3 Vancouver Shops That Encourage a Waste-Free Lifestyle

Skip the packaging and minimize your environmental footprint at these local stores.

Skip the packaging and minimize your environmental footprint at these local stores.

Imagine entering your favourite grocery store to buy a week’s worth of goods. You stock up on your morning coffee, produce and protein. But when you get home to start cooking, you realize that you also stocked up on something else: packaging. From coffee filters to styrofoam containers to plastics, we’ve all seen how much excess waste we produce on a day-to-day basis. On average, every Canadian throws away half a kilogram of packaging every day, which affects the ocean, our landscape and even the air we breathe.The good news? More and more people and stores are opting for a package-free shopping experience. Check out these Vancouver shops that are encouraging us all to be a little more mindful of our small-yet-impactful environmental footprint. (Photo: Nada Grocery)

Nada Grocery

Nada is the first grocery store in Vancouver to sell all of their products unpackaged—almost everything in the shop is compostable or reusable, from fresh fruits and vegetables (all sourced from farms that put an emphasis on ethical practices) to glass jars and bamboo toothbrushes. If you start getting hungry while picking through the farm-fresh produce, there’s also an in-house snack bar that offers delectable smoothies, spreads and soups. All surplus food items are donated to local food banks, neighbourhood houses or local community gardens. 675 East Broadway (between Fraser and Broadway); monthly pop-ups at Patagonia, 1994 W 4th Ave.

The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Staples

The Soap Dispensary specializes in premium soaps, household cleaners and personal care products that are biodegradable. To get these liquid staples, simply bring an environmentally friendly jar (or purchase one in the shop) and fill it up with as much or as little as you need. The Soap Dispensary also carries a few extra products that encourage a zero-waste lifestyle, including fine edibles and DIY ingredients. 3718 Main St.

Urban Source

This alternative art materials store recycles and reuses creative materials and sells them in bulk. Bead, pompoms, pipe cleaners—Urban Source allows you to select which crafty tool you need (and how many). By sourcing their supplies from more than 100 local industries, this neighbourhood gem ensures every art piece gets a second lift. Items change frequently as the store restocks weekly, but they’ve always got the basics on the shelves. 3126 Main St. 

5 Benefits of Living Waste-Free

  1. You’ll only buy what you need and never have to throw away excess products or packaging.
  2. Since none of the products will be wasted, you’ll save money in the long-term.
  3. You know exactly what you’re investing in, which is the sole product—not the packaging and marketing that’s behind the dollar signs.
  4. Have fun with your cloth bags and customize them to your style!
  5. Being able to purchase smaller quantities allows you to experiment with new products.