Autor: Carolina Moreira
Last summer, Rodrigo Baião and Alice Couto created “FlipToGreen”, the first online store in the Azores dedicated to the sale of hygiene products, cosmetics and even house products that are “totally free of plastic” and “environmentally friendly”.
The 22 and 20-year-old couple from Terceira Island have always had a special interest in ecology, but it was on a tour of the island that the idea came up.
“We started to notice various disposable masks flying in the streets, as well as plastic bags. We realized that, in the Azores, there was no purely sustainable store that offered alternatives to plastic in everyday products, and we thought it would be an excellent idea to be the first one to do so”, states Rodrigo.
As students of medicine in Lisbon, they were already familiar with these alternatives, as some of their friends “use bamboo brushes and that type of products”.
“At our university, we deal with various sustainability projects and incentives to move to more 'eco-friendly' products, so our goal was to be a completely plastic-free alternative in the Region, as environmentally friendly as possible”, explains Baião.
With this purpose in mind, Rodrigo and Alice created the online store (available through the website www.fliptogreen.com), where they offer, for instance, products for feminine intimate hygiene, such as reusable sanitary towels; oral hygiene products, such as bamboo brushes and toothpastes in glass jars; cosmetic products, such as shampoos and solid conditioners, or bamboo swabs and reusable bamboo straws.
“We also sell household products, such as solid dishwashing detergent, luffa sponges or coconut fiber brushes with a wooden handle, to make it easier to wash the pots, as well as laundry products, such as detergent in strips, in which a strip can hold up to five kilos of clothes”, he adds, noting that all products are purchased in Portugal.
Having as a target audience people between 16 and 50 years old, since “they are the most connected with the issue of sustainability and the most used to purchase online”, Rodrigo Baião reveals that “receptivity has been positive, people say that this is exactly what we needed in the Azores, that is, an environmentally friendly store with alternatives that are not available in the regional market”.
So far, “FlipToGreen” has been selling mainly to Terceira, but there are orders from other islands in the Azores and even from the mainland, with customers getting their orders via CTT.
“Our goal is to be represented in all the islands - for now we are only in Terceira - so that people can purchase their products without paying the postage”, stresses Rodrigo Baião, aiming “to provide easier access to this type of eco-friendly products".
While they work to make this dream come true, they emphasize that, in addition to selling products online, they use FliptoGreen social networks to “give tips to people, to inform them about the impact of plastic on the environment or to provide recipes to minimize waste”; that is, they provide tips for people's daily lives and they raise awareness to the impact of their actions, "because I think that information is the one missing in the Azores”, highlights Rodrigo Baião.