Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Ontario
After the overwhelmingly positive response to the Zero Waste Toronto Guide, we’ve continued to scour the internet for businesses that can help you become a zero-waste savant, so here is The Eco Hub's Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Ontario
Use the province-wide section of this guide to find locations near you that can help you to:
- find zero waste items
- use containers for bulk goods
- dine at and support restaurants that are engaged in waste reduction
- recycle items you can’t find a use for
We’ve also compiled select locally run and community-minded storefronts that can help with your zero waste goals! Check out businesses in Hamilton, Hunstville, Kitchener/Waterloo, Ottawa, Peterborough, Toronto, Whitby and Windsor.
Farmers Markets Ontario – Farmers Markets are a key resource for any aspiring Zero Waster since fruits and vegetables are typically sold without packaging. This database has over 180 Farmers Markets province-wide, searchable by day of the week or location!
Harmony Organic – From whipping cream and eggnog to the classic chocolate milk or skim, Harmony Organic can provide you with returnable glass bottles in portions of 1 litre or 500 ml. Click here to find out where this product is sold.
Whole Foods – Gives you 10¢ off for every bag you reuse for each transaction, you can keep the discount or donate it back to charity. Click here for a list of locations.
Bulk Barn - As of February 2017, Bulk Barn allows customers to bring their own reusable containers rather than using the plastic bags provided in store. Click here for a list of locations.
The Beer Store - Accepts alcohol empties (including wine bags) as well as plastic 6 pack rings for recycling.
Plato’s Closet - International consignment store with clothing, accessories, footwear, outerwear, exercise wear and menswear.
Value Village – A popular second-hand retailer with locations in every province; they have pretty frequent sales throughout the year as well as a free “Super Savers Club” membership that entitles you to 20% off on your birthday. Click for stores.
Diva Cup – A reusable menstrual cup that you can find at retailers all over the province. With headquarters located in Kitchener, Ontario, it’s worth a mention in this guide!
Lush – a cult cosmetic company with locations all over Canada; their “5 Pot Program” allows you to return five of their post-consumer recycled plastic containers in-store in exchange for a free face mask.
Recycle My Electronics – An online database where you can enter your postal code and see all the e-waste recycling options in your area.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Each ReStore is different, selling used and surplus furnishings and building materials. With some locations, you can even donate your kitchen prior to renovations: a crew will come and salvage the pre-renovation space! There are 65 locations across Ontario.
Staples – Office supplies store with drop bins to recycle old markers, pens, mechanical pencils, batteries, cell phones, printer ink and toner cartridges.
Mountain Equipment Co-op – Not only does MEC publish an annual report on their carbon emissions, but they also do a twice-annual waste audit of their store dumpsters to find ways to lessen their environmental impact. On top of it, their selection of reusable and eco-friendly gear knows no bounds!
The Mustard Seed Co-Op is a grocery store focusing on locally produced food that encourages customers to bring their own containers and bags (25 cent discount for each container), composts as much as possible and reuses its’ paper recyclables.
The Nook Café – Has a goal of being 100% waste-free- and is dangerously close! Decorated with second-hand items, furnished with recyclables, and ensures that all cups, napkins, lids and drink sleeves are compostable or recyclable. 25 cents off if customers bring their own coffee mug.
The Pale Blue Dot - specializes in ethically sourced and earth-friendly reusable products, quickly becoming a community hub for sustainable living in Hamilton.
Sustain Eco Store – A family-run store focussed on green lifestyles, carrying a wide variety of household, kitchen and health and wellness items, including non-toxic home improvement products. A comprehensive selection of zero waste products and articles with tips for a zero-waste lifestyle.
The Sustainable Market - Prevents food waste and provides quality, clean food! Farmers harvest food based on the orders received through the online market, and it is at the pickup location within 24 hours. Serves Waterloo and Guelph only. Locations.
Talize Thrift Store – Known locally as having some of the best finds in the city: high quality and low prices. When you donate, receive a $5 off coupon for your next purchase, and get 30% off rewards at certain times of the year.
Luster and Oak – Consignment store run by students, for students. Also runs a blog exploring fast fashion and local thrifting expertise. Luster and Oak – Consignment store run by students, for students. Also runs a blog exploring fast fashion and local thrifting expertise.
