Eight tips for going zero waste in Toronto

You may not want to overcommit right out of the gates to a mason jar challenge. (You know, trying to fit a year’s worth of waste into a single container – like zero-waste lifestyle guru Bea Johnson.) But here are a few handy tips to help you slimline your trashprint.

1. Forget the old 3Rs. The 5Rs of zero waste are Refuse (what you do not need, including disposables), Reduce (what you need), Reuse, Recycle and Rot (aka compost).

2. Bring your own jars, containers and sacks from home to buy bulk without plastic baggies – even Bulk Barn encourages customers to bring their own now. Ask clerks to weigh jars first so they can deduct the weight from your bill.  To find bulk stores near you, go to zerowastehome.com/app.

3. Tool up. Get mesh or cloth bags for produce or don’t use any at all. Don’t leave home without a water canister/coffee mug and resuable bag. Menstrual cups, sporks and hankies are also handy.

4. Farmers markets, bakeries, butcher counters and fishmongers can be great sources of unpackaged goods if you bring your own containers. Toronto has over half a dozen farmers markets that run through winter, including Dufferin Grove, Brickworks, Sorauren and Wychwood Barns. And support businesses that sell soap and coffee in refillable containers, like Saponetti.ca and Coffeecology.ca.



Make your own makeup.

5. Borrow stuff. Check out the Sharing Depot and Toronto Tool Library and try dress rentals from Boroit.ca or RentFrockRepeat.com instead of buying new.

6. Make your own everything, be it cleaners or makeup. Zero-waste bloggers can teach you how to make pretty much anything from scratch. Also Anarres Apothecary and Karma Co-op have lots of workshops on DIY bodycare.

7. Go preloved. Besides opting for second-hand, you can swap what you got through websites like Bunz and Swapsity at swap events like Drop, Swap and Shop or Nathalie-Roze’s quarterly Uber-Swap for women’s clothes (on this Saturday, October 28, 11-2pm).

8. If it’s broken, fix it. Besides joints like iRepair and appliance and furniture repair shops, you can also bring busted goods to Toronto’s free Repair Café events. 

ecoholic@nowtoronto.com | @ecoholicnation

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