Buy individual eggs and shampoo by weight at zero-waste market
A Toronto couple is looking to do their part to reduce waste in Toronto by launching a zero-waste market in the city.
Michelle Genttner and Luis Martins sold their restaurant last year and purchased what used to be an old Portuguese grocery store on Dundas Street West.
Their new business, called Unboxed Market, is described by Martins as an “everything in one” store where customers can come in with their own storage containers and buy items, from eggs to shampoo, in the exact quantities needed.
“The ideas is, you can come in and bring your things - bring a bag, bring your traveller mug, bring your produce bags, bring a jar, bring your kitchen a pot- it doesn't matter, and you can buy exactly what you need,” Genttner said. “So you can get a cup of flour, a half a kilo of rice, you can get five tablespoons of cinnamon, the things that you want in the size that you want as opposed to getting all the extras.”
Items being purchased will be weighted at the door, so customers pay only for the amount they’re buying.
For customers who may not have containers or bags on them, Unboxed Market will have biodegradable and reusable options available, including a jar rental program.
“You can essentially lease a jar from us. You pay a deposit the same as you pay on milk bottles and things,” Genttner said. “If you keep that jar and you use it forever, then you’ve paid your deposit. If you actually have your jars at home and you don’t need it, when you come back, bring it back and you get your deposit back.”
Both Genttner and Martins grew up in small agricultural towns, where they lived farm-to-table lifestyles. That’s what inspired them to create Unboxed Market.
“We never used to have these things, so we need to kind of shift back to the way it was,” Genttner said. “The way that things are packed now, it is designed specifically for you to buy more, whether you need it or not.’
Emily Alfred, a waste campaigner with Toronto Environmental Alliance, said the zero-waste lifestyle is becoming a movement.
“This business and other businesses like it in Toronto that are offering alternatives to consumption are really making it easier for people to live a zero-waste lifestyle,” she said.
The City of Toronto has been looking into a policy that would reduce the use of single-use or take away items like coffee cups, cutlery and plastic straws. Both Genttner and Martins hope that Unboxed Market can inspire others to make the transition to be a little less wasteful.
“One store like this is not enough for the city, is not enough for the province, is not enough even for the downtown core. We need more,” Genttner said.
Unboxed Market is scheduled to open next month.
-With a report from CTV News Toronto's Michelle Dubé