Hello Québec! There is a lot to learn from what is happening with the Zero Waste movement in Québec, Here is our Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Quebec.
How to use this guide: Many websites have the English/French option in either the top right, left or at the bottom of the page. If not, we have google translated the website in additional EN/FR links.
*This article was written by Ariel Wyse
There is a lot to learn from what is happening with the Zero Waste movement in Québec. There are two initiatives that are distinct from the rest of Canada: one is Circuit Zéro Déchet, an opportunity for businesses to buy a sticker stating “Your clean and reusable containers are welcome here!” and post it visibly in their window. Once the sticker is up, they are added to the database of businesses all over the province. Simple, yet effective!
Another great organization started from 3 roommates who thought it was ridiculous that people buy individual over-packaged items when instead they could contact the farmer for bulk (and way less packaging) and split it in community. Thus, Nous Rire (“We Laugh”) was born: a way to order bulk, then volunteers and community members re-package all of the food for pick up and seem to have a great time doing it!
Enjoy this guide on your Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot journey!
NousRire - EN FR - Order bulk foods online through this website and then go to one of their pickup locations to get your food; when you arrive with your food storage containers in tow volunteers will assist you in packing your food (if you decide to volunteer yourself you can receive a discount!)
Bulk Barn - as of February 2017, Bulk Barn allows customers to bring their own re-usable containers rather than using the plastic bags provided in-store.
Village des Valeurs - EN FR - popular second-hand retailer with locations in every province; they have frequent sales throughout the year as well as a free "Super Savers Club" membership that entitles you to 20% off on your birthday.
Mme L'Ovary - A Canadian alternative to Thinx, this Québécois brand sells three different styles of underwear that you can wear in lieu of pads or tampons. “Change the world drop by drop, uterus by uterus!”
Distributed in Montréal and it’s environs, online sale and at festivals.
Diva Cup – A reusable menstrual cup that you can find at retailers all over the province.
Lush - 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.
35% of their products come single-use packaging-free.
Recycle My Electronics – An online database where you can enter your postal code and see all the e-waste recycling options in your area.
Staples – Sells paper-wrapped toilet paper, and has 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, 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!
Bon App: “Discover our network of fridges allowing you to save food!”. Wait- what?! Fridges are installed in businesses, which maintain them and keep surveillance. The community is encouraged to donate food to the fridges, and take from them as well (for free!)
Frenco - EN FR -Whether you are looking for waste reduction, local products, health food, vegetarian options or organic, the bulk options at Frenco have you -and your reusable containers- covered. To top it off, they do workshops for your inner maker. Then stay and enjoy the tasty vegan treats in the café!
Épicerie LOCO - EN FR - Co-founded by four female entrepreneurs, this zero-waste grocery store is a great place to pick up some kitchen staples; they also carry some beauty and health items. If you’re curious about where products come from, their website has a map that links out to their local suppliers!
Vrac & Bocaux - Specializes in organic and Local zero waste products in bulk. Most exciting are the bulk cheese and chocolate options- there is no reason not to stop in!
Méga Vrac - EN FR - Over 1000 items without packaging! The selection includes bulk hummus, eggs, spices, nut butters, dry goods, oils, syrups, and kombucha. They also carry zero waste and reusable goods and give a 5% discount for bringing your own clean containers.
Le Super Qualité Snack Bar Indien - An Indian restaurant where you can make a $20 deposit to get a "tiffin" (a metal snack container) to use for your takeout food; when you're done with the tiffin bring it back and get back the deposit.
Klova - Bring your own containers here to buy refills of things like laundry detergent, soap, toothpaste or to pick up zero waste goods like biodegradable dish brushes or beeswax food wrap made by Abeego. Their selection of products are non-toxic and not tested on animals.
Habitat pour l’humanité ReStore – Both an environmentally and socially responsible option: The ReStore sells gently used and surplus furnishings, building materials and appliances from businesses and the general public.
Renaissance Québec - A thrift shop and registered charity that hires and trains individuals having difficulty finding employment as part of their job training program; their slogan is "Recover goods, reintegrate people". Several locations in Montréal.
Cul de sac - Carries vintage, upcycled clothing and sample clothing at their 3 locations.
Related Post: Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Toronto
La Récolte - Bulk food store offering minimal packaging and values conscious consumption. Carries dry goods as well as oils and vinegar, with storefronts in Limoilou and Cartier.
Related Post: Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Manitoba
Les gourmandises Louca - Sells 100% organic and vegetarian goods, emphasis on zero waste and bringing reusable containers. In addition to the grocery store, they also have a vegetarian deli.
Ô Village – Plant-based and family-friendly cafe hosting regular wellness-oriented workshops. Will accept home-brought containers.
Le Local 1160 – Bring your own containers to this Coffee shop and takeaway featuring local ingredients and local art.
Saucisses et complices – A deli in Limoilou that -in addition to wildly popular hot dogs- carries gluten-free and vegan sausages. BYOC.
Mr. Vrac - A bulk store with a mission to help you green your lifestyle. Carries a wide variety of body care, lotions, shampoos/conditioners as well as bulk food and zero waste items.
Aux trésors Agapè - A non-profit selling appliances, furniture, books, games etc, which in turn provides goods and food boxes to those in need.
Le Pavois - EN FR - A non-profit that supports people with mental health challenges to reintegrate professionally. There are also staff and volunteer opportunities for community members seeking hands-on professional experience.
Friperie Méli-Mélo - A second-hand shop that combines household goods and clothing.
Related Post: Zero Waste Shopping Guide: Nova Scotia
If you want to be added to the list, please get in touch with us.