The Green Bee Owners Are Passionate About Environmentally Responsible Products
Writer & Photographer / Lois Tomaszewski
In the ecologically minded community, the holy grail of green living is with zero waste. That means everything used is either sustainable or recycled, and nothing goes to the landfill. The Green Bee in Goshen is helping people make strides toward this goal by helping to eliminate single-use plastic containers.
The business is owned by sisters Brandy Nichols and Ashley Anglemyer.
“We haven’t always been living this plastic-free lifestyle,” says Anglemyer. “We never wanted to throw anything away. Repurposing has always been a passion.”
That passion is reflected in the product lines of their store. Part of the business focuses on offering products like liquid detergent, cleaning solutions, and shampoos that can be purchased by the ounce and poured into a recycled plastic bottle repeatedly. This part of the business is referred to as the refilling station.
After visiting a refilling station in Kalamazoo, Nichols and Anglemyer thought it would be a good concept to bring to Goshen. They started out selling their products at the local farmers market before opening the store.
They wanted to make the store friendly and welcoming, especially to people taking that first step into eliminating plastic by refilling liquid products.
“Visiting a refilling station can be intimidating and overwhelming to people who are unfamiliar with the products,” says Anglemyer. “We don’t want that to keep people away.”
If refilling liquids is not what the customer wants to do, many products are available in bar form. The Green Bee stocks bar shampoos, soaps, dishwasher tablets, and other products that have a long shelf life and work just as well as water-based liquids.
The liquid refills and the bar products are mostly all plant based – another component of helping people live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
“These are good choices,” Nichols says.
Nichols and Anglemyer agree that completely eliminating plastic from lifestyles can also be intimidating.
“Even one swap can make a difference,” Anglemyer says.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging made up the most plastic tonnage in municipal solid waste in 2018, at over 14.5 million tons. This category includes bags, sacks and wraps; other packaging; polyethylene terephthalate bottles and jars; high-density polyethylene natural bottles, and other containers.
Another part of the business is putting green-focused artists and entrepreneurs on display in a retail area. This area is designed to support sustainable and environmentally friendly products that are perfect for gifting eco-consciously, as their website states.
The Green Bee sells recycled T-shirts adorned with slogans, totes made from recycled plastic bags, tea blends, and other great gift items for everyone including pets.
Nichols says people may not think about shopping at The Green Bee for gifts, but choosing something from the store’s inventory is a good decision. “These are locally made and more meaningful than finding something at a big retailer,” she says.
On one wall known as the Waste Less Wall, a metal rack with bins suggests that the community take advantage of things no longer needed and turned into The Green Bee. Products like tissue paper, bubble wrap, bottle caps and fabric scraps can be recycled there.
It is difficult for Nichols and Anglemyer to describe their typical customer.
“They don’t fit into a mold,” says Nichols, adding that some are vegan and some are not.
I love The Green Bee and the mission these girls have taken on. Because of them I am able to fulfill my desire for less waste but also what is going into our water ways. They get this and try to preserve this as well. There is not much in the store that I am not using thanks to them. lol.