As a college student on a budget, it may feel daunting to invest in a variety of eco-friendly products. Where does one start?

Fortunately, there are many shops and restaurants in Springfield that encourage eco-friendly shopping with special products and discounts.

SOAP Refill Station

210 S. Campbell Ave. 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thursday 12-8 p.m., Sunday closed

SOAP Refill Station, located in downtown Springfield, is popular for its eco-friendly products, including body and laundry soaps, body care oils and lotions, and zero-waste lifestyle living supplies.

The station supplies new containers, but customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles and containers when purchasing soaps, lotions and oils.

Shelby Nelson, SOAP Refill Station employee, said the store has been receiving fewer new containers from its suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now more than ever, it is important to bring in containers you already own and refill them,” Nelson said. “It’s better for the Earth, plus it keeps us from buying containers.”

According to Nelson, if a customer purchases 24 ounces or more of a product, he or she will receive a 10% off discount. If a gallon or more of one product is purchased, a 15% discount is given.

Currently, SOAP Refill Station is operating during regular hours, with deliveries once a week on Fridays. According to their website, customers should bring their own bottles for all in-store and drop-off deliveries.

MaMa Jean’s Natural Market

Various Springfield locations

Monday-Saturday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

MaMa Jean’s Natural Market, with locations at 1727 S. Campbell Ave., 3530 E. Sunshine St. and 1110 E. Republic Rd., encourages the use of reusable products throughout their store as customers enjoy a variety of fresh, organic products.

When a reusable cup is used at the market’s deli, a customer may receive a 30 cent off discount. When checking out, a 10 cent discount is added for each reusable bag used.

However, according to Dani Wolfe, manager at Mama Jean’s Natural Market South on Republic Road, all MaMa Jean’s locations have postponed their discount rewards for reusable products due to COVID-19.

The MaMa Jean’s COVID-19 Response states, “Leave your reusable bags at home during this time to help prevent the spread of germs.”

Although the market may not be rewarding customers at this time, Wolfe stressed the importance of eco-friendly products amid the pandemic.

“With the pandemic comes more waste — disposable masks, gloves and sanitary wipes — and where you can cut back is important,” Wolfe said.

Despite the circumstances, customers can still utilize the HuskeeCup, a reusable coffee cup offered at both MaMa Jean’s and The Coffee Ethic.

The Coffee Ethic

124 Park Central Square

Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Located on Park Central Square, The Coffee Ethic strives to create a welcoming and sustainable atmosphere for coffee connoisseurs. 

As HuskeeCup partners, The Coffee Ethic and MaMa Jean’s Natural Market participate in the HuskeeSwap program.

According to the HuskeeCup website, for customers to become a member of the program themselves, they must bring in a clean reusable cup — not necessarily the official HuskeeCup — to a HuskeeCup partnered business. However, customers will not receive the same cup back, instead they will receive another “commercially cleaned cup.”

The next time a customer is in a partnered business, such as MaMa Jean’s or The Coffee Ethic, they can bring back the cup they received for a new reusable one. Thus, the cycle of swapping begins.

Utilizing the HuskeeSwap program is not only beneficial for the environment, but customers can enjoy a fun cup upon each visit. Perhaps this will make it less tempting to splurge on a new sleek cup.

“You may get a different color, or even mixed cup and lid colors. That’s all part of the fun!” the HuskeeCup website states.

According to a Tweet made by The Coffee Ethic on Aug. 10 of this year, since November 2019, the coffee shop filled “almost 1,500 HuskeeCups.”

“We’re reducing the number of cups that end up in the landfill and promoting public health as every cup is commercially cleaned between uses,” the tweet states. “Let’s keep making the world a cleaner, healthier, happier place one cup at a time!”

These three businesses are just a few of many in Springfield that promotes eco-friendly shopping and living, all while helping community members save a few bucks.

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