It’s time to ReRoot

Paul Micallef, his wife Christina and brother-in law Jean Paul Farrugia. Photo: Mandy Vella Briffa

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Sustainable living has been a topic of discussion for many years, and as of the past few years we have grown more conscious of the environmental impact we individually have left. “No difference made is too small” is the mantra of the small family business ReRoot, a zero waste and sustainable lifestyle store run by Jean Paul Farrugia, his sister Christina and her husband Paul Micallef.

ReRoot’s goal, the family explains, is “to make sustainable living more accessible and more attractive locally”, by creating a safe space for those seeking ethical and eco products and services. “From cleaning products and accessories, to beauty and self-care essentials, all our products are there to help anyone looking to make this small step forward.”

Reflecting on how ReRoot started, the trio disclose that it all started with “a washed up plastic bottle on a beach in Asia”. While on holiday, “with a beer in one hand and the plastic we collected from the beach in the other, we set out our initial plans for what was to become ReRoot”.

In 2015 alone, ReRoot comment, 30 million tonnes of plastic waste were generated by EU member states, according to the European Environment Agency. Plastic bottles, much like the one the three picked up on that beach, have a 450-year lifespan, and 75% end up in landfills or the ocean. Malta specifically “has been named as one of Europe’s worst performers in reducing plastic waste and also listed as having the lowest recycling rate of plastic packaging waste in the EU”. While ReRoot agree that “the recent ban on the importation of certain single use plastic products is a step in the right direction”, there is still much to do. “Frustrated by these increasingly common sights we knew we needed to make a difference – one way or the other.”

Knowing that their brand stands for a purpose they are so passionate about keeps the three motivated and resilient. Having started their business just before the pandemic hit, on 27 November 2019, ReRoot knew they needed to remain flexible and as level-headed as possible. “The pandemic will continue to affect the global business environment for a while but we’ll continue to remain open to change and adapt our thinking to our customers’ needs and requirements.” In order to remain relevant in the market, they regularly think of new ideas “from events, education and awareness programmes, to new brand concepts and product launches”.

While being an entrepreneur can definitely be tough at times, Jean Paul, Christina and Paul look for the positive moments that bring them joy, like remembering their first customer or receiving a good review. They advise inspiring entrepreneurs to not let fear of failure deter them from starting their business, because hard work and adaptation skills will allow their idea to blossom into success.

What can we as individuals do to live more sustainably? The ReRoot team share with us some encouraging tips and inspiring thoughts. Reducing our footprint can seem overwhelming, so they advise us to start small and allow ourselves to ease into this lifestyle change. “It’s always best to start with the simplest and easiest swaps” like using reusable water bottles and cotton bags rather than their plastic alternatives or “simply swapping your yellow kitchen sponge with a more sustainable sponge or brush”. The little individual changes collectively help us safeguard the environment. This will then lead us to make more sustainable choices naturally, as “ultimately, you’re retraining yourself to think differently”.

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