Check out Boston’s first — and only — one-stop-shop for zero-waste products

Good News Notes:

In Boston’s North End, you can get cannolis, fresh pasta, and now, a wide selection of zero-waste products.

Though Maria Camila Vasco, 23, originally founded Uvida as an online store while she was a senior at UMass Boston, Uvida now occupies a quaint, colorful storefront on Atlantic Avenue. 

Vasco is an immigrant and first-generation entrepreneur, according to Uvida’s website: born in Cali, Colombia, Vasco’s family moved to East Boston when she was 4-years-old. She earned her degree in environmental studies and sustainability in 2020 and felt most called to do something about plastic pollution.

“I found myself becoming really passionate about the plastic pollution problem, because I realized that I was personally contributing to that issue,” Vasco told The Boston Globe. “Plastic lasts for thousands of years when we only use these items for a few months.”

Her first personal step in that direction was the simple purchase of a bamboo toothbrush. On the business side, she pitched her idea for a zero-waste store to UMass Boston’s entrepreneurship scholarship program her junior year. She won $5,000, which she invested in a website showcasing carefully selected products that launched in September 2019.

“It is just such a great alternative, but a lot of people just don’t know about it,” Vasco told the Globe. “I’m trying to spread awareness on the alternatives that are just very simple, still affordable, still accessible, just not as common in the mainstream.”

The pandemic motivated Vasco to build out her website and open the storefront, which her parents — both entrepreneurs themselves — encouraged.

“They told me take that leap of faith, we took that leap of faith 30 years ago and didn’t look back,” Vasco told the Globe….”

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