Within the walls of a 600-square-foot shop downtown is a new business designed to help the community lower waste.
After months of pop-ups and attending events, Claremore residents Tonya and John Morton are opening their shop New Perspective on Saturday.
“The point of everything is: no plastic, no waste, less trash,” Tonya said.
The shops grand opening will take place from 2-5 p.m. Saturday at 108 S. Cherokee St.
“We’ve always had this stuff at our house for ourselves – we’ve always used it – but we always had to get it online,” she said. “And I hated that.”
Tonya said they wanted to be able to see and touch the product.
John and Tonya lost their jobs in Tulsa when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Tonya said they had enough money in their savings and decided to do something to help raise awareness of a zero waste life and allow customers to see and feel the product.
“We thought, ‘Why don’t we just bring that to people here so they can see it and feel it?’” she said.
Tonya said they had their first pop-up at Crooked Roots on Earth day, April 22. From there they worked at the Mother Road Market in Tulsa for September and October and set up a booth at the Farm Hippie in Collinsville.
John said they originally bought a trailer and were going to be a mobile shop, but many people would ask where their storefront was.
“It got us thinking, well maybe we do need a physical location so people will know where they can go to get the product,” John said.
When it came to picking a location, John said they’ve lived in Claremore all their lives and wanted to be part of the movement downtown.
“We’ve seen people trying to get the downtown revitalized and we want to be apart of that change,” he said. “We want to bring our input in to the efforts.”
John said COVID has showed them the importance of supporting small businesses.
New Perspective will carry a variety of products related to sustainability and zero waste. Tonya said they are a refill station for products like laundry soap, dish soap, hand soap, etc.
“Anything you can refill, we hope to have,” she said. “Right now it’s small, but we plan to expand it.”
They also carry biodegradable trash bags, deodorant, compost bins, etc.
John said they are always expanding and bringing new products.
“We recently got in biodegradable and compostable trash bags – which I’m super excited about,” he said. “It makes no sense – why are we putting our trash in a plastic bag? This way theres less plastic in the landfill. Just simple things like that.”
The Morton's live in Claremore with their three boys and have always dreamed about having a shop.
“When we first got married 13 years ago, we’d always drive downtown and say, ‘One of these days we’re going to have a store downtown.’” she said.
Tonya said John cooks and always thought they’d have a bakery, but their plans changed.
“The other day I was like, ‘Holy crap. We actually did it,’” she said. “We have a store and I didn’t think about that we used to dream about this all the time.”
Tonya said they will be hosting educational events and classes.
“We hope we can just bring more awareness to how bad this actually is,” she said.
Only 15 years of landfill capacity remain in 2021, according to the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance (SWEEP) organization.
“And then what?” Tonya said.
The ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish, according to the New Plastics Economy report from the World Economic Forum.
Tonya said everything was disposable when COVID hit.
“We thought it was bad before – we went backwards,” she said.
Tonya said living a zero waste life doesn’t need to be done perfectly.
John said just one change could make a difference.
“Just buy one thing,” he said “Buy one thing and make a small difference. It’s still a difference. If nobody’s trying, then nobody's making a difference.”