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Meet the Maker - BYO Long Beach

Julie Darrell

 Meet Julie Darrell, the owner Bring Your Own Long Beach.

BYO Long Beach started with a goal to inspire locals to reduce their trash consumption and focus on reusable alternatives. Perfection is not the goal, but progress.  We can't all do everything, but everyone can do something. After living in Long Beach for 15 years, Julie borrowed Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson from the library and was inspired.  Many of the things in the book were things she had tried at one point but got lazy about over the years between having kids and working. She wanted to focus locally on Long Beach because this city is full of people who care but may not have the tools, or feel overwhelmed on where to start.  Being a beach city, we are fully aware of the massive problem single-use plastics and disposables have on our oceans and beaches.

Read her story below

What inspired you to start your creative enterprise? 

Back in 2017, I was assessing the amount of trash and recycling my family created, and I felt like we could do better. Knowing that less than 10% of plastics are actually recycled, I felt like even recycling wasn’t a positive. We already mastered bringing our own reusable bags to the store, and carrying reusable water bottles, but there had to be better solutions. I figured I couldn’t be the only one in Long Beach looking for something like this. So I started my Instagram account (@bringyourownlongbeach) to share tips on how to reduce waste in our everyday lives. I still worked full time at another job but eventually took the leap to try a pop-up & intro class to zero-waste living. I highlighted some of the products that can help minimize waste by bringing your own containers, utensils, produce bags, etc. with you -  and refusing the plastic and disposables. We opened our first location in Long Beach in late 2017, and have since opened a second location, with a 3rd location estimated to be open by April 2021. We sell refills on eco-friendly cleaning products, soaps, personal care products, as well as reusable replacements for single use items.  

 "I moved to Long Beach almost 20 years ago from Portland, Oregon. I instantly fell in love with the small town beachy vibes."

How does your work march us to a better future?

My goal is to inspire others to make small, but meaningful changes in their everyday lives to help reduce our consumption and change our disposable culture. Even though corporations and the fossil fuel industry hold the most responsibility for pollution and waste, we need to learn as a society to do better. Not everyone can do everything to fix our climate crisis, but we all can do something. 

 

Describe your day at home or in your workspace?

My daily life is different these days because of COVID, but typically I’m meeting the needs of running the shops as well as schooling my 2 kids. We have been homeschooling for over 6 years and this side hustle that became my full time work has made my schedule more flexible to spend time with them, even though I feel like my life is a constant juggle between parenting and running a business. They inspire me to make a difference to make Earth a more sustainable place for their future.  

"If we stop buying things wrapped with tons of plastic, like disposable water bottles, less of it will be produced."

If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go? 

As cool as Mars is, I’m pretty happy with the planet that we live on, and I want to do everything we can to make it better. So my dream place to live is in a world where sustainability of human health and nature is at the center of how businesses are created, how farmers grow our food, how restaurants cook our food, what we wear, how we travel, and how we express creativity and art.

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