This summer, we launched our Sustainable Earth Small Business Awards (SESBA) and selected 15 winners who showcased outstanding sustainability commitments. Our new podcast, The Green Scene, dives into conversations with SESBA winners about their journey as sustainable business owners.

In our fifth episode of The Green Scene, My Zero Waste Store | Refilling Plastic-Free Lifestyles, we sat down with My Zero Waste Store owner, Cheryl Auger. Auger is looking to tackle the plastic crisis through the promotion of reusable items. My Zero Waste Store allows people to shop sustainably with unpackaged, low impact goods.

My Zero Waste Store has everything from cleaning products to personal hygiene products like shampoo and conditioner. Customers can bring in their own reusable containers to get their fill of items. This effectively reduces waste with the lack of packaging, and encourages customers to reuse the things that they already have.

“My Zero Waste Store has saved over 3.1 million pieces of plastic from being made, reducing plastic pollution.”

Cheryl Auger

From lifestyle to store front

Auger had been living a lifestyle of buying bulk and reusing containers, but COVID-19 stopped all of that in its tracks. She had been buying food and other products in bulk, so when stores stopped selling self-serve bulk goods due to the pandemic, she realized she didn’t want to buy products from stores that led to waste-creation. From there she bought a point-of-sale system, baking racks, and began renting out a storefront. As a first-time store owner, she learned a lot very quickly about the different licenses related to selling products while also figuring out how to incorporate sustainability into her practices every step of the way. 

“The closer a supplier is, the less greenhouse gas emissions. The lighter the product is, the less greenhouse gas emissions. So I’m really trying to think of our overall carbon footprint all the time when making purchasing decisions.” 

Cheryl Auger

Now, My Zero Waste Store provides a space for environmentally-friendly shopping. They keep items in circulation longer with multiple uses. Community members give them objects like vases, wine bottles, and baskets that the store utilizes as reusable packaging. They give away boxes to the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society as well as anyone who needs boxes for moving or any other events. 

Cheryl is also passionate about civic engagement. She encourages people to be aware of their local politics, call their assembly members and senators about important issues, and fight for legislation that people believe in. Whether it’s to address the plastic problem, or other issues impacting the world today, Cheryl believes we can use our voices to create good. 


Start your own zero-waste journey

My Zero Waste Store is located in downtown Pasadena, California. They offer soap, shampoo, cleaning products, and laundry detergent in bulk. You are able to bring your own container, or, if you forget it, you can use jars, bottles, and jugs that the store provides. My Zero Waste Store also sells reusable and plastic-free products to help individuals lower their plastic use and waste. 

Make sure to check out this episode of the Green Scene, available on our website and Spotify!