This month Canada pledged to implement a ban on single-use plastics as part of an international mission to reduce the catastrophic levels of disposable plastic that are clogging the earth’s oceans and waterways. But for those of us who can’t wait for the legislation to go into effect in 2021, we’ve put together a list with 10 of the best zero waste shops in Canada.
At one time a miraculous innovation that redefined “convenience” for the better part of a century, plastics have quickly become the bane of our existence. From the ubiquitous landfills and waste sites to the nation-sized islands of garbage on the high seas, plastic is everywhere. And it’s here to stay, because it takes millions of years to biodegrade.
But we are overdue for a new paradigm. The time has come to curb our use of plastics and adopt a more sustainable way of living. That means reusing everything we can, and getting away from disposable packaging, single-use shopping bags and throwaway utensils.
Thankfully there has been a shift of consciousness in recent years. More importantly, we are seeing a change in behavior. More people are bringing their own bags, doing away with disposable containers, and looking for more responsible options. And to meet that demand for eco-conscious alternatives, here are some of Canada’s best zero waste shops.
Zero Waste Stores in British Columbia, Canada
We’re working hard for a just food system, one that supports a thriving local economy and connects people with their food.
We make it easy to shop. Just fill up your containers (or use ours if you forget yours!) and buy as little or as much as you need. Want three eggs instead of a dozen? Go for it! One sprig of cilantro instead of the whole bunch? You bet! Our goal is to empower shoppers (like you!) to decrease food waste and unnecessary packaging, making your food experience more enjoyable and less wasteful.
675 East Broadway @ Fraser, Vancouver, BC
Greens Organic + Natural Market gives you an alternative for organic produce, premium meats, baked goods, fresh seafood, health products and more-all conveniently located at West Broadway and Maple St.
Sure, we’re butchers, grocery managers and cashiers, but we’re also proud members of your community. We sell healthy, environmentally-friendly products because we care about our families, our friends and ourselves.
Like you, we’re committed to limiting our impact on the environment by buying locally, composting and recycling. In fact, we’re one of the first grocery stores to take on Metro Vancouver’s Zero waste challenge.
Plus, we’re 100% Canadian owned and operated, so going green has never felt better!
1978 West Broadway @ Maple, Vancouver, BC
The Soap Dispensary (est. 2011) is Vancouver’s first dedicated refill shop specializing in premium soaps, household cleaners, personal care products, DIY ingredients and fine edibles. We also carry quality lifestyle goods that support zero waste living. In 2017, we opened Kitchen Staples, Vancouver’s first zero waste grocery store right next door. We have now grown to about 800 bulk products for refilling.
Refilling containers keeps single-use plastics out of landfills, watersheds and energy-intensive recycling systems. Bring your own, or purchase one of our reusable containers and have them refilled again and again. Our products are biodegradable and selected for minimal impact on human and environmental health. For those who have children or sensitivities or allergies, there are many options that are gentle and scent-free. We strive to bring pure, local, organic and fair-trade ingredients whenever possible.
As a small, independent shop, we feel lucky to work with so many socially and environmentally responsible businesses that are based right in Greater Vancouver. At last count, 65% of our suppliers are locally owned and 80% of our soaps are locally made.
3718 Main, Vancouver, BC
Zero Waste Stores in Ontario, Canada
NU is a grocery store, but it is also a platform to educate and raise awareness about waste. Our mission statement says it all: NU is on a mission to eliminate waste and reinvent consumption.
When you shop the NU way, you create no packaging waste. Nothing at all. You also reduce food waste and save money because you only buy the quantities that you really need.
What if you don’t have containers with you? No problem. We know that it’s impossible to plan every purchase!
We offer free compostable paper bags for dry products, and we lend clean ready-to-use jars for wet products. We ask for a small deposit that is reimbursed when you return the jars.
Of course, if you don’t have containers yet, you can also create your own kit by choosing from the reusable jars, bottles and cotton bags that we offer for sale.
1130 Wellington Street West, Ottawa (Hintonburg neighbourhood)
They’ve partnered with some of the coolest eco-conscious brands to offer shoppers in the GTA, to provide a sustainable, refillable beauty, self-care and home care shopping experience. Zero waste. Packaging free.
30 Bertrand Ave. Unit C9, Scarborough, ON M1L 2P5
Toronto’s first and only soap delivery company offering premium, Canadian-made, environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic, soaps and detergents for home and personal care. They bulk-buy all their products and deliver them to you in reusable glass mason jars. Saponetti started for people who want the convenience and savings of purchasing fabulous soaps in bulk, without the throwaway factor.
615c Brock Avenue, Toronto, ON M6H 3P1
With the increasing amount of waste we produce as a society, it’s time to change the way we shop.
We want to make it easy for you to make sustainable choices by carefully curating products that are local, organic, vegan, plastic free, palm oil free, and packaging free whenever possible.
We offer package-free bulk goods like dry nuts, seeds, beans, dried fruit, grains, flours, pasta, spices, teas, coffee, cooking oils, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and laundry detergent. We also have a wide selection of local products including Ontario-grown produce, fresh bread, ice cream, chocolates, hummus, nut milks, kombucha (on tap!), kimchi, soaps, and cosmetics made right here in Kitchener-Waterloo. Additionally, we have a great selection of reusable safety razors, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, reusable lunchware, reusable feminine hygiene products, and reusable produce bags.
110 King St S, Unit B, Waterloo, ON N2J 1P5
Zero Waste Stores in the Province of Québec
As a zero-waste ecological grocery store, LOCO is committed to providing a full range of food products and everyday, healthy, environmentally friendly and unpackaged products.
Addressing citizens concerned about their health and their ecological impact, LOCO offers a concrete solution to adopt a lean lifestyle, a healthy diet while encouraging a local economy.
With three locations in the Montreal area
- LOCO Villeray: 422 Jarry, Montreal, Quebec, H2P 1V3 (438) 386-7345 (Jarry Subway)
- LOCO Verdun: 4437 Wellington, Verdun (Quebec), H4G 1W6 (438) 476-4794 (Metro from Church and Verdun)
- LOCO Brossard: 7800 boul. Taschereau, Brossard, Quebec, J4X 1V7 (450) 904-2577
The Éco-Boutique operates in addition to the services of the non-profit organization Éco de la Pointe-aux-Prairies, with the aim of providing local access to these types of products since 2018. This service is also set up to make citizens aware of zero-waste source reduction and lifestyle.
9140 Boul. Perras, Rivière-des-Prairies, QC
L’Ecale Vert aims to educate the public about the health and environmental benefits of using eco-friendly products. To meet this goal, they offer products that encourage Fair Trade practices. They source as many local products as possible to reduce the impact of transportation and packaging. They also provide a range of bulk, reusable and zero waste products to minimize environmental impacts.
- 10416, rue Lajeunesse, Montreal (514) 447-6232
- 5765, boul. Gouin Ouest, Montréal (514) 856-9053
For more tips on environmentally responsible shopping in Canada, take a look at some of these other articles.
PHOTO CREDIT: Customer Appreciation Day at NU Grocery in Ottawa, via FaceBook