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The Journey


Catherine Miller

Catherine was raised in an Air Force family, moving fairly frequently. Austin, Texas was always homebase. In 2007 she rooted herself in Denver, working in finance, mental health and dental anesthesia. Two children later, it became increasingly important to 1) simplify the household, 2) put value back into society's collective resources, and 3) support community connection.

The only way to meet these goals was to create a community resource that impacted all three points. She started hosting recycle drives and documenting her zero-waste journey through social media. While capturing some of the community's waste through recycling was empowering, she dreamed of preventing waste in the first place. The Balanced Exchange was born as a way to use business to benefit the community in multiple ways. Follow Catherine's personal sustainability journey on Facebook or Instagram @cats.pause.

How It Came To Be

Catherine dreamed of starting a zero waste supply store since her first baby was born in 2016. She looked for ways to increase access to sustainable options and started neighborhood recycle drives under the name Thistle Hill Zero Waste as a simple way to start the process of building a business.

In 2019 she invited fellow sustainability advocate, Carrie Martin-Haley, to join the journey of building the zero waste supply store. They were ready to blaze new trails and create new systems by bridging the wisdom of past generations with the reality of today's world.


As of August 2020, Catherine and Carrie continue their missions through separate shops. Catherine is living her dream as owner and operator of The Balanced Exchange and Carrie owns her own zero waste shop, Summit Sustainable Goods.


The Balanced Exchange continues providing access to responsible and local household goods, shortening our supply chain for essential goods and furthering the shift from our current linear system (take, make, waste) to a circular economy (designing waste out of the system).

While a brick-and-mortar location is in the works for The Balanced Exchange, enjoy the convenience of:

  • Delivery with Container Exchange (often by bike)

  • Mail Orders

  • Porch Pickup in Park Hill, Denver

  • Booths/Markets 

Follow the journey and join in the conversation about system change through social media: Facebook @thebalancedexchange and Instagram  

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