When shopping, I tend to go to multiple stores to pick and choose the different food items I need for the week. Lately, I've been going to a few more places than usual to accommodate my zero waste goal. As I mentioned in an earlier post I go to Pomme Natural Markets, in the West End, to get some simple produce and bulk items. Usually, I bring these nifty little reusable bags and glass jars for my bulk items. I was going to write a blog for Pomme about doing a zero waste shop. I wanted to do one shop for the week but found it challenging to get everything that I needed.
Generally at stores that I frequent, I go up to the till and get my jars weighed before I shop. That way, I don't have to worry about paying for the extra 200ish grams for the container. I was a little surprised to find out that Pomme didn't have this option and I only had about five of my eco snack bags on me.
They have a nice range of bulk items, especially if you're after the staples, which in my home includes brown basmati rice, mung beans, adzuki beans, garbanzo beans, cashews, goji berries, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and popping corn. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get everything I wanted this time around due to my limited number of bags and excess of jars.
Instead of writing down the PLU codes on a twist tie I keep them stored in my phone in the 'Notes' section. It only took a few extra minutes the first time I wrote out all the codes. Now I simply pull up my electronic list at the cash register and have all the codes handy. Even if you aren't zero-waste, this method is way more time efficient...it's just a bonus that it's good for the environment as well.
I prefer getting my produce from Pomme, rather than other stores because they have more items that don't include stickers or twist ties. I usually get loose carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, shallots, potatoes, ginger, garlic, beets, and I want to send a very special thanks that I can also get kale here. Almost all grocery stores have Kale, and almost all kale comes with a twist tie that they can't reuse. Luckily, at Pomme it comes with an elastic around the bottom which they are more than happy to reuse.
My favourite part about this market is their deli, they really care about what goes into their food and get very creative with all the dishes. I think it's one of the best deli options in Vancouver because of its quality and everything I've had has been delicious. Especially their lentil patty, it's one of my favourite things to sprinkle over salads and rice dishes.
Pomme has yet to switch over to a fully compostable deli. They have compostable bottoms for some packaging, but still use a lot of plastic. I usually bring my own containers, but I used to always get a sticker to scan at the checkout. I did not want to add any stickers to my 'Landfill' jar.
I asked if there was a way around this...
I have to say, the staff at Pomme are some of the most helpful and caring individuals I have ever encountered. I had three people brainstorming on how to get around this deli dilemma. The only solution was to ring it up as an 'open deli item' and enter in the price manually. Apparently, this is not supposed to ever happen in the grocery world. They did this for me because the staff decided this would be a great way to open a dialogue with their head office. Hopefully this would spark a discussion for ways to change the store in order to accommodate people that want to shop and enjoy the food Pomme has to offer. I left all my contact info so they can reach me to discuss ways they can help people shop and reduce their waste.
It amazed me that they were willing to do this and were really on board with the zero waste movement. I hope to see changes at Pomme. Working towards zero waste is only possible with the significant actions and efforts of individuals in the community. Something as simple as voicing your concerns to a store may be enough to instil change. So don't be afraid to talk to store owners and employees. When you spark a forum, you create awareness and that's what the zero waste movement is about, it provides guiding principles for continually striving towards reducing and eliminating waste.
Looking for some reusable bulk bags? Click here to buy Eco Love reusable bags.