Vintage store owner is a wonder when it comes to reduce, reuse, recycle

Updated: Nov. 29, 2019 at 1:20 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Kelsey Gibbs has “reduce, reuse, recycle” down to a science and wants to inspire others to use less.

Gibbs proudly showed us the contents of her garbage.

She had three months of waste in a small, reusable bag.

What three months of garbage looks like at Kelsey Gibbs' home. (Source: WECT)
What three months of garbage looks like at Kelsey Gibbs' home. (Source: WECT)(WECT)

“I do this because I think the process we have now, it hurts the human race,” she said. It hurts the environment we live in and it’s not fair to the other species we have to share the planet with.”

She started with small changes.

“It can be overwhelming but just take one piece at a time,” she said. “I haven’t completely overhauled my life. This is just slightly changing my shopping habits for the better.”

Gibbs composts most of her waste.

She keeps a container in her fridge and when it fills up, it goes in a composting bucket outside.

At a cost of $25 a month, Wilmington Compost Company picks up the bucket weekly.

Gibbs also is thoughtful about her shopping.

She doesn’t just carry reusable bags, she brings her own containers and buys in bulk at Tidal Creek Co-Op.

“There’s minimal trash once you start properly recycling and allocating your waste and reducing what you are even using in the first place,” she said.

Some of her methods are not for everyone. She eats only a plant-based diet.

But she believes even a small change can make a huge difference.

For your home, Gibbs recommends taking a trash inventory to see what you’re tossing and make changes accordingly.

“’Reduce, reuse and recycle’ is the saying. We’ve got hooked on recycling,” she said. “It’s great but it’s plan C. We need to focus on reduce and reusing first.”

Kelsey Gibbs talks about how she uses less

Her attitude on this carries over to her work life.

Gibbs owns the Wonder Shop on Front Street in Wilmington.

Kelsey Gibbs owns the Wonder Shop, a vintage boutique in downtown Wilmington .(Source: WECT)
Kelsey Gibbs owns the Wonder Shop, a vintage boutique in downtown Wilmington .(Source: WECT)(WECT)

Where one person’s trash becomes another shopper’s treasure.

“It wasn’t always strictly vintage,” she said. “At first, I carried new clothes but I quickly saw the wastefulness in that direction and am now strictly vintage as of several years.”

She switched to vintage because she was alarmed by the amount of plastic used in retail.

“Every piece of clothing generally that you see in the mall or anywhere is going to come in a plastic bag because that’s how it is shipped from China or Indonesia.”

She even kept a few months’ worth of plastic bags from new clothes to show others how wasteful the retail industry can be.

She was compelled to make her shop an eco-friendly boutique with no plastic, single use bags.

“At the shop, we don’t have much trash,” she said. “I reuse all my tags on string with safety pins, so I don’t have those plastic tagging guns. The items we get in are not in plastic. They’re all locally sourced.”

Gibbs’ shop, just like her lifestyle, is a real wonder.

She wants to remind people that when you throw something away, there is no such thing as “away.”

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