Sustainable Living Made Easy

PHOTOS BY VICTOR BUDNIK

Prostainable brings sustainable home goods to Granada Hills

In February 2022, Laura Yochum opened the second branch of her sustainable home goods and refill shop, Prostainable, in Granada Hills. Th e original, in Woodland Hills, opened in October 2019. Both are low-waste stores designed to make sustainable domestic life easy, beautiful and fun.

Yochum’s advice for anyone embracing zero- waste intentions is to start small. “Baby steps,” she advises me when I confess to a grotesque use of paper towels in my own kitchen. She then proceeds to confirm that “the kitchen is the most wasteful room in our home, mostly because of food waste.”

She advises her customers that the kitchen, along with the laundry room, is a great place to start reducing your household waste, noting that “the bathroom is very personal—that may take longer.” Her practical advice in the kitchen is to use up the plastic sponges and brushes that you have, then switch them out for loofah sponges and wooden or bamboo brushes, all of which are compostable. Bamboo and glass straws are also practical and popular choices.

“Dish soap is an easy one,” she adds. At Prostainable, customers can refill their own containers with dish soap that’s grey-water safe, which means you can water your garden with the same water you have used to wash your dishes. Yochum sources her 55-gallon drums of dish soap, laundry liquid and hand soap from Los Angeles, saving on shipping waste and supporting the local economy.

Another way Yochum supports the local economy is with a “local goods corner” at Prostainable. This allows vendors to rent shelf space in the front of the store to showcase their goods. Vendors include flower farmer Pia Villasenor, whose dried flowers have been used in Yochum’s candles and soaps, as well as jewelers, ceramicists and small-batch skincare product producers.

In addition to the products she sources locally and beyond, Yochum is a product producer herself. She is certified in permaculture design, a program she completed right as the world was shutting down with COVID, with the goal of making soaps, beauty products and cleaning products with ingredients from her garden. These include lavender, orange rinds, rosemary and rose petals. She also uses native sage purchased from Theodore Payne, a San Fernando Valley–based nonprofit nursery specializing in California native plants.

Laura Yochum, seen here inside her second Prostainable refill shop in Granada Hills, is certified in permaculture design and uses the extra space in the store for workshops, clothing consignment and to make her own locally sourced products. Besides grey-water-safe dish or hand soap and laundry detergent refills, customers can find sustainably made products from kitchenware to pet cleanup.

The Granada Hills location of Prostainable is twice the size of the Woodland Hills site, which gives Yochum the space to both make products and hold workshops on subjects like cold-pressed soap and candle making. It also allowed her to test a consignment concept for secondhand fashion, where instead of cash back Yochum provides store credit. The endeavor has been so successful, she’s now doing it at both locations. What she doesn’t resell is donated to Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, a nearby nonprofit.

Yochum’s community outreach also included sponsoring an internship for Cal State University Northridge’s (CSUN) Sustainability Program, which she plans to do again in 2023.

In addition to the two retail locations, Prostainable goods are available online at Prostainable. com, where users can sign up for Yochum’s weekly newsletter, Sustainable Saturdays. It is a one- to two-minute read on all things sustainability. A recent newsletter highlighted where to recycle common items, from underwear to appliances. It’s further proof of Yochum’s commitment to Prostainable’s mission: “to make you feel as good as we do about living in a sustainable home.”

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Winter 2023

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