Jul 11, 2022 - Things to Do

The COLLECTIVE, a zero-waste shop, opens in Des Moines' Highland Park

Jamie Nicolino, owner of THE COLLECTIVE
Owner Jamie Nicolino in her store, THE COLLECTIVE. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios Des Moines

Jamie Nicolino first opened THE COLLECTIVE in a small, 350-foot square store in downtown Des Moines that was connected to her apartment in 2019.

Three years later, the zero-waste store has grown into a bright, open storefront in the Highland Park neighborhood that Nicolino opened July 8.

State of play: Nicolino first realized there was enough demand for her eco-friendly products when, "I started tripping over things," in her old location at AP Lofts.

At the newly-redeveloped store, there's room for all of the existing essentials like re-fillable shampoo and conditioner — as well as new products like bulk face cleansing oil and a compost bin.

What you can find: Everything you use in your morning routine, like toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo, razors, face wash and loofah sponges.

Beyond that, there's kitchenware, gifts, pet items and menstrual products.

  • You can also bring your own clean containers to fill and purchase bulk items like soaps and face cleansing oils.

Tips on becoming sustainable: Start small and begin with one room at a time, Nicolino said.

  • Consider buying reusable "stasher bags" for the kitchen instead of Ziplocs. Once you figure out one product, move on to another.
  • Hide away the thing you're trying to replace to get your household on board. If you're replacing paper towels with regular towels, put them under the sink instead of on the counter.

The bottom line: "What I like to tell people is go slow," Nicolino said. "None of us are doing anything wrong. This is the society that we've grown up in. It's a very throwaway culture."

Open: 11am to 5/6pm Wed.-Fri.; 10am to 3/4pm Sat. and 10am-3pm Sun.; 3523 6th Ave, #101 in Des Moines.

Products available at The Collective
Products available at THE COLLECTIVE in Des Moines' Highland Park. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios
Reusable straws
Reusable straws at THE COLLECTIVE in Des Moines. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios
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