Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Toronto

We want to make your eco-journey as easy as possible here on The Eco Hub. In order to do that, you need to have the right tools and when it comes to going zero waste, we don't want you to be like Sherlock, we've done all the work for you, so, Here is our first Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Toronto. 

HOUSEHOLD GOODS:

refillme: This wonderful Canadian business gives you the option to buy either refillable cleaning products or refillable skincare products. They carry some of my favourite zero waste laundry brands like The Unscented Co. and The Bare Home. Their skincare section boasts a wide range of goodies like body lotion, shower gel, and even must-haves for your baby.

Make sure to browse their kitchen and laundry section, where you'll find some really great paper towel alternatives.

If you live in the GTA, they offer a pickup service for your refills. It’s super easy to get started: simply go to their website, choose your delivery area, create an account, browse what you want, place your order and leave your empty container on your doorstep. They will pick them up and fill them directly on-premise when they arrive. Otherwise, they will leave your pre-refilled container at your doorstep.

refillme is all about community and sustainability; they partner with Tree Canada and are part of their National Greening program. They also have a battery recycling program; you can leave yours at the door with your jars and they will recycle them for you.

They also have an eco alliance with Suppli, which gives T.O. & its restaurants a #zerowaste option for takeout containers. Refill me will collect these for you. You can ask for this at checkout.

Muuse is an APP that has created a network of cafes throughout the cities where they operate.
It’s simple: you collect your drink or meal in one of their awesome containers, and when you’re done, drop it back to any of their cafes. Or in this case, refillme will pick them up for you.

It's so great to see how so many local businesses are helping customers find more zero waste options in Canada.

Logan and Finely:  A general store in the west end of Toronto that carries a wide variety of home goods, clothing and zero waste supplies.

Ava's Appletree - home goods store with a nice selection of reusable cloth diapers, napkins and "UnPaper" towels as well as stainless steel lunch boxes and reusable metal straws

Comfy Cotton - cloth diaper delivery service; your soiled diapers are picked up by a Comfy Cotton delivery person and replaced with freshly cleaned diapers 

The Sharing Depot - a $50/year membership allows you to borrow from their collection of party supplies, board games, toys as well as camping and sports equipment 

Also, take a look at Eco Existence, you're go-to store for eco-friendly, locally made, & sustainable living products including housewares, beauty, baby & kids products, gifts and more!

Editor's Note: Have we left anything out of our Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Toronto? Please let us know, share in the comments and let's build this list together!

FOOD:

Bulk Barn - as of February 2017, Bulk Barn allows customers to bring their own reusable containers rather than using the plastic bags provided in-store.

The Big Carrot Community Market - a worker-owned market carrying lots of local produce; they will take 25¢ off your bill if you bring your own reusable container when purchasing bulk items.

Karma Co-Op - a cooperative food store that diverts some of their organic waste to local farmers to use as animal feed and tries to limit their use of packaging.

Coffeecology - coffee delivered by bike in re-usable glass jars directly to your door; when you are finished with the jar you can leave it outside your home and a delivery person will come to pick it up

Kupfert & Kim - a trendy restaurant with several downtown locations; all their takeout packaging is compostable but they also offer 35¢ off your bill if you bring your own food container to use instead.

Maizal - Mexican restaurant located in Liberty Village; Ivan Wadgymar, one of the co-owners, makes a weekly trip to the Calveiro farm in Schoberg where food waste from the restaurant is either composted or used as animal feed. 

Essence Of Life Natural Food Market -  providing accessibility and affordability of organic food to members of the community.

Organic Garage - A Canadian Organic and All Natural grocery store with the best quality products at Everyday Affordable Prices. Produce, Grocery, Meat, Bulk, Vitamins.

Whole Foods - gives you 10¢ off for every bag you reuse for each transaction, you can keep the discount or donate it back to charity. Click here for a list of locations.

At Farm’r everything is made from scratch by our amazing team of chefs and delivered by our friendly front of the house. Learn about our new test program for reusable take-out containers. Pay a deposit, get a refund when you bring it back dirty or clean.

