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A zero-waste supermarket is hitting the streets of Canada

Zero Waste Market
“It is coming without tags. It is coming without packages, boxes or (plastic) bags. What if [conscious consumerism], doesn't come from a traditional store? What if [conscious consumerism], perhaps, means a little bit more?”

via GIPHY

In the epic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” it’s seems like the Grinch was actually talking about the new zero-waste store coming to Vancouver this fall. The upcoming Zero Waste Market, is a grocer dedicated to eliminating plastic and packaging while honing in on food waste.

Consumers play one of the most important roles in changing the world. It may sound dramatic, but each purchase shapes what the world will look like tomorrow. Having the opportunity to explore innovative products and markets that are dedicated to saving the environment, protecting human rights, and ending extreme hunger, allows consumers to exercise their global conscious through their purchases. 

There are more ways than charity to make a better world. Supporting sustainable farming techniques can keep environments healthy. Supporting fair trade companies can help provide sustainable incomes to people across the world.  The consumer has the power to make these a powerful reality. Even their non-purchasing habits can change the world for the better, like bringing a reusable bag and glass jar to the grocery store to transport purchased goods.

One of the co-founders of Zero Waste Market, Brianne Miller, knows that while this initiative is not new, it is important and powerful. She thinks it’s interesting to look into the dynamics behind conscious consumerism and why it’s important to improve any kind of effort towards eco-friendly shopping.

“We always think it’s kind of funny because people are like, ‘This is such a great idea!’ But this is how our grandparents shopped 100 years ago. So, we’ve kind of come so far from that,” she said.

Inspired by the variety of international zero-waste initiatives, Brianne and a friend developed the Zero Waste Market right in Vancouver. Initially too small to be a full service store, they began hosting a series of monthly pop-up shops in Kitsilano last October to kickstart it all.

These monthly pop-up shops offered a unique experience to customers looking for a non-traditional grocery store experience full of chocolate, produce, beverages, coffee, and skin care products. While the plans are set to open the full store, a location has not been confirmed, allowing the pop-up shops to continue until the full store’s official opening.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags or containers to stock up on all the Zero Waste goodies that are offered in bulk at the pop-up shops. The full store opening up in may will follow this same encouragement and may even provide reusable containers for customers to utilize.

Similar to the current pop-up shops, the store opening in the fall will offer a range of locally and ethically sourced products like coffee beans, honey, soap, granola, nuts, and seeds. Zero Waste Market plans to continue to offer a large selection of “ugly” produce, in hopes to really crack down on food waste. In addition, there are plans to offer the option of filling reusable bottles up with wine, oil, and beverages.

The company is interested in making their products as accessible and affordable as possible so that customers can create a demand for products that are ethically sourced and eco-friendly. Other than selling tasty treats and items that may not be used otherwise, the market hopes to educate customers in understanding that their choices affect the environment and because of these choices, they can change what it means to be a consumer.

Jumping from pop-up shops to a permanent store is a big leap for the the Zero Waste Market, but one that is full of possibilities. The full store is expected to open in the fall and contribute to changing the habits of Canadians to fully embrace what it means to be a conscious consumer.

Bonus: If you’re in the Canadian neighborhood (more specifically near the Patagonia store in Vancouver) on Tuesday March 22, from 11 am to 7 pm, Zero Waste Market is hosting another one of its pop-up shops.

Grab your mason jars or your mother’s food containers and check it out!