One Step Towards a Zero Waste World

Zero Waste Bulk

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

Plastic packaging is used on so many products found in grocery stores, Zero Waste Bulk has set out on a mission to change that. With this mission they are taking climate action, and making a change within their city working towards creating a sustainable community.


Author

Courtney Ing

Courtney Ing

School

Beyond Borders

Beyond Borders

Professor

Matthew Mulhern

Matthew Mulhern

Innovation

The innovation of Zero Waste Bulk is simple. A grocery store that produces zero waste. An innovation created to bring convenience to peoples lives and help reduce carbon footprints in a more efficient way. The store sells bulk foods such as cereal, chocolate and nuts, as well as produce, prepared food and fresh bread.

Ellin’s innovation relates to her own mission of reducing waste in hopes that it would help saving the planet easier for others.

Zero Waste Bulk uses a BYOC program (bring your own container). A customer comes in, weighs their own container, fills it with any product they wish, weighs it again once its full, and the store will take off the weight of the container and only charge the weight of the food. This process allows for customers to purchase products in bulk, without waste. If someone forgets their container, Zero Waste Bulk provides mason jars for a one dollar deposit, again, making the customers experience as convenient as possible. Zero Waste Bulk also send in their own containers to their suppliers so that there is no waste in the supply chain.

One Step Towards a Zero Waste World

Inspiration

Four weeks ago, Ellin Park, a young business owner, opened a game changing grocery store in downtown Waterloo, Ontario. Ellin graduated from the University of Waterloo with a psychology major and no anticipation that she would eventually become a young entrepreneur. The innovation for Zero Waste Bulk, sparked for Ellin after her frustration of having to travel to different locations for shopping items, as she mentioned “I just wanted some place that I could go and do all my grocery shopping in one… instead of having to go to all these different places to get all my food without packaging.” She wanted to develop one location where all shopping could be done in an environmentally friendly way. Ellin had been aware of her own personal production of waste but noticed the challenges when every item bought at a normal grocery store comes with this fair share of packaging. Ellin’s passion for the environment and convenience sparked the creation of Zero Waste Bulk.

Overall impact

Given that Zero Waste Bulk has only been open for four weeks, it is hard to evaluate the impact it has had in such a short period of time. The company has been working on SDG number 11, “Sustainable Cities and Communities”. Zero Waste Bulk is committed to support their own local company by working with a local “farmer who is going to grow” all of their produce, as Ellin explains. She was asked if her company was aware of how much waste they are saving in the process and Ellin responded with… “we haven’t calculated that yet but I think probably a lot”.

Business benefit

Since Zero Waste Bulk is such a new company it is hard to say how their innovation has benefited their business model. However, Ellin has already started to see growth of interest in her company from the community. Being featured on CBC as well as other local advertising, her customer base continues to grow everyday. Zero Waste Bulk as a whole, is one sustainable innovation to the community. Zero Waste Bulk benefits as they are one of the only companies that provide this concept in the area. Their ideas benefit the lifestyle of all customers and the environment which is something that will never be unneeded in today's world, bringing them continuous sustainable business and profits.

Social and environmental benefit

Zero Waste Bulk truly lives up to their name of “Zero Waste” as they offer 100% recyclable products. Focusing on SDG number 13 "Climate Action" Zero Waste Bulk wants to see a change in the way people shop. Ellin Park stated in an interview "there was a study done to show how much waste people had after shopping, let's say after a dozen customers they had their garbage filled with product waste", this is something that they want to change. With their convenient downtown location, it makes it ideal for customers to easily shop without producing waste. Zero Waste Bulk offers sustainable reusable shopping accessories as well as containers which their customers can buy or borrow for a small deposit. Their mission is to "..make it easy for you to make sustainable choices by carefully curating products that are local, organic, vegan, plastic free, palm oil free, and packaging free whenever possible.". Zero Waste Bulk is moving towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly society one step at a time.

Interview

Ellin Park , Founder

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Zero Waste Bulk

Zero Waste Bulk

Waterloo , Ontario, CA

Business Website: https://www.zerowastebulk.com

Year Founded: 2019

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Zero Waste Bulk is a one stop shop for all local, organic, and sustainable groceries in Waterloo, Ontario. The company focuses on sustainability using refillable and reusable containers to create zero waste through the packaging of their products.