CLOTHING: 

Value Village - a popular secondhand retailer with locations in every province; they have pretty frequent sales throughout the year as well as a free "Super Savers Club" membership that entitles you to 20% off on your birthday

Kensington Market - filled with incredible secondhand clothing stores as well as hip cafés and restaurants; it's possible to spend an entire day walking around the market and still discover new things the next time you visit.

L'Elegante Boutique - the secondhand designer finds you'll find in this Yorkville store are not cheap but they are fabulous

BEAUTY/HEALTH:

Eco and Amour: The first green beauty + refill store dedicated to amazing indie beauty brands.

Saponetti - customers can choose to either pick up a refill of their favourite liquid soaps, shower gels, hair products, etc. in person at their depot on Brock Ave. or to have a glass bottle delivered directly to them that Saponetti will later collect and re-use

Lush - cult cosmetic company with locations all over Canada; their "5 Pot Program" allows you to return five of their post-consumer recycled plastic containers in-store in exchange for a free face mask

Green and Frugal -  fill up on DIY body care ingredients, essential oils and their own naturally made body and skincare items and they also sell zero packing shampoo bars.

BareMarket - a pop-up zero waste market; (check their website or follow them on Instagram and Facebook for locations).

WE UPDATE THESE GUIDES ALL THE TIME. IF WE HAVE MISSED SOMEONE, SHARE IN THE COMMENTS.

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17 thoughts shared

  1. Comment author image

    Warren Tkachuk

    says:

    Hi Candice,

    Thank you for your relentless work in this growing and needed part of our lives.

    We have enhanced our deliver service and now provide reusable delivery bins to retailers to eliminate cardboard boxes and we also offer a refillable container return service. We deliver to the doorstep, but to reduce trucks and emissions in our communities we partner with local store owners in to act as a hub for deliveries and returns.

    Retailers and shoppers can both use our services. It is free for shoppers.

    http://www.pkgplace.com

  2. Comment author image

    Megan Takeda-Tully

    says:

    Thank you for putting this guide together! I thought it might be worth flagging Suppli, which is piloting a reusable takeout container service in two Toronto postal codes starting Oct. 20th. We use stainless steel containers and operate a unique model, which includes the pickup of used containers from consumers, as well as cleaning and sanitization through an accredited partner.

  3. Love your list of Zero Waste stores! This is so useful. I have also found an amazing cleaning system that uses only water, cleans pore deep and soft surfaces including fabrics which is important, is made in Austria with the OEKO TEXT distinction, is carbon neutral on delivery and zero carbon footprint when using for 3-10 years when the Fibres are then recycled. Ships in a box with nothing else-just the fibres. I am so excited to not be using vinegar and diy’s that don’t work everywhere in the house and come with a carbon footprint. You need to check it out the Canadian Head Office is in Mississauga

  4. Thanks for putting all this together. I’m going on a 10 week no single use plastic challenge and this makes the challenge less cumbersome.

    1. Comment author image

      Candice Batista

      says:

      That’s amazing, well done. It’s little steps that lead to bigger changes in habit. Let me know if you ever need any advice,
      best regards,
      Candice

  5. Also, Kim’s natural food store has a LARGE bulk section where you can bring your own bags (On Roncesvalles). There are several stores like that on the street as well that have large bulk sections.

  6. Don’t forget Urban Bulk Emporium in Leslieville. They have a refill station for all of your household needs, including soaps, shampoos, all-purpose cleaners, and oil. It’s a wonderful shop!

  7. Thank you for adding Green & Frugal this Guide! I just wanted to mention that we also carry supplies to help people go plastic-free such as: beeswax wraps, stainless steel straws, bulk bags, dryer balls, bamboo toothbrushes and safety razors. We are expanding this section over the next month as orders come in. Love your site!

  8. Bare Market doesn’t yet carry food (but aims to once they have a permanent location). They do, however, have an incredibly large assortment of body care and home care items – from shampoo, hairspray, and deodorant to laundry detergent, all purpose spray, air freshener and a whole bunch of lifestyle items to help you reduce waste (i.e. reusable pads, stainless steel containers, bamboo toothbrushes, swaps for q-tips, and the list goes on and on)!