The amount of disposable products (especially plastics) is a problem that, as a society, we have been trying to solve for several years. Unfortunately, when the pandemic came, health care and sanitation became our first priority and we put aside other problems; the use of plastic containers, disposable bags, and other articles returned to be part of our day-to-day lives.
However, our reality is now different from what it was two years ago, and many establishments are again proposing small actions that we can do day by day to achieve a positive impact on our environment and community.
Here on the Danforth, some establishments have opted for a sustainable model: Poured Coffee is a cafeteria that has a zero waste policy; shops like The RE Place and Bare Market are designed so that anyone (zero waste beginner or expert) can get what they need to adapt to this lifestyle.
“We would love to see even more folks coming through the door with more consistency.”
Ana, one of the staff members at Bare Market, says that the project was started almost three years ago, and they couldn’t be happier with the acceptance they received by what they describe as “an amazing community.” A lot of people see it as a place that assists them in limiting their waste, and it has a really loyal group of customers—but there is always room for more! “We would love to see even more folks coming through the door with more consistency.” – Ana
Bare Market is doing an amazing job and offering a lot of products: spices, seeds, snacks, fruits, beauty products, personal care products, and many more. They always try to give competitive prices, and the concept of “buy what you need” is in their core beliefs, so you can not only buy package-free items, but also avoid buying an excessive amount of food because you couldn’t find a smaller package.
The impact they are making is huge: this year, Oneka (one of Bare Market’s body care brands) adopted a zero waste approach that managed to greatly diminish the number of packages used, saving over 2,000 of them from the landfill. Imagine this impact on a bigger scale! Since the beginning, these brands have been helping customers to avoid thousands of containers in favour of the environment.
Grab your favourite mug or thermos from home, go to your local cafeteria, and ask them if they can pour your beverage into your own container. I’m pretty sure the answer will be a yes!
But this mission does not end with only these establishments. You can visit many other places within the Danforth and do a little experiment: grab your favourite mug or thermos from home, go to your local cafeteria, and ask them if they can pour your beverage into your own container. I’m pretty sure the answer will be a yes!
Having said that, we know that projects like these are not possible without the people that want to support this kind of business—like Steven, one of the regular customers at Bare Market, who couldn’t be happier about it: “It is a great store, it’s run locally.” Steven and his wife are part of the neighbourhood, they shop here regularly, and his wife sews her own bags, which are beautiful—they are big environmental people, and they are grateful for having these types of shops in the community.
I know that not all of us are like Steven, and starting a zero waste life can be a little intimidating (and difficult, for people like me who tend to be forgetful). But don’t worry! I have the perfect four tips to help you start this new green life:
CREATE YOUR OWN TO-GO KIT
Take your favourite fabric bag and put your kit inside it: a cutlery set, cloth napkins, your favourite cup, and reusable straws.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
You don’t have to do everything at once: start applying these changes little by little in your life.
RELY ON YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES
The places mentioned before can help you for a better transitioning into this lifestyle—just go there and voice any concern you may have, they are more than happy to help you!
The first step is to be aware of the problem: it is normal to not always be able to do it, but try—even the smallest change has a gigantic impact if we all do our part.
And always remember, there is no wrong way of doing this: starting small will make for a more sustainable long-term change.