The owner of a zero waste and fulfillment store helps people live without plastic

He was 10 years old and camping with his grandparents when he was struck by the greatness of nature.

“This is a gift that was given to us,” he told CNN. “We live in this area and we have to take care of it.”

Flores is fulFILLed — a zero waste and fulfillment store in Park City, Utah, where customers shop for sustainable home and personal care products. With refillable glass bottles, shoppers can purchase an all-purpose cleaner, shampoo, conditioner or wash by the ounce.

“I have 40 different products that can be customized,” Flores said. “We’re putting out the cleanest products on the market today and you’re buying it without having to buy your junk.”

An evolving mission

Before starting her own business, Flores was a television reporter for 15 years.

“I watched the news with my grandmother when I was seven,” said Flores. “One day he said to me ‘you would be a very good journalist’.”

Towards the end of his journalism career, he focused on environmental storytelling.

He enjoyed informing and educating audiences about pollution and sustainability, but that deeper call with his grandparents compelled him to do more.

It started in a van

Flores left the TV industry in 2017 and opened Utah’s first cell phone store in 2021.

“This was supposed to be my side hustle. I was going to do this while I had my girl job,” Flores said with a laugh.

But that side hustle turned into a full-time career.

“I knew I had to live a life with less plastic. And that’s why I’m trying to help my community. It has to start with consumers.”

Kimberly Flores started her filling business from a van in 2021.

That year, he opened a brick-and-mortar store.

According to a 2020 study, despite efforts to reduce waste, 710 million metric tons of plastic will still be polluting the environment by 2040.

But that doesn’t stop Flores’ mission to educate about low-waste living.

“Thousands of plastic bottles and plastic packages have been saved from the waste stream and landfills since we opened our doors at fulFILLed in October 2021. We don’t have an unlimited supply of resources. We’re going to have to start thinking about reuse and recycling.”

Becoming plastic free

Transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle can be overwhelming and won’t happen overnight. So give me some grace. Flores offered four simple but effective tips to get you started:

  • Grab a reusable water bottle to avoid single-use plastic bottles.
  • Bring your old plastic bags to the grocery store or buy a reusable grocery bag.
  • Carry utensils to reduce the use of plastic.
  • Bring a reusable coffee mug to your favorite coffee shop.

“Plastic is made to last, and it takes more than 400 years to break down,” said Flores. “So the more we try to reduce single-use plastics, the better it will be for our community, our country and our world.”