BYOB now has another meaning in Evanston. It’s no longer just Bring Your Own Bottle.
At Eco and the Flamingo, a new business on Sherman Avenue downtown, BYOB can also mean Bring Your Own Bag, Bring Your Own Box, or Bring Your Own Bin.
The shop bills itself as “Evanston’s First Zero Waste General Store.” Customers bring their own containers and either buy items in bulk, or smaller things which are not packaged in plastic as you’ll find elsewhere.
Products include soap, shampoo, other health and beauty products, dried foods such as fruit, along with grains. There is also a selection of spices, teas, and coffee beans.
Co-owner Jackie MacCartie says the idea behind Eco and the Flamingo is “to try to keep as many things from the landfill as we possibly can.”
While the store at 1551 Sherman Ave. has been in a “soft opening” for the past couple of weeks, the official grand opening/ribbon cutting was Friday morning. Mayor Daniel Biss and 4th Ward Alderman Jonathan Nieuwsma held the ribbon as MacCartie and co-owner Bethany Barbouti used mega-scissors for the cut.
Katherine Peterson, a customer on grand opening day, said she was “just really happy” to see a store like this in Evanston.
“It’s important to live simply and sustainably,” she said.
Some of the “pour or pack” yourself items include laundry detergent at 24 cents per ounce, hand soap at 30 cents, and a “toilet bowl bomb.” 85 cents apiece for one of those cleaning items.
This is the second Eco and the Flamingo MacCartie and Barbouti have opened. The first one, in Lincoln Square in Chicago, has been in business for nearly two years.
MacCartie said the Lincoln Square shop actually drew some of its customers from Evanston, so opening another store here made sense.
Barbouti added that the store’s philosophy of “sustainable, equitable, and ethical” fits perfectly in Evanston.
The store’s name reflects the philosophy. “Eco” is for ecologically sound and conscious.
“The Flamingo,” MacCartie noted, is also perfect for those who “love color, fun, music, and nature.”
There is a certain irony to Eco and the Flamingo’s location. The store used to be a Subway restaurant, grab-and-go, wrapped-in-paper fast food.
“I did notice a little bit,” said McCartie, that Eco and the Flamingo is completely the opposite.
And actually, you could still apply the better known BYOB to Eco and the Flamingo as well.
Some of the products they sell are liquid. If you want to buy them, Bring Your Own Bottle.