This piece was written by Paula Soto. As a fourth-year environmental science student, I’ve always been passionate about protecting the environment. I hope, by writing these blog posts, I will be able to spread more awareness on current environmental issues and provide new ideas in making positive environmental impacts on people’s everyday lives. After reading about so much that needs to be done in the classroom, it feels great to be able to make a difference by informing others.
Starting next year you’ll be able to buy groceries in a new way. Nada - which translates to nothing in Spanish - is a grocery store which will be permanently opening up next year on East Broadway. Nada works to eliminate all waste normal grocery stores produce. They do this by enabling shoppers to buy only what they need and providing all their products in bulk. Consumers are able to bring their own containers to the store and buy only the amount they intend to consume. By doing this not only are ‘zero waste’ grocery stores reducing garbage in packaging but by allowing people to buy any amount they want they are also allowing for a reduction of food waste. This is critical considering 47% of Canadian food waste occurs in the home. This environmentally conscious supermarket also provides a number of organic, and responsibly sourced goodies to further diminish their environmental footprint. While the main shop won’t be opening up for another year, they’ve had a couple of pop up shops throughout Vancouver in the summer, and their next one is coming up on Sept. 29th at the Patagonia on 4th Ave. in Vancouver.
The Soap Dispensary: Featuring a wide variety of reusable containers and in bulk cleaners
If you’re looking to buy locally sourced bulk soaps and self-care products “The Soap Dispensary” on Main Street is also a great place to shop. From products ranging from shampoos to dish detergent to bubble baths and moisturizers, everything can be bought on tap. Reusable containers are available for purchase at the store and can be easily refilled with every visit. Just simply remember to come prepared with a number of containers you need, and refill with your desired quantities at the shop.
While zero waste grocery stores may still produce some waste in their bulk packaging, overall they make a significantly smaller impact on the environment. By buying at zero waste stores we are able to reduce the amount of garbage on the planet and reduce the critical amount of food waste produced overall.
If a year is too long to wait for the opening of Nada, there are other ways you can reduce your waste in regular supermarkets. Begin with remembering to bring in your own reusable shopping bags for your purchases, and even reusing the plastic bags grocery stores often use for bulk. Imported foods generally have a much larger environmental impact when compared to closer ones, so always do your best to buy local and buy in season. If you’re not sure what’s in season in your area here’s a useful link for BC. In addition, if you can afford organic foods do so. These foods are great because they prevent harmful pesticides from entering not only our food but nearby environments in agricultural areas. Other considerations when shopping for food is ensuring you know how much you need, and buying only that amount. In this way, you are minimizing food waste. Try and remember that every time you go buy food you are voting for the kinds of products, and methods of food distribution grocery stores partake in. Make sure you’re doing your best to vote for what you want to see in the future, and to stay aware of all the grocery food options Vancouver has to offer.