The zero-waste movement is all about reducing single-use items and to answer this growing interest to become more environmentally conscious, Toronto has seen an uptick in package-free pop-up shops and brick-and-mortar stores like the new bare market in the city’s east end.
“Bare market is Toronto’s one-stop shop for package-free goods. We offer body care, home care, do-it-yourself ingredients, and food in bulk to help consumers reduce waste,” said owner Dayna Stein.
Customers bring their own clean, dry and unchipped containers before shopping for produce, dry goods, and cleaning products. The containers are weighed so customers are only charged for the products purchased. The shop also has reusable containers available for purchase as well as a container lending program with a deposit.
Katrina McGuire, an aspiring zero-waste consumer, said she has been shopping this way for years.
As the co-administrator for the Facebook group Zero Waste Toronto and the founder of Danforth Reduces, McGuire said she has kitchen shelves filled with glass jars, reusable plastic containers and used but cleaned Ziploc bags she saves for freezing fruits and veggies.
One of the first things to go as part of her zero-waste shopping philosophy was her dependency on paper towels, so instead McGuire said she cut up old tea towels to dry hands and clean up small messes.
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During a recent trip to bare market, she filled her reusable shopping bag with all of her glass and plastic containers.
“A lot of the major (grocery) chains are not moving fast enough and I think you have to get creative when you’re shopping there, but also you need to remember to bring your own container too,” said McGuire.
And more people are seemingly making the green shift. The number of Toronto residents who have joined the Facebook group Zero Waste Toronto, which McGuire said was at 2,000 members 18 months ago, has grown to more than 7,000 members today.
“I think that everyone can pick one thing a month and start that way,” said McGuire.
“It’s not perfect but the zero-waste community in Toronto is actually growing… and we’re all here to help each other and give advice.”
Bare market, located at 1480 Danforth Ave., has been in soft-launch mode recently, but Stein said more products are expected to arrive on the store’s shelves soon.
“We’re trying to make it as easy and convenient for consumers as possible because we’re trying to nudge a behaviour change,” she said.