Zero Waste Bulk Stores around the World #3: Green on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

Zero waste bulk stores usually strive to provide all the basics you would need for a waste-free lifestyle. Unlike other bulk stores or stores with a bulk section, they work to reduce the upstream waste, making an effort to work with local farmers, suppliers, and manufacturers, supporting and strengthening the local economy.

By kind permission of ©Green

Green is definitely one of the most committed stores we have been to. It is located on the beautiful Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, south of Vancouver. An island that I promise will steal your heart 💜!!!

“We are a Canadian family with strong values regarding community, commitment, and continuity. We want to live what we believe. We believe that if you put good things into the earth, you will get good things out of it. Same goes for putting good things into your local community, your family, neighbors, local business, and surroundings, good things will grow there too.”—The Green Team

I love how Green calls it “low impact grocery shopping”, which shows me how conscious they are about the fact that the way society is today, zero impact is (still) impossible. But it goes without saying that this does not mean we cannot do our best to minimize the impact we have on our planet, right 😊💕?

So How Exactly Does It Work Me Bringing My Own Containers?

In North America, buying bulk dry goods usually means using the single-use plastic bags the stores provide. A zero waste bulk store, however, does not provide those bags. Some provide single-use paper bags but discourage their customers from using those. Instead, customers are encouraged to bring and directly fill what they want to buy into their own cloth bags, food containers, or jars.

By kind permission of ©Green

At Green, you weigh your own containers at the counter, write down the weight, fill it up, and the weight will be subtracted at till later. Easy peasy!I

The best part: no annoying sticker system for taking off the weight of your own containers! I have been to many zero waste bulk stores, and quite some rely on the sticker system for convenience. It usually works like this: you put your own container on a scale, push a button, and a pretty large sticker with a bar code comes out. At till they scan the sticker and the weight is subtracted automatically. However, stickers aren’t recyclable and they just add up really fast this way.

If you do not own any cloth bags yet, you can buy some at Greens, and of course you can buy jars, too.

The Selection

At Green, you can get produce, and even fresh, plastic-free herbs.🌱😍

You get a very good selection of dry goods: lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, nuts, seeds, snack mixes, grains, pasta, tea, coffee, and even nutritional yeast. Green makes the effort to source their whole foods from single-source farms! 💚

As a vegan, I loved all the different kinds of soy chunks!

Green also provides a great selection of different kinds of flours and maple sugar, which I have never seen before!

Green has the coolest spice drawers filled with spiced and dried herbs 😍! They also didn’t forget about the salt and added some very cool kinds like charcoal salt made on the island.

You can also buy some really nice tea, spice, and jam gift sets ❤️.

They also carry beeswax wraps.

And they also have one of my favorite machines—a nut butter grinder! The content changes from week to week.

Unfortunately, the fridge was quite empty when we were there. The availability of fresh food items varies because Green is a grocer committed to supporting the most sustainable farmers and suppliers.

And they are doing a great job at sniffing out those ambitious people, if I may add. Fresh, organic tofu in bulk is hard to come by (conventional bulk tofu is quite common in Asian supermarkets though), but ta-daaaa! Even made on the island!!

Bulk dry goods are quite common in Canada, but bulk liquids can be hard to find. At Green, you can fill up your jars and empty bottles with vinegar, kombucha, liquid body wash, hand and dish soap, detergent, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner to your heart’s content.

What I love about Green is that they have photos and background information of their farmers, suppliers, and manufacturers right next to all of their products! How awesome is that 😍?

You can also go for the bar soap if that is what you prefer 😊 (I know I do).

This is quite the selection of handmade moisturizers 😊✨.

To keep your teeth fresh and clean you can of course get bamboo toothbrushes…

… and toothpowder, either in bulk or pre-filled in a jar.

Cotton rounds and hankies are essential in most zero wasters’ life!

I love how you can even buy cloth pads and panty liners!

And last, but not least: the TP-section with individual rolls wrapped in paper! 😆

If you ever get the chance to visit this amazing island, make sure to check out Green! I admire their idealism and attention to detail. ❤️  Reading all the labels and being able to see the people behind the products really puts a smile on my face! 😁✨ I wish them all the best and many eco-conscious customers!

Bonus Tip

While you are there, you should definitely hit the Saturday farmers market, which is easily the coolest farmers market I have ever been to!! Lots of package-free loose produce, an incredible variety, and a great variety of items hand-crafted on the island. There is even a miso maker and a lady that makes bags out of old suits.

2 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, it looks like this store is closing… Hey, maybe Shia could run it?!

    • Oh no! Thanks so much for letting us know, Claudia! To be honest, we once thought about opening a ZW bulk store (but didn’t have the guts to follow through XD)

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