Jacqui Smith is the founder of ReDo, which has a mission to eliminate single use plastics and reduce waste in Bermuda by offering sustainable and reusable alternatives to disposable items people use everyday
Bermudians would accept more sustainable lifestyles, but change is hampered by the limited options available on the island, lack of education and regulation on where our waste goes, and the impact it has on the environment, our health and wellbeing.
This, from eco-warrior Jacqui Smith, the owner of online start up ReDo, who believes most Bermudians would not accept the quick convenience of plastic forks if it was drummed into them from childhood that those forks will be in a landfill for hundreds of years .
She believes business can do more to offer better alternatives and consumers can demand it.
“Faster change would come,” she said, “if the onus was on the vendor to have it as an option or removed altogether.
“Bermuda is moving in the right direction with the single-use plastic ban, but we have a long way to go before we break Bermuda’s addiction to single use plastic.”
She pegged recycling as an issue in her Bermuda childhood, and turned it into a business as an adult. Her university major her was Environmental Sustainability.
Back at home working for a living, she wanted to start her own business – a side hustle, an environmentally-respectful, consciousness-raising side hustle, selling reusables.
“After moving home in 2016, I quickly noticed how few options we had for sustainable products and everyday items,” she said.
“It felt almost impossible to make eco-friendly choices, especially when it came to shopping. On top of the lack of options, anything eco-friendly tends to be more expensive than the single-use items that most people still opt for.”
An office manager at Lancashire Insurance by day, she said: “I created ReDo to make it easy to shop locally without compromising the environment. My goal was to make it easy, accessible, and as affordable as possible.
“Creating ReDo and showing our community that living a more sustainable lifestyle can be fun, has been great.
“For instance, we just hosted the island’s first ever plastic-free booze cruise. We partnered with BDA Spirits who supplied their delicious, canned drinks and plastic-free waters.”
Above all else, she said, she is dedicated to reducing the reliance on anything single-use and determined to free the island from the “everything is disposable” mentality.
She said: “It was important to me that ReDo felt like it was made for Bermuda and catered to the Bermudian lifestyle. A main focus was on sourcing reusable products made from sustainable materials versus compostable and/or recyclable options given our recycling capabilities.”
Composters will be available at ReDo.
“It’s important to remember that recycling isn’t the (final) solution, especially in Bermuda where our recycling ability is limited. Composting is just one other sustainable action that could be implemented.”
Bermuda’s waste recycling effort has faced its challenges.
She said: “From where and how the products were manufactured, what they were packaged in, how they were shipped and what materials they were made of, I wanted to be sure I was offering products that were better for us and the planet, from start to finish.
“I avoided products that were made with single-use plastic, opted for package-free shipping where I could, and sourced the majority of items from the US to eliminate emissions, where possible. I also tried my best to choose products that were made of materials that could be recycled in Bermuda if needed.”
Ms Smith was the child who tried to remove paper waste from dad’s office. She wanted to pack it for her travel overseas, where paper recycling did exist. She knew there were better ways.
“When I went to college in Canada, I was struck by how widely adopted it is to use products that are better for the environment and how recycling and reusing items wasn’t anything new or novel, just a way of life.”
In the beginning, she was just selling kits in her business, instead of single products, to make it easy to switch to a sustainable lifestyle.
Her refillable products began with soaps and pet shampoo.
“I wanted to offer a service that made it easy to refill essential goods and reduce waste that seems unavoidable. With Bermuda’s recycling capabilities in mind, I chose to use aluminum and glass bottles as these materials are durable, endlessly recyclable and keeps more waste from ending up in our incinerator.”
She added: “Small businesses, restaurants, hotels, or corporate offices can reach out and we can provide sustainable goods or alternatives. This is where we hope to make a large impact on the island and to eliminate the overabundance used in those industries.”
ReDo has no brick-and-mortar presence, a minimal carbon footprint and only weekend deliveries.
Go to her website or Instagram and you might learn a thing or two about recycling.