How many of the products you use each day are headed straight for landfills?
Consider your plastic soap and detergent bottles, toothbrushes, deodorant, plastic razors, dental floss and plastic bags. Most of Canada's plastic waste ends up in landfills, while only 9 per cent of plastic is recycled.
Thankfully, two new Winnipeg shops are here to help.
Planet Pantry and Refill Market both opened their doors in the past two years. These low-waste, liquid bulk refill stores offer hundreds of options to curb plastic use with bulk, reusable, and compostable swaps for everyday items.
To celebrate Waste Reduction Week in Canada, we’ve rounded up four Winnipeg shops designed to help decrease your plastic waste while you shop local.
More than 150 bulk products line the shelves of Refill Market, located on Notre Dame Ave just outside of Winnipeg's downtown core. Here, owner/operator Marisa Loreno aims to make a zero-waste living as accessible as possible.
Each product in the store has three price points and bringing your own bottles for refills is encouraged — just make sure they're dry, clean and easily refillable (tip: avoid bottles and tubes with narrow openings). Delivery and bottle return services are also available.
"[Many items] are the same price as big box stores, just minus the plastics. People are shocked at how inexpensive it is to refill their dish soap, laundry detergent, and cleaners," says Loreno.
Shop bestsellers include a creamy bulk toothpaste that comes in four flavours, along with the Jack59 line of solid shampoos and conditioners, which Loreno herself has used for more than eight years.
"It's one of those products where there are so many garbage shampoo and conditioner bars out on the market. But I'm always blown away by the performance and how much people love this brand,” she says.
Refill Market is located at 634 Notre Dame Ave. and is open Tuesday to Thursday noon-7 p.m.; Friday - Saturday noon-5 p.m.
BYOC (bring your own container) to Planet Pantry, a bright, colourful storefront located in the Johnston Terminal at The Forks. Here, all products come in minimal packaging with no plastic, and any packaging you do see can be composted, recycled, and/or repurposed or refilled.
Looking for one simple eco-friendly swap to start?
"Bamboo toothbrushes," recommends Tyrell Witherspoon, Business Operations Manager at Planet Pantry. "Every plastic toothbrush that has ever been thrown out still exists. Switching to a compostable one keeps them out of landfills and waterways."
One of Planet Pantry's most popular items is a locally made dish soap block from Relish Soapery, sold exclusively at the shop (when they manage to keep it in stock for more than a few days, that is). Natural deodorant from No Pong and shampoo bars from Skipping Stone also sell quickly. Bulk essential oils will be launching soon, too.
The shop offers a deposit jar program for refills. Jars are $2 at time of purchase and fill, which you can then choose to keep and reuse, or return to the shop to receive a $2 deposit refund.
"We always tell newcomers to our store to finish what you have, and then reuse what you have. Bring in your bottles, jars, containers, and refill them with non-toxic, biodegradable soaps, and detergents. In the end, they are better for you and better for the planet," says Witherspoon.
Planet Pantry is located at 25 Forks Market Rd #135B and is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. They also have a super fun Insta account as you'll see above.
Public General Store
A beautifully curated selection of housewares, vintage items, and quality-made products from Canadian artisans fill Sherbrook Street's Public General Store. You can also replenish your hand soap, detergent, and dish soap while shopping. Try their shampoo bars and shaving soaps for another low-waste swap.
Public General Store is located at 156 Sherbrook Street and is open Wednesday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday noon to 4 p.m.
Organic Planet Worker Co-op
Wolseley's worker-owned organic grocer and vegan deli has an impressive selection of liquid refill options, reusable items and bulk food, including household cleaners, lotions, detergents and more. Plus, it always has a nice selection of sexy vegetables too — like elusive Romanesco — which of course, we must mention in a green guide.
Organic Planet is located at 877 Westminster and is open Monday & Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.