Q&A with founder and owner of Zeroish, a sustainable living shop in Fulton


According to the Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, limiting the earth’s warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would require reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 45% by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. If nations and corporations don’t, not only could the warming blow through that 1.5-degree limit, but it is likely not to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.

These numbers are a part of why Kate Marnach started a zero-waste blog intended to help busy families navigate a zero-waste lifestyle. She had three kids of her own and wanted to start something to encourage others to live sustainably even if they couldn’t live a fully zero-waste lifestyle. This blog, Zeroish, eventually evolved into a zero-waste shop offering sustainable alternatives to everyday items. She launched the online store in March 2021, and opened the brick-and-mortar store at 2309 W. 50th Street in August 2021. She was also involved in the launch of Tare Market in south Minneapolis in 2019, the state’s first zero-waste store.

“I really do think that successfully tackling smaller changes or sustainable habits where you can see the results without it being difficult can be encouraging and make you want to do more and take on larger changes,” Marnach said.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO MAKE SUSTAINABLE CHANGES? Marnach: Humans have been overusing the natural resources on our planet and discarding our trash in an irresponsible manner for decades, and we are really starting to see the consequences of this in our daily lives, with climate change, water shortages, trash-infested waters/ecosystems, and more. I believe that collective small actions really do add up, and our behavior as consumers sends a message to larger companies that we want products and lifestyles that align with our desire to help the planet rather than destroying it.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES TRYING TO STAY ON A BUDGET? Marnach: I totally get this one as I have three kids and a budget, as well. Some of my tips for living sustainably on a budget are:

1. Compost (the curbside organics bins are included in your trash fees in Minneapolis, or you can have a bin or pile in your yard).

2. Try out “swaps” with friends or local community groups for things like clothing, household items, kid gear, garden produce, etc.

3. Try alternatives for expensive produce like a local CSA in the summer or growing a garden.

4. Buy secondhand when possible as it’s usually cheaper and extends the useful life of items.

5. Purchase higher quality products and fewer of them example: a quality stainless water bottle will last way longer than a cheap plastic one.

6. Use what you have first. In most cases, it’s better to use something to the end of its useful life, even if it’s not considered “sustainable” than to replace it before it needs replacing.

7. Try “solid” items like shampoo bars or dish blocks that actually last way longer than their liquid counterparts and cost less in the long run.

8. Switch to reusables instead of disposables. I constantly think about how much money we save with three kids now that we don’t purchase paper towels, napkins, or tissues anymore since we switched to unpaper towels, cloth napkins, and hankies!

HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS GETTING “BOGGED” DOWN BY CLIMATE NEWS? Marnach: That’s a tough one as I even fall victim to it at times. I’ve learned that sometimes I do just need to turn off the news or stop reading it. I know I will continue fighting for the planet no matter what, so giving my brain a break from the constant negative stream of news isn’t going to lessen my resolve.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE COMMUNITY TO HAVE VARIOUS SUSTAINABLE OPTIONS? Marnach: I think convenience matters a lot in today’s world, and the more convenient and easier we can make sustainable living, the more people will participate. A sustainable lifestyle is not a onesize-fits-all kind of thing!

WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST TO PEOPLE WANTING TO TRY OUT MORE SUSTAINABLE OPTIONS A LITTLE AT A TIME OR MAYBE FOR THE FIRST TIME? Marnach: I always tell people to start with something they feel like they can realistically achieve and something that they will be able to “see” the results of. Whether that means composting and seeing your weekly trash be slashed in half, refilling your containers from our bulk section so you only buy what you need, or even just switching a few of the products you use every single day to a sustainable option, so you are reminded each time you use it that you are making a better choice for the planet!


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