The time has come to say goodbye to our life’s project and our chosen cause for the last 10 years. Now is the right time to close Sinplastico.
Believe us, it has not been an easy decision to make, neither on a personal level nor professionally.
Above all because, for our team, Sinplastico is not just a job but also a cause we feel passionate about supporting.
Why we have decided to close Sinplastico
Our beginnings as a social cooperative
If you have been part of our community for some time, no doubt you already know that our small social cooperative was born in 2012 when Javier and Marion, a couple of environmental activists, got together to find a solution for reducing and avoiding the use and abuse of single use plastics.
At that time, there were already people and associations that were asking the government for a solution to this problem through conventional activist pathways. However, we realised that the message needed to be communicated in a different way, teaching people that living plastic-free could be simple and by offering alternatives to disposable plastics.
It was then that we decided to create a project that would not only attract attention and reveal the overuse of disposable plastics, but also offer tips and advice about living a plastic-free from a positive standpoint.
We decided to create an initiative that would not only attract attention and reveal the overuse of disposable plastics, but also offer tips and advice about living a plastic-free from a positive standpoint.
We rolled up our sleeves and got to work in 2014 opening Sinplastico: the first shop in Europe with a zero waste and plastic-free philosophy.
When plastic-free living became a trend
The beginning was not easy. People thought the idea of life without any plastic was strange and they were surprised to hear when we explained the impact this material could have on the environment and our health.
Perhaps for this exact reason, we started to receive requests for interviews from local media who were asking themselves: Who are these freaks setting out on a path to plastic-free living?
That is how, along with this blog, our mission of bringing awareness to this issue began. This was work that we believed would only come to an end when our message had reached the wider society, as only then would it no longer be necessary.
Since then, the zero waste and plastic-free movement has grown from being a marginal lifestyle of a few to becoming a mainstream trend:
- a lot of people have joined the zero waste movement
- many companies have created plastic-free product lines
- the number of shops selling eco-friendly and bulk products has grown
- books have been written on the topic: Marion wrote “Familias sin plástico” (Plastic-Free Families) and on our website alone there are 12 others suitable for all ages.
- we have recorded radio programs and we have appeared in press articles and on Spanish TV channels such as La 2 and La Sexta
- we have given talks and presentations at conferences to help loads of people start on their journeys to reducing their plastic use
- even laws have been passed that limit the use of plastic bags and single use disposable plastic products. In Europe, the 2019 directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, and in Spain the recent Law over Waste and Contaminated Soil for a Circular Economy (Ley de Residuos y Suelos Contaminados para una Economía Circular).
This makes us happy because finally society has recognised the huge problem that single use plastic presents.
However, as we told you in this article about how the market can get hijacked by awareness, this “boom” has resulted in the arrival of strong and brutal competition that often promotes zero waste offers that somewhat betray the cause, with which a small social enterprises like ours are unable to compete.
Our reasons for saying goodbye to Sinplastico
This is the main reason why we are saying “adiós”.
It is not because we feel what we do has become unnecessary, it’s because we can’t (and don’t want to) face the savage competition that is currently present in the online zero waste market.
This type of intense competition has caused other consequences:
- We have found ourselves forced to change our message:
We used to talk about the environmental problems caused by excessive plastic use, but recently our talks have been centred around revealing the greenwashing of certain companies and brands (such as the fake eco products out there and how some companies manipulate the facts in order to sell). This has caused an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and a distrust in the community around us.
- We have to fight teeth and nail to get even a minor mention in the news:
These days we are being inundated with bad news and this makes it difficult to get plastic-free living the attention it deserves in the media. The last two years have been challenging when it comes to educating and raising awareness (and this situation continues) as our message “doesn’t sell any more” (the exact words we were told when our latest interview was cancelled).
- In order to go on we would have to compromise our values:
We have always wanted to be the spring from which a river of shops like ours were born, both physical and online stores, that make living without plastic easier. And although we have achieved that, the river has become a ranging out of control torrent
Now, large distribution chains and online shops with enormous pockets and investor backing have come in and:
– Are selling zero waste and plastic-free products alongside other considerably contaminating products and/or ones that are not made very ethically.
– At the same time they invest tens of thousands of euros in online advertising using questionable methods (such as using our business name in Google Ads so that their website appears higher on the search list than ours).
– Play unfairly by dropping their prices unscrupulously to stifle small zero waste businesses with narrower profit margins.
As much as it hurts, there is little we can do to combat this because it would mean compromising our values and giving into capitalist rules of “every man and women for themselves”.
And that is not the spirit and soul of a project like Sinplastico.
- We need to take care of ourselves
At this point in time we are feeling completely physically and emotionally exhausted. Sinplastico has become a project that demands a lot of energy, but at the same time offers little in return (of any type) and there is no sign of improvement. As always, we defend a culture of taking care of others, but now we find ourselves in a situation where we need to care for ourselves.
We believe our mission of raising awareness and educating around this topic has been achieved.
Now it is time to pass the baton over to others who can keep spreading the message, and that is why we have decided to hang up our gloves.
We have a lot to be thankful for
We are not going to lie to you. We are very sad to be leaving this project behind, as it has given us a lot of joy.
However, on the other hand, we are also walking away very satisfied:
- With the satisfaction of knowing that we started this movement that has become something big.
- With the pride of knowing that we have always offered the best and that we put quality, respect for the planet and people above everything else (something that not all companies out there can honestly say).
- And with our hearts full of appreciation for all the people we have worked with for last decade.
Thanks to the Sinplastico team: for your hard and tireless work. We leave behind an exceptional team, that is more like a family than a group of co-workers.
Thanks to all the collaborators we have counted on over the years, but in particular 2 that have been fundamentally important for our project: to the team at Labox, for helping us with our online shop with care and attention on our terms, and to Alba Sueiro Román who has helped us put into words everything we have wanted and needed to say.
And of course, last but by no means least, thanks to you our customers: for allowing us to come inside your homes, because the conversations we’ve had with you have helped us to grow, improve and learn non-stop. You are more like a community than just customers. We will never forget you.
And now what?
From now moving forward we will continue the activist work that we started 10 years ago, however from our own personal standpoints.
We would also like to encourage you to keep supporting the cause of zero waste living and to continue choosing to buy from small businesses with values, as you did ours.
One last thing, during these last days for Sinplastico we need to empty our warehouse, so we will be offering discounts and giveaways while our stocks last.
This means, if you need any zero waste products or you would like to give a plastic-free gift to your nearest and dearest, we would really appreciate it if you would head over to our e-shop and help us to sell out.
20% store-wide discount
Help us sell out of our plastic-free products:
Share this information with your friends and family,
tell your community,
and make the most of this discount and spoil yourself.
Thank you for the last 10 years.
Marion, Javier and the Sinplastico Team.