Why We Source Some Zero Waste Products Overseas - Zero Waste Outlet

Why We Source Some Zero Waste Products Overseas

Posted by Zero Waste Dad on

Plastic-Free Is Still King: Why We Source Zero-Waste Products From China

A question we get from our customers quite often: 

“Do you source any of your zero-waste products from China?” 

They don’t always love our answer. 

Yes, we have various sustainable products that we source from China. 


Simply put, it’s still the best option available to bring you affordable zero-waste products. As your zero waste store, we respect you and your journey as the customer. So we want to shed some light on why we still believe this is the best option – for now. 

Zero-Waste Products Aren’t Mass Produced in America

While this may seem crazy with the traction zero-waste products and zero-waste stores are gaining in the U.S., it’s true. We have yet to find a manufacturer that practices sustainability and can create zero-waste products efficiently and affordably. 

Truthfully, China is way ahead of us when it comes to environmental consciousness and sustainable practices.

A report on sustainable consumption in China mentioned that over 90% of Chinese consumers were aware of sustainable consumption, and 70% were very conscientious of it.

We can probably all confidently say the number of Americans invested in a sustainable or zero-waste lifestyle is nowhere where it should be. Though many Americans are becoming aware of it, it will take a while until we reach the level where most of us live a sustainable life. 

Do you know the main thing that’s mass-produced in America at an affordable price point? 

You guessed it – single-use plastics. That’s why it’s crucial we do everything we can to reduce plastic waste by providing an affordable, sustainable alternative.

Our zero-waste products have to compete with the price point of single-use plastics if we want to stand a chance in the fight against plastic waste. 

The Climate Isn’t Ideal for Bamboo (And Other Sustainable Materials) To Flourish in the United States

Unfortunately, this one is out of our control. We just don’t have tons of bamboo forests in the U.S., and we probably never will. We don’t have the agricultural setup for it.

Bamboo covers over 31 million hectares of forestland worldwide and more than 60% is located in China, Brazil, and India. Even further, 80% of bamboo forests are in Asia!

Bamboo has been nicknamed “wood of the poor” because it’s inexpensive to grow, source, and scale.

Bamboo products are one of the most sustainable options for zero-waste products. China is the most affordable place to buy because they have the most natural supply.

Bamboo can supply many things, including: 

  • More bamboo grown while only taking up a small area of land
  • Environmental benefits like carbon sequestration and erosion control
  • Support rural development and provide a source of income

Bamboo plants and harvested products can store (or avoid) 1.7 times more carbon than some types of trees.

And yes, there’s a carbon footprint mailing these sustainable products overseas. But since we don’t have a perfect solution for affordable zero-waste products, we’re doing what we can with what we’ve got.

As a Zero-Waste Store, We Are Balancing Sustainability + Affordability to Make the Biggest Environmental Impact 

Our goal is not to make the most beautiful zero-waste products (though we’d argue many of ours are beautiful!) 

Our goal is not to be the most popular for the sake of being rewarded. 

Our goal is to fill the void in a marketplace where sustainable products are too expensive for the average consumer.

Our Zero-Waste Products Aren’t Sustainable if They’re Expensive

Logically if we have to charge an arm and a leg for a product made sustainably, it’s likely not going to be sustainable for you as the customer. 

And while there’s definitely the argument that investing in zero-waste products saves you money in the long run, many will fall victim to plastic waste over spending a few extra dollars because, well, it adds up!

By choosing the best combination of sustainability and affordability, we’re serving you as the customer, AND capturing the largest audience possible. This helps us get more zero-waste products and sustainable alternatives in your home and in the world.

The Honest Truth: Either Buy the Plastic From China or the Sustainable Products From China.

This is a hard truth to swallow, but it’s the reality we face. You may not even realize how many companies are sourcing from China. You most likely only do extra research on sustainable products to avoid greenwashing (which we do encourage).

We DO Source Zero-Waste Products From North America Whenever We Can

As a zero-waste store, our core values are founded on authenticity. We would never lie to you. Ask us any question – you’ll always get a truthful answer. That’s the difference between a big brand run by investors and a family-run, local or small business

While we wish there were an affordable and sustainable manufacturer for zero-waste bamboo products and wood-alternative products in the US, we haven’t found one yet. If you’re hard-pressed to keep your money inside the US, we have plenty of zero-waste products NOT made in China, fully stocked in our zero-waste store

Plus many more… 

We’re a Zero-Waste Store With the Environment as Our Priority

At the end of the day, if it’s not affordable, it’s not sustainable. 

That is the easiest way to communicate our heart, message, and our process to you. We want to eliminate the effort of practicing a zero-waste lifestyle so you can enjoy it with ease. 

We believe that the volume of our impact with zero-waste products is what will change the world. Like many things in life, and true to our encouragement to you as the customer, done is better than perfect. 

We can’t get every detail perfect, but we are trying our best, making an impact as we go, and continuing to innovate. We hope you’ll continue to support our dreams for a healthy planet where everyone creates less plastic waste – maybe someday, we’ll even get to ZERO waste!

We’re so thankful that you took the time to read and learn a little bit more about our efforts to bring sustainability to the masses. 

Transparency is valuable, and we thought you deserved to know the real truth – the whole truth. We ARE doing what we believe is best for the environment. Always.

If you know of a sustainable manufacturing company in the United States that might be able to provide affordable, mass-produced zero-waste products, we’d LOVE to hear from you!

- Brian & Beth Twilegar

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