and a couple of close friends have been my cheerleaders from day one. It was not easy to quit my 20-year career in the corporate world to start my own business from the ground up and they remind me of this courage when I'm stuck. I feel passionate about this issue and they are my sounding boards when I need to test new ideas. Each one of them is strong, courageous, grounded and determined in their own lives and I deeply admire each one of them.
What is a quote that you live by?
"Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive." Rev. Howard Thurman
Do you have any advice for people who want to start being more conscious consumers?
Start by swapping out the items that are used the most for more ecofriendly alternatives. For example, a good place for many to start is at the grocery store. Using reusable market bags vs. a single-use plastic bag will reduce hundreds of thousands of plastic bags per household over many years. Reusable produce bags are a great follow-up item with a similar positive impact. Next, the kitchen or bathroom might be hotspots to reduce plastic waste. Reusable cutlery will be great for someone who gets take out often. Shampoo and conditioner bars as well as soap bars will reduce a lot of plastic in a personal care routine. These are all simple changes and I understand for some it can be overwhelming leaving people unsure of where to begin. Start small, build from there.
What are some small steps you do in your daily life to be more environmentally friendly?
Repurpose plastic packaging for other uses around the house. Cut cracker boxes into strips and use them as the packaging for my soap bars. Conserve water at home as much as possible. Purchase produce as much as possible that has not been bundles or shrink-wrapped in plastic. Use market totes and reusable produce bags always (if I forget them, I use nothing). Carry a reusable water bottle, never buy bottled water for drinking. Take coffee and tea in a reusable mug. Invest in extra plates & cutlery to avoid using disposables when hosting a gathering at home. Carry bamboo cutlery when going to meet a friend for lunch. Use solid shampoo & conditioner bars, solid soap bars, and natural deodorant in biodegradable paper push up tubes. I'm sure there are more... that's what I can think of now!
How do you practice self-care?
I practice meditation each night. I make sure to get regular, vigorous exercise. I eat healthy and, although work can sometimes get in the way of a good night's rest, when I need to I set everything aside and go to bed. Sometimes catching up on sleep is what is needed to recharge and refresh.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as someone who was kind, who truly cared about people and who wanted to make a positive impact in this world. I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard, was determined and brave.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
A tough one. There are so many amazing books! I love all of Brene Brown's books. Rising Strong was one that came to me at a time when I really needed it.
Thank you Rebecca for sharing your inspiring stories!
Shop all SOOP Bags products here.