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Ray's Reusables went from a passion project to a business that brings sustainable shopping to eco-friendly Philly residents. Photo Courtesy of Ray Daly.
Ray's Reusables went from a passion project to a business that brings sustainable shopping to eco-friendly Philly residents. Photo Courtesy of Ray Daly.

Ray’s Reusables in Northern Liberties offers greener alternatives to Philly locals

While Ray Daly was teaching high school English, she was also thinking about what she could do to help the planet.

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Ray Daly was always a crafty person who loved creating items from materials some people would throw out. She couldn't see potential materials ending up in a landfill.

This is why Daly decided to quit her job as a high school teacher and focus on selling upcycled denim by making pouches and bags out of jeans that were too worn out to go into thrift stores.

Amid the pandemic she was able to get a hold of an RV and began to sell her items through it by heading to farmers markets in the van.

She began selling eco-friendly cleaning supplies, household items, and hygiene products for locals who were searching for a healthier alternative to popular brand items that may not be environmentally friendly.

However, all of the markets that she was excited about going to were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But that didn't stop her from helping her community.

“I was able to pivot into making masks and donating masks to community organizations and from there I jump started my plan to do this with the van,” Daly said in an interview with AL DÍA News.

Through her van, Daly was able to head to different events in Philly like the East Falls Market and the Pretzel Park Farmers Market in Manayunk.

Daly said that she really loves how attending farmers markets gives her the chance to speak with her customers one-on-one. 

“I want to show them that living more sustainably is easier than what it seems and I want to make it easier for them,” she said.

But she wanted to do something more while also keeping her RV, which is why she began searching for a store front.

Her dream came true on March 13, 2022, when she officially opened her own store in Northern Liberties called, Ray’s Reusables.

“The neighborhood has been really really receptive and actually had quite a few people who were living on this side of the city who said they could never make it to my pop ups because it was always on the other side of the city,” said Daly.

Her larger space gives her the advantage of adding more products to sell and more space for her customers to shop at their convenience. 

She has refillable shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, dish soap and hand soap.

“I also have other items that generally help you reduce single disposable waste,” she said. “We have bags that'll help you replace plastic bags, we have shampoo and conditioner bars if you want to try that out.”

Ray Daly believes consumers have the power to effect change by investing in quality reusable and refillable solutions and invest in the health of the environment. Photo Courtesy of Ray Daly.
Ray Daly believes consumers have the power to effect change by investing in quality reusable and refillable solutions and invest in the health of the environment. Photo Courtesy of Ray Daly.

The process of refilling your household items is simple.

People are able to bring what they have at home. It just has to be clean, dry and empty when it comes to the shop for safety reasons.

She also has a bottle buy back program. If a customer is washing something out and letting it dry isn't something you have time for, or if they are coming in with your kids or their dogs, they can grab a bottle and take it with them.

Daly will then buy it back from the customer for a quarter of what it costs and send it off to her partner organization to wash and sanitize, while also giving her customers a discount on their next purchase.

As for now, Daly is taking the time to focus on her brand new storefront and her RV. 

“Putting my focus and energy here and putting down deep roots rather than spreading out is more my style right now,” said Daly.

If you are in the neighborhood, check out Ray’s Reusables on 935 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA.

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