The Sister Collective

I’m so excited to tell you about a women-owned business specializing in sustainability/zero waste products! With COVID lockdowns and restrictions, zero waste practices have become a real struggle. So being able to purchase sustainable products online that are shipping in compostable packaging has been extremely helpful. That’s where The Sister Collective steps in.

Owners Alisa and Daniella are dedicated to bringing you eco-friendly, sustainable essentials for you and your home, so we can all live healthier, greener and more sustainably. I asked Alisa what inspired her to begin her business and what continues to motivate her.

Here’s what she said:

“A friend of mine, Danielle, and I founded the Sister Collective with the goal of making it easier for people to make lasting, eco-friendly changes in their daily lives.  We share a belief that millions of people want to make choices that are better for our oceans, health and planet, but that it’s not always clear where to start.  Our goal is to reach and inspire as many people as possible as to how easy and impactful simple changes can be.  We’ve seen time and again how that first change can lead to another, and another, and so on; and when millions of people are all on this path, we can actually collectively make an impact. I will also note that there are so many amazing people who have already adopted and live a zero waste or low-waste lifestyle, and we are proud to have many in our community.  Our goal is to encourage and serve people wherever they are on their journey.

I have had so many points of inspiration over the years that ultimately lead us to create the Sister Collective. Although we’ve, of course, always done the basics, like recycling, I can still remember the first time I saw the Story of Stuff video 10+ years ago which completely transformed how I think about consumption, our economy and waste. My sister had sent that to me, on top of being a constant source of information and inspiration to me over the years – introducing me to reusable straws, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable bags, composting and so much more so many years ago. 

All that said, my two daughters are my ultimate inspiration.  They are young and I owe it to them to do what I can to help make the world a better place.  My particular interest in reducing waste was perhaps most nurtured by my oldest daughter, who was a finalist in the National Geographic GeoChallenge for initiatives she and her team pursued around reducing plastic usage.  It is critical to the next generation that we help change hearts and minds today, leading to significantly greater numbers of people making choices daily with the environment in mind.  In doing so, we believe we can collectively make a big impact, and all live healthier, greener and more sustainably.” – Alisa, The Sister Collective

Online stores like The Sister Collective are also vital to those in areas that have little to no sustainable products available to them locally.

The first thing I noticed about The Sister Collective is their unique and novel choice of packaging: a plant based material that is labeled as backyard compostable:

At first, I was weary. I’ve seen a lot of material labeled as “compostable” but when you read the label, it really says you have to take it to some mystery facility to actually process it. But on these bags, in easy to read language, it promises to be backyard compostable:

These bags are made from a company called NoIssue. From their site: “Made from a combination of corn-based biopolymers, the Compostable Mailer composts in 6 months (180 days) and is certified for both home and commercial compost.”

Now, I didn’t want to wait 6 months to post about this, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for their transparency.

Now for the good stuff!

The Sister Collective sent me a sample of their GreenLife reusable bags for an honest review.

The average American can use anywhere from 1 to 5 single-use ziplock bags every day. Thats 365 to 1,825 plastic bags going into the trash annually. These single-use bags are NOT recyclable and many are still made with BPA (like Walmart brand bags and plastic wrap). One reusable bag like this Greenlife bag could replace all those bags.

From their site:
“Greenlife bags are made from food-grade, eco-friendly PEVA material that is BPA-free and PVC-free. Zip-close, freezer-safe, washable and durable with air tight closure and leakproof design to keep food fresh longer. Perfect for lunches, snacks, leftovers, food and pantry storage. The Sampler Bundle is a great way to sample each bag, including 2 of our ever-popular reusable sandwich bags, plus a snack bag, gallon bag and stand-up reusable food bag. Find your favorite size, and you can always come back for more.”

The Sister Collective

I really like these bags over Stasher Bags, which was purchased by Johnson & Johnson in 2019. Greenlife bags are significantly lighter and easier to rinse out. Their transparency is great for packing your liquid items for carry-ons (back when flying was a thing), and because they’re thinner, they seem to fit a bit more than the Stasher bags.

Stasher bags are made out of platinum silicone, a silicone rubber that only uses platinum (a precious metal and finite resource) as a catalyzer for its production. Greenlife bags are made from a material called PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate). PEVA is somewhat trendy because it is a chlorine-free alternative to standard PVC (polyvinyl chloride). According a 2014 article from The Journal of Toxological Sciences, “PEVA is also a phthalate-free and biodegradable, which makes it currently a popular alternative to PVC. The absence of chlorine has been shown to considerably reduce harmful off-gassing” (TT Meng).

This is some serious improvement! But PEVA is still a petrochemical, and even though it may not release chlorine, it may still release other VOCs. So the takeaway is these products are not supposed to be a fancier alternative to the standard single-use Ziplock bag when your intention is to use them once, maybe twice, and dispose of them the same way. These should be purchased with the intention that you will reuse them and take care of them to ensure their longevity.

These bags are great for work, kid’s school lunches, travel, car snacks, beach days, or any other time you might need a small bag that zips closed.

So in summary: I definitely prefer Greenlife bags over my old Stasher bags — which I ended up using for storing first aid supplies since their a bit clunky for everyday on-the-go activities.

The Sister Collective sell a wide variety of sustainability staples, like Beeswax Wraps, which I have not used from their company personally, but have used this brand and have found it to be one of the best!

Beeswax Wraps (photo credit: The Sister Collective)

***this is not a paid endorsement. The Sister Collective gifted a sample of their GreenLife Reusable bags for an honest review.

Sources:

Meng TT. Volatile organic compounds of polyethylene vinyl acetate plastic are toxic to living organisms. J Toxicol Sci. 2014;39(5):795-802. doi: 10.2131/jts.39.795. PMID: 25242410.

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