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“There were no other options for convenient zero-waste shopping,” says Emily Sproule, founder of low-waste grocery delivery service Jarr. “I was a full-time busy mom, and I just felt like I could not reduce the packaging waste in my house, and I kept waiting for some big company to sort this out. I started to get kind of angry at the system. I thought, ‘Why don’t I just do this myself?’” And that’s exactly what she did.
Jarr is a package-free and low-waste grocery and household supplies delivery service in Vancouver. They use mason jars to package their items and utilize car-sharing services and bike delivery to make purchases even more environmentally-conscious. Sproule launched the company a couple months into the pandemic last year (because what better timing than peak hoarding season for getting the essentials without having to leave your house). “At first it felt like it was terrible timing, and then it all worked out to be the perfect time,” Sproule remembers. “We were embraced by the community. So many people were wanting reusables at the time, and they didn’t want to be in the grocery stores.”
Why use mason jars as packaging? Because they’re cute. Another logical reason – they’ve got multi-use value. The number of items that a mason jar can store are endless. I am currently am using one to store my pens and pencils, and another as a vase. Jarr does have a return program that pays you for bringing back your aesthetic containers (that they then sanitize and reuse), but they’re not too worried if all the jars don’t find their way back, because they’re probably being just as useful wherever they are.
Jarr’s goal is to reduce as much packaging waste as possible. That means expanding to cities in the GVA, and working with more local suppliers to support earth-friendly production.
As for tips on tackling the overwhelming concept of zero-waste, Sproule advises: “You don’t need all the products out there, you can start with what you have. Look at the garbage you currently have, identify the biggest source of it and find ways to minimize that—it’s a great place to start.” Going from zero to 100 isn’t the best route to take. “Start with one or two items per week to focus on eliminating and go from there.”