Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – And Refill: Eco-Friendly ‘Bulk' Market Verde Comes to Miami

What to Know

  • Verde, a sustainable "bulk" market, opened in the Wynwood Arts District a few months ago.
  • The eco-friendly market allows customers to bring their own containers and refill on household items like laundry detergent and dish soap.
  • The store's owners say they want Verde to encourage Floridians to "reduce, reuse, repair and refill."

Tucked among local mom-and-pop shops in the Wynwood Arts District, a new eco-friendly market called “Verde” has just sprouted – and the store’s concept aims to change how South Florida thinks about reducing, reusing and refilling.

Jars of fresh spices and handmade soaps line the walls. There are “refill stations” that allow customers to stock up on household products like liquid soaps and laundry detergents. There are also refill stations for shower gels and shampoos, as well as raw honey, dried fruits, nuts, infused olive oils and balsamics. Additionally, customers can snip and purchase herbs from a vibrant wall garden that sits by the front window.

“We encourage our clients to bring their own containers so they can reuse and refill with as much or as little as they need,” owners Martha and Pam, who prefer not to use their last names, said via e-mail. “Together as a community we hope we can save tons of containers from ending in our landfills and oceans.”

“Verde,” which means “green” in Spanish, opened on May 26, 2018. Martha and Pam came up with idea after noticing how common, everyday products – such as dish soaps and floor cleaners – are only available in plastic containers that end up being trashed.

“We were accumulating hundreds of containers in our kitchen cabinets because we refused to throw them away, and we kept trying to find a way to reuse or create something with them but couldn’t find many options,” they said.

The pair started doing some research on recycling and the amount of plastic waste that’s being generated across the state. After a couple of years, they decided to move forward with the Verde project.

“If we keep going at the same pace, there is no way any recycling system can keep up with it,” they said.

Nearly two million tons of plastic waste was collected in Florida in 2016, according to Florida Municipal Solid Waste Management. That total includes plastic recycled, landfilled and combusted.

In 2016, Miami-Dade County led the state in tons of municipal solid waste collected overall. Broward County and Palm Beach County were right behind.

Verde’s products do not include glycerin, are GMO-free and don’t undergo animal testing, said Marie Essi, the store’s manager. The company works closely with local vendors to provide products like bamboo utensils, stainless steel straws, sunglasses, and the company’s signature “bulk products” that customers can refill.

“No other shops would accommodate customers who wanted to bring their own containers,” Essi said. “To help people cut down on waste, we encourage them to bring in what they already have.”

Krisi Keranova went to Verde Market on Saturday, July 22. She and her family filled up on laundry detergent, dish soap and other household necessities.

"We also purchased two shampoo bars," Keranova said. "They're perfect for traveling. I've been using it for two months now and it's perfect because there's no packaging."

The company also provides pet and baby products that are sustainable. For her 16-month-old son, Blue, Keranova bought a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush.

“I really recommend this place for anybody who wants to even start from somewhere to help lead a more healthy and sustainable life," she said. “And it's cheaper this way."

Owners Martha and Pam want Verde to create awareness of a larger problem.

"We hope we can create conscious in our community and encourage others to look for options on how to generate less waste day by day in their daily lives,
they said. "We know this is a massive mission but we are sure we won’t be alone."

Verde Market is located on 2328 NE 2nd Ave. in Miami. More information can be found on the website here.

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