New store looks to cut down on waste in Waterloo

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Photo by Safina Husein

Zero Waste Bulk is Waterloo’s first zero waste grocery store scheduled to open Fall 2018, the store will be located at 110 King Street South just two kilometres away from campus.

Ellin Park and Kevin Choi, co-founders of Zero Waste Bulk, opened the store in hopes of encouraging others to become more sustainable or even go ‘zero waste.’

Park and Choi struggled to find sustainable and package free options within the region. This caused Park and Choi to travel to numerous stores and markets in order to meet their zero waste and sustainable needs; ultimately, they were using a lot of gas in order to find their products which ultimately defeated their purpose of living a sustainable lifestyle.

“I ended up having to drive all over town just to do my groceries which is ironic because you use a lot of gas driving around to all these places, it was time consuming and inconvenient,” Park said.

“We wanted a store where being [sustainable] and bringing your own containers was the norm, and also encouraged, there’s a wide variety of items which you can get in bulk, plastic free, and get fresh produce bread and sustainable alternative all in one place.”

Zero Waste Bulk is planning to sell a wide variety of products from classic bulk items to speciality bulk and household items which can be difficult to find in other grocery stores like bulk vegan parmesan. Zero Waste Bulk also plans to be focused on providing the community with local, organic, and sustainable produce and grocery items.

“[Zero Waste Bulk would] have hard to find bulk goods like liquids-olive oils, vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, soy sauce-and you would also have cleaning products soaps, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and even bulk toothpaste,” Park said.

In order to raise money for the opening of their store Park and Choi have launched a crowd funding campaign in order to offset the various expenses which occur when opening a small business. The crowdfunding website can be found on the Zero Waste Bulk Facebook page.

“Reusable straws, bamboo stainless steel and glass straws, we also have alternatives to items which are typically disposable like instead of plastic razors have reusable safety razors and we’ll have bamboo tooth brushes … stainless steel containers, which are useful on the go,” Park said.

Zero Waste Bulk is hoping to reduce packaging waste long term by encouraging customers to bring their own containers in order to store their products. Customers can fill containers, bags, mason jars and any storage container which is clean, the end goal for Zero Waste Bulk is to reduce everyone’s household and personal waste.

“I think this will help reduce packaging waste … if everyone produces a giant black garbage bag full of trash every week or two, [but] if you can shrink that down to a small bag every month that’s a huge difference,” Park said.

“Good containers like mason jars, glass bottles, Tupperware, plastic containers, clean zip locks, freezer bags, as long as it’s clean and reusable we encourage that,” Park said. Zero Waste Bulk wants to not only encourage students to shop with the environment in mind but to also encourage students to earn points at Zero Waste Bulk through their loyalty program. The loyalty program will allow for students to choose various items to redeem with their points.

“With our loyalty program you’ll earn points with every purchase and you’ll be able to spend these points with items in our rewards catalog,” Park said.

“For every dollar you spend you’ll earn five earth points and you’ll be able to spend your points within items in the catalogue and for every reusable container you [shop] with you’ll receive an extra point,” Park said.

In order to raise money for the opening of their store Park and Choi have launched a crowd funding campaign in order to offset the various expenses which occur when opening a small business. The crowdfunding website can be found on the Zero Waste Bulk Facebook page.


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