What a great idea. Teacher turned entrepreneur, Valarie Leloup, thinks so too. She plans on opening a zero waste grocery store in Ottawa this summer.
Her commitment to reducing waste was inspired by Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home. For her, the book was an eye-opener. She hadn’t realized how much waste Canadian families create each year…an estimated 700 kilograms of solid waste per person.
Ms Leloup loved the book so much that no sooner did she finish it than she started practising what it preached. She said she is now down to one small bag of garbage every two weeks.
But with two teenagers at home, she realized it wasn’t going to be easy to eliminate one of her major sources of garbage: food packaging. Grocery stores are filled with food products that are packaged, often with plastic or other materials, and much of it isn’t recyclable or compostable.
That’s when the proverbial “light-bulb” went off…a grocery store that would provide one-stop shopping and zero-waste.
Zero waste grocery stores have been launched in Europe over the last few year so she had real-life examples to base a business plan on. The store will be called Nu Grocery. It will stock all sorts of food, from fresh produce, dry goods in bins to prepared meals and milk.
There will also be cosmetics and cleaning products. In all, the store will offer about 350 products and the idea is to produce zero waste. Only fish and meat will be missing.
There will be no plastic bags, wrap or containers available in the store. Shoppers will be offered compostable paper bags or reusable glass bottles and jars, for which they will have to pay a deposit. Or they can bring their own containers with the weight deducted from the price of whatever they buy.
For her, it’s not just the opening of a business, it’s the start of a local movement. One I am hoping will spread to the rest of Canada.
Adapted from this article.