A Whangarei company, Aisle Blue, has been set up to bridge the gap between people and the ocean, with sustainable alternatives being offered to bring about change and a new way of thinking.
As part of the vision, a zero waste pop-up store was opened in early October, located off Riverside Drive alongside the Hatea Loop, which will be in place until Christmas.
The pop-up store stocks plastic and package free practical goods which have been locally made, New Zealand made and/or established in New Zealand.
Aisle Blue founders Katherine, 29, and Jesse Silulu, 31, who originally grew up in Whangarei (but have been residing in Melbourne for the past six years), have been plastic free themselves for almost a year, living with no rubbish bin, only a compost bin, and recycling glass and cardboard monthly.
The couple chose to lead a sustainable lifestyle, with less stress and more financial freedom, while raising and educating their daughter, Ava, 2, along the way.
The Silulus said finding sustainable alternatives in store and online was at times challenging, "especially having to purchase an item here and an item there", which is how Aisle Blue (where the shopping aisle and the ocean meet) came about.
"With the vast majority looking for convenience, housing everything under one roof just made sense," said Mrs Silulu.
Together they believe that to reduce waste communities must be offered simple solutions and affordable alternatives, supporting the cause and, in turn, eliminating the need for plastic.
"With the desire to inspire, encourage and educate the masses opening a store just made sense," she said.
Mrs Silulu said people who have stopped by the store love the concept and love the cause.
"Some get it [the concept] making it an easy sell and others need to be educated a little more, but it's all about raising awareness so I love talking to anyone and everyone regardless."
The pop-up store will be open until Christmas allowing the community to make sustainable purchases and ask any questions they may have about transitioning toward a plastic free and/or zero waste lifestyle.
Afterward the couple will be launching an online store following the same concept - plastic free, package free and sustainable - with plans to pop up some place else in the new year, she said.
The pop-up store stocks a range of plastic alternatives ranging from bamboo toothbrushes to bees wax wraps to produce bags to reusable cloth nappies.
There's also a Earthwise Refillary which allows people to purchase shampoo, conditioner and other cleaning products in bulk.
Supermarket plastic phase-out welcomed
Meanwhile Mrs Silulu welcomed recent moves by major retailers and supermarkets choosing to ban the plastic bag.
She said it's a step in the right direction, "however it would be 1000 times better if the New Zealand Government stepped up banning plastic bags nationwide".
"Change may come slowly but together with the support of those in 'power' we can get there a little faster, adopting new habits and beliefs on a whole."