The Ultimate Zero Waste Shopping Guide for Toronto

updated June 2021

After stumbling into various eco-friendly, low-waste, zero-waste, and responsible businesses around Toronto and the GTA, I finally gathered all of them into one handy list. In researching this post, I’m happy to learn that the city has implemented more green initiatives recently to reduce waste.

I put groceries, beauty and lifestyle products into one category because most grocery stores will also offer some personal care and home care products. Use the Google Map at the bottom of this post to find the closest eco store or restaurant around you.

Most places encourages BYOC (Bring Your Own Container). EDIT: Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, some stores may have put that program on pause. Bulk Barn has, for example, so please double check.

 

Zero Waste Shopping: Groceries, Beauty + Lifestyle Products

Anarres Natural Health Apothecary, 1076 Bloor St. W — Aromatherapy supply store with DIY workshops and option to bring your own containers.

bare market, 1480 Danforth Ave — Bring your own container for locally sourced body care, home care, DIY ingredients, and food in bulk.

Bulk Barn, various locations — Canada’s largest bulk food retailer.

Detox Market, various locations + online shop — Green beauty shop retailer carrying some low-waste brands and zero waste supplies such as reusable rounds.

Eco+Armour, 30 Bertrand Ave, Unit C9 (Scarborough) —Bring your own container for bath, body and home products, and DIY ingredients.

Essence of Life, 50 Kensington Ave — Big independent natural food market with some zero waste goods and a good green beauty section. I buy my compostable garbage bags from here.

Feed it Forward, 3324 Dundas Street W — Not for profit, pay-what-you-can grocery store, cafe, and bakery. Sells donated food that would otherwise go to waste. 100% volunteer-run.

Green & Frugal, 2432 Kingston Rd (Scarborough) — Plastic-free houseware, natural bodycare, refill station, and diy botanical ingredients.

Karma Co-op, 739 Palmerson Ave — Member-owned and democratically run co-operative specializing in organic, local, fair trade and zero waste products.

Less Waste Co., Refill delivery service within the city for hair care and cleaning products.

Nuthouse, 1256 Bloor St W — Health food shop with bulk section.

Omo Bamboo Shop, 777 Warden Ave, Scarborough — Eco friendly home goods, personal products, with an emphasis on products made of Bamboo.

Pretty Clean Shop, 3072 Dundas St W — Large selection of zero-waste and refillable products for the body, skin, hair and home.

RefillMe, Toronto’s mobile refillery and eco-store. Free local delivery over $35

Saponetti, 615c Brock Ave— Soap refill delivery service, or pay and pickup at their location.

St. Lawrence Market, 91-95 Front St E — Lots of bulk shopping options here including Domino Foods on the lower level. Also check out Placewares on the main floor which sells kitchenware, mason jars in all sizes, produce and shopping bags.

Strictly Bulk, 924 Bloor St W & 638 Danforth Ave — Bulk food stores that also sell natural soaps, body, and cleaning products.

The Big Carrot, various locations — Worker-owned natural food market offering produce, grocery, bulk, body care and a wholistic dispensary.

The Green Jar, 1061 St Clair Ave W — Eco-friendly, package-free refillery for personal care and home care.

The Peeled Pantry, Online zero waste shop. Refill delivery service within the city for personal care and home care.

The Source Bulk Foods, 213 Roncesvalles —The Australian bulk food chain has landed in Toronto.

Unboxed Market, 1263 Dundas St W — Zero waste grocery store with a cafe and bakery

Urban Bulk & Refill, 1380 Queen St E — Bulk food, soaps, cleaners, and more.

Also check this schedule for farmers’ markets in Toronto.

Zero Waste Supplies + Gifts

Binz, 2314 Bloor St W — Storage and organization bins with eco-friendly cleaning products.

Ecotique, 191 Roncesvalles Ave — Conscious gift shop offering eco-friendlier gifts, lifestyle goods, and everyday needs. Has a small bulk refill program for beauty and personal care.

EcoExistence, 766 St. Clair Ave W —  Zero waste, eco friendly, locally made, and sustainable living goods.

Logan & Finley, 670 Queen Street West — Eco-conscious general store with a focus on sustainable clothing.

To learn what you can swap in your home for zero waste alternatives, see my post here

Responsible Restaurants + Bars

Cafe Belong, 550 Bayview Ave — Sources from Evergreen Brickworks farmers’ markets, particularly from farmers who use ethical production methods and hold sustainable food farming certifications.

Craft Beer Market, 1 Adelaide St E — Implements earth-friendly initiatives: composting and recycling programs, biodegradable to-go containers, napkins and other paper products, and serve Ocean Wise sustainable seafood. Beer systems use Bullfrog Power.

Farmhouse Tavern, 1627 Dupont St. — Farm to table restaurant focusing on seasonal and local ingredients so the menu changes every few weeks.

Farmr, 140A The Esplanade — Casual farm to table restaurant.

Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W — The restaurant in Canada’s only B-Corp certified hotel sources from local farms and partners with Bullfrog Energy.

Kupfert & Kim, various locations — This healthy plant-based (“meatless and wheatless”) and quick-service restaurant chain offers a 35¢ discount for BYOC or provides compostable takeout containers.

Harvest Kitchen, 124 Harbord St — Sources ingredients from local farms including their own. Uses ethically-raised meat, organic eggs, and the like.

Hello 123, various locations — Plant-based retaurant. Kupfert & Kim’s sibling. Provides compostable takeout cutlery and materials.

Parka Food Co., 424 Queen St W — Vegan comfort food made with wholesome ingredients. Uses compostable containers.

Sorry I’ve Got Plants, 476 Roncesvalles Ave — Low-waste vegan meal pickup or delivery service using reusable containers.

Third Wave Coffee, 42 Church Street — Specialty coffee and premium tea, sustainably sourced and served in compostable cups and lids.

Ask your local restaurants if they’ll let you bring your own container for takeout. Those that already do will display this green sticker thanks the Toronto Reduces Group Network. (Update: again, this program might be temporarily suspended due to COVID.)

Sustainable Initiatives

Loop has arrived in Canada. They partner with participating brands to make your favourite food items available in reusable packaging.

CASE app helps reduce the waste of takeout containers. They give locations on where you can return your takeout containers for them to clean and reuse because the dark plastic containers can’t be recycled.

Sustainable Fashion

Check for upcoming clothing swap events around the city on Eventbrite and Facebook.

For secondhand shops, consignment shops, and ethical clothings I recommend, see my guide on ethical clothes shopping in Toronto.

Etc. 

The Sharing Depot, various locations — Become a member for $55/year and borrow everything from camping equipment to kids toys in Canada’s first Library of Things.

Check Kijiji, Craigslist, Bunz, Varage Sale, Facebook Marketplace, and the like to buy and sell used goods.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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1 Comment

  1. […] you to bring your own container in order to reduce waste. You can find some of them around GTA here. Or you can buy non-perishable food, coffee/tea, spices, and other products in bulk and store them […]


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