Truth Beauty Company - All your green beauty needs in one place. They focusing on lots of great Canadian brands.
Worth a Second Look – A low-cost, community-driven furniture, and housewares store, making use of second-hand goods including repair if necessary in their “Fix-It Facility”.
Computer Recycling – Just as it sounds: volunteers refurbish computers that have been donated, and if they are unusable, the computer is stripped down and properly recycled.
Zero Waste Bulk – Carries a wide variety of reusable household and personal items and bulk items that can be purchased with containers brought from home.
Nu Grocery Ottawa – A zero-waste grocery store carrying over 500 products that prioritize local, organic, and all-natural options! If you forget your container, they will lend a jar and/or offer a compostable bag. The range of items are not only food but also beauty/health, and household goods. Store finder.
Herb and Spice Food – Carries bulk dry goods as well as bulk refrigerated goods (i.e. tofu). Bring your own container or egg carton, to be tared at the cash register. Also carries products from other local businesses in Ottawa.
The Piggy Market – Artisan Delicatessen and Craft Butcher: locally sourced meats, cheese, baked goods and prepared items. Enhancing the food culture in Ottawa with regular tastings and courses. They are more than happy to skip the packaging using one of your containers from home!
The Green Door – A vegetarian, a vegan and gluten-free restaurant that has no set menu: what’s made is based on what is in season with local farmers (who also take the food scraps back for composting). Customers are encouraged to bring takeout containers, and pay for their meal by weight!
Rikochet Resale - One of Ottawa's most popular consignment stores: Not only do they help you along your way with re-using clothing, they also donate items to local non-profits like Dress for Success.
Fairy Godmother Ottawa - Donate your dress directly to this organization that collects formalwear for prom. A great way to make use of nostalgic items that are not making it back into your regular rotation. Donations are accepted at Brown's cleaners.
BEAUTY AND HEALTH
Planet Botanix – Specializes in ingredients for soap and DIY body care items. Also sells ready-made, natural body care products with minimal packaging.
Earth Natural Health – Bring a container to purchase bulk products- over 300 bulk herbs and spices! You can mix your own loose teas (leaf, bark, root or resin). Flower remedies, essential oils, the diva cup and natural body care products are also available.
Terra 20 – A wide selection of “Litterless Lunch” items, in addition to an eco-bar where you can purchase refillable household cleaners. Receive 75 cents off your refill purchase
Highjinx Ottawa – A social enterprise vintage and antique shop that doubles as a community safe house. Donations are sold and used to fund the Safe House; large furniture items are stored in the Furniture Shelter for when community members are in need.
Food Forest Café – With a focus on Human Health, Animal Welfare, Environmental Mindfulness and Community, this café composts its food with local farmers and gardeners, producing one garbage bag or less per week.
GreenUP – An environmental education centre, Green up coordinates events, workshops and has a storefront that carries a wide selection of reusable home, kitchen and personal care products ranging from recycled razors to stainless steel beverage/storage containers. Locations.
The Big Carrot Community Market – A worker-owned market carrying lots of local produce; they will take 25¢ off your bill if you bring your own re-usable container when purchasing bulk items
Karma– A Co-operative food store that diverts some of their organic waste to local farmers to use as animal feed and tries to limit their use of packaging
Coffeecology – Coffee delivered by bike in re-usable glass jars directly to your door; when you are finished with the jar you can leave it outside your home and a delivery person will come pick it up.
Kupfert & Kim – A trendy restaurant with several downtown locations; all their takeout packaging is compostable but they also offer 35¢ off your bill if you bring your own food container to use instead
Maizal – Mexican restaurant located in Liberty Village; Ivan Wadgymar, one of the co-owners, makes a weekly trip to the Calveiro farm in Schoberg where food waste from the restaurant is either composted or used as animal feed.
Essence Of Life Natural Food Market – providing accessibility and affordability of organic food to members of the community.
Organic Garage – A Canadian Organic and All Natural grocery store with the best quality products at Everyday Affordable Prices. Produce, Grocery, Meat, Bulk, Vitamins.
Tiffinday – Waste-free lunch delivery service specializing in South Asian Cuisine.
