Dreaming of a more sustainable Christmas? The Unwaste Shop in Chicago's West Loop has you covered

'Everything you're going to find in the store will be plastic free, reusable, refillable, compostable'

ByTracy Butler and Blanca Rios, Angela Chen WLS logo
Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Dreaming of a more sustainable Christmas? Here's an idea
The Unwaste Shop in the West Loop is a great holiday shopping option - whether it's gifting or getting someone on their sustainability journey.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Buying nothing new can be challenging, especially this time of year.

But it's not the only way to help the environment.

The Unwaste Shop has thoughtful, sustainable holiday gifts for everyone on your list.

Call it a tree huggers' playground.

"Everything you're going to find in the store will be plastic free, reusable, refillable, compostable," said Todd Barancik owner of the The Unwaste Shop.

RELATED: Chicago non-profit collecting broken holiday lights

Located in Chicago's West Loop, The Unwaste Shop's goal is to eliminate single-use plastics. They offer everything from laundry detergent and bath products to locally sourced honey. And they've done all the environmental research for you.

"People are inundated with information. There's so many different opinions and so many different studies that people don't know how to believe," said Barancik. "We can be the information that people can kinda come and lean on when they are making a decision on a detergent, on a hand soap."

And while they preach less consumption, the products they sell make great gifts, are locally sourced and truly green.

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"The products that you're giving, you can feel good about giving and you can feel good about your person using," said Barancik.

It's also a great way to introduce someone you love to sustainable living.

"People will come in with a plastic Starbucks cups for instance and kind of bow their head and we don't want them to feel any sort of shame," said Barancik. "I will help you make a change that's for you and helps you do better than you did yesterday. And that's our goal. Whether it's gifting or getting someone on their journey, judgement free."

"The shop is also a drop off site for several hard-to-recycle items like batteries, bread tabs, razors, shipping materials and even compost.

"The reality is, it's not convenient to recycle in Chicago or maybe anywhere and so people don't have eight hours of their day to carve out to make 17 different stops and drop off all this stuff. So we're trying to make sure people have a one-stop-shop."

Recyle broken holiday lights

The Unwaste Shop is also a collection site for broken holiday lights. Beyond likely ending up in a landfill. broken light bulbs can release mercury into the environment.

Reduce Waste Chicago picks up holiday lights from the Unwaste Shop and 21 other spots in the city now through January 31st at