Black Market Clothing – Trendy thrift store with a barbershop in the back.
Kensington Market – Filled with incredible secondhand clothing stores as well as hip cafés and restaurants; it’s possible to spend an entire day walking around the market and still discover new things the next time you visit.
L’Elegante Boutique – The secondhand designer finds you’ll find in this Yorkville store are not cheap but they are fabulous
Saponetti – Customers can choose to either pick up a refill of their favourite liquid soaps, shower gels, hair products, etc. in person at their depot on Brock Ave. or to have a glass bottle delivered directly to them that Saponetti will later collect and re-use.
Green and Frugal – Fill up on DIY body care ingredients, essential oils and their own naturally made body and skincare items and they also sell zero packing shampoo bars.
BareMarket – A pop-up zero waste market; (check their website or follow them on Instagram and Facebook for locations)
Alima Pure – Minimal packaging, refillable compacts with magnetic pans, which can be swapped for a new pan when one is used up.
Logan and Finely: A general store in the west end of Toronto that carries a wide variety of home goods, clothing and zero waste supplies.
Ava’s Appletree – Home goods store with a nice selection of re-usable cloth diapers, napkins and “UnPaper” towels as well as stainless steel lunch boxes and re-usable metal straws.
Comfy Cotton – Cloth diaper delivery service; your soiled diapers are picked up by a Comfy Cotton delivery person and replaced with freshly-cleaned diapers.
The Sharing Depot – A $50/year membership allows you to borrow from their collection of party supplies, board games, toys as well as camping and sports equipment.
Bistro 67 is Centred around teaching and learning, all kitchen waste is either recycled or composted. The restaurants’ produce is grown on campus by the same students that are preparing your meal.
produce is grown on campus by the same students that are preparing your meal.
Greener Bins Compost –They bring you a bucket, you fill it with scraps, they will pick it up and replace your bucket with a clean one. The best part? You can have the composted soil back or choose to donate it to a community garden!
Editor’s Note: Have we left anything out of our Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Ontario? Please let us know, share in the comments and let’s build this list together!
Don't live in Toronto? No problem! We've got one zero waste shopping guide for each province:
Zero Waste Shopping Guide: British Columbia
Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Nova Scotia
Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Alberta
Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Quebec
Green Envy in Windsor On is a Cruelty-Free/ Eco-Friendly/ Refill Shop! Great selection of bulk by Canadian brands. Zero waste/ low waste options as well.
The Source Bulk Foods at UpperOakvilleShoppingCentre “We provide individuals and families with ‘real’, nutritious food and ingredients in an environmentally conscious format. We offer many locally sourced organic whole foods, as well as body care and cleaning products. We are a local and independent business owner on a mission to deliver plastic-free and zero waste shopping options to the Town of Oakville.”
Thanks so much, Megan. 🙂
Add GreenHeart Kitchen, in Kingsville, ON (near Windsor).
They sell refillable shampoo, truearth laudry products, and a variety of ecofriendly and sustainable items. The Green Heart Kitchen is operated by Green Heart Catering Services, and their team, based in (and from) Essex Count,y and have a passion for food—real food! We care about where food comes from, how it is grown, and how it is made. It is home to The Green Heart Lunch Club which makes healthy lunches for Child Care Centres and Elementary Schools in Windsor and Essex County.
3% of every order goes towards meals at a local food bank and the Feed it Forward program which feeds deserving kids in Windsor/Essex elementary schools. They also have a pay it forward wall so you can prepay a meal for someone who needs it.
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
There’s one in Milton and Oakville called The Kind Matter and it’s one of my favourite stores. Also, in Burlington, there’s a sustainable store called Park Market and Refillary.
Thanks so much for sharing.
A zero waste shop in Aurora has just opened June 1, 2020, it could be added to the map! It’s called Replenish General Store.
Thanks for the heads up 🙂
I have an online eco friendly store+ refill (soon to be physical location) in Newmarket, Ontario! It’s called Earth Market ! 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing.
Hi! I’ve come across a few zero waste stores in Southwestern Ontario! I know of two in London: Reimagine Co. and Unwrapped Marketplace. There’s also one in Sarnia – Great Lakes Refill Co. Hopefully this will help people looking in that area!
Thank you so much, Steph. 🙂