Welcome to Green Action Centre’s Zero-Waste Shopping Guide

Here you’ll find ways to reduce waste in your daily life that are fun & sustainable! We have made a list of where you can shop to help you live a zero-waste lifestyle. Let us know your favourite zero-waste shopping tips in the comments!

One mans trash is another man’s treasure…

Buying used, borrowing, renting, or swapping with a friend is (almost) always the most zero-waste and eco-friendly option, because it means you aren’t increasing demand on extraction of new resources to make brand-new goods. eBay and Kijiji are great options for for finding these items, and there’s even local Facebook groups that have been created to match people with things to other people who need the things. Or, you can go with the good old fashioned garage sale circuit and flea market browsing!

What can you do to improve zero-waste shopping in our community?

Shop with your values in mind – invest in green options that are good for you and the planet.

If there is a local grocer or store who is using unnecessary packaging you can give their management a call to let them know you would shop there more often, and would recommend them to your community, if they made zero-waste shopping options more accessible. You can also call ahead to see if they will accommodate for you to make zero-waste purchases.

General tips we hope you find helpful: 

  • Local Farmers’ Markets are a good low-waste option, as they use less packaging on their products and the products you buy carry a lower carbon footprint from not travelling such a great distance to get to your kitchen table.

You don’t necessarily have to shop somewhere special to move towards zero waste. For example, when visiting the grocery store:

  • Obviously, always bring a bag! Manitoba does not have any ban on plastic bags like some
    other cities do, so it is up to you to bring your own and ditch the plastic.
  • Also, skip the flimsy plastic produce bags. Bring your own reusable veggie/fruit cloth bags when shopping or simply let your produce breath until they get home with you!
  • Buying in larger quantities reduces packaging.
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to choose containers that can be recycled here in Manitoba.
  • Clothing is often pretty “zero waste” in its packaging, but still try to refuse the tissue paper & bag.

    A beautiful field of organic cotton

  • Consider buying natural fiber clothing such as cotton, bamboo or wool that are able to decompose eventually, unlike the synthetic materials. Better still, buy used or host a clothes swap with friends!
  • For personal care products, switch from liquid soap to bar soap; consider switching to solid shampoo or at least buy it in large 1 Litre bottles from the salon (it’s cheaper than all those little bottles anyway).
  • Try a straight razor for shaving, or move towards the kind where you keep the handle and only replace the head if you use disposable…or just let your hair grow! Winter is coming.
  • Pick up a pack of cloth napkins and start using those instead of paper & consider using hankies to replace your facial tissue usage!
  • Say no to the straw when ordering a drink or use a reusable one like these ones from Life Without Plastic.
  • Use reusable snack bags and glass “tupperware” or jars for food on the go. We’re loving these resuable bags, made just outside of Winnipeg!
  • Swap wasteful plastic wrap for Abeego beeswax infused food wraps. Keep things fresh and reduce the amount of waste for your delicious leftovers.

Green Buying Guide – Winnipeg

Below is a list of businesses who are making zero-waste shopping easier for you
Do you have a store to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Grocery (Food & Drink)

  • Bulk Barn recently introduced waste-free policies so their customers can fill up on their bulk by bringing in their own clean reusable containers when they shop. 
  • Organic Planet in Winnipeg offers bulk buying of local organic and fair trade products for you to fill your cupboards with.
  • We reached out to Bouchee/Boucher, a local butcher, and they will let you bring your own container for their meat products.
  • Frescolio sells specialty Oil & Vinegars in glass bottles that you can bring back to be refilled. Also, they do yummy tastings to help you find products you love.
  • It’s worth mentioning again: visit your local farmer’s market!

Personal Care & Household Products

  • Lush is quite good about packaging – paper wrappings, naked soaps, they even have a container return program for any of their black tins/tubs/bottles with a closed-loop recycling system. The black bottles are recycled and used as new Lush bottles!
  • In Winnipeg:
    • Generation Green and Humbolt’s Legacy are both local business that sell green household cleaners, reusable kitchen and home cleaning supplies, locally made personal care items, clothing and much more!
    • Local Shop Public is a boutique-style shop that has a refill station for laundry and other detergents. They also sell unique kitchen and home items with little to no packaging.

Office Supplies

  • Tiny Feast in the exchange sell pens that are sold loose
  • Look for recycled products when buying in bulk from stores like Staples.
  • Terracycle sells zero waste boxes for your to purchase and mail in to process difficult-to-recycle waste that cannot be recycled through regular municipal recycling. Terracycle also partners with several well-known brands to offer free waste disposal services that you can sign up for
  • At Green Action Centre, we work with Winnipeg Recycling Service to recycle our in our office for filmy plastics. All staff can bring their otherwise non-recyclable plastics in, and they get turned into recycled plastic lumber goods like flower planters! 

Other zero-waste initiatives:

  • FruitShare connects fruit pickers/volunteers with bountiful fruit trees so the harvest doesn’t go to waste. Rescue food waste with others and enjoy the harvest! 

Second-Hand Shops & Consignment Stores

Winnipeg Region: Try out this secondhand shop map to find shops near you. Narcity also published this handy “14 best thrift shops in Winnipeg” list.

Various locations across Manitoba: The ReStore (Habitat for Humanity, renovation and house goods), Value Village, Goodwill, Salvation Army, MCC Thrift Shops

Used Books & Art Supplies Winnipeg

Green Circle Salons – Hair & Body Care

  • Green Circle certified hair salons recycle a lot of the things they use in their hair cutting and styling process and often use more environmentally friendly products. 

Reading List

If you’re up for some zero-waste reading here are a few books & blogs we recommend. Before buying, see if you can score a copy from your local library… Ok we’re done telling you what to do 😉 happy waste-reducing! Please share your tips in the comments below & let us know if you see something missing from our list.

Other Zero-Waste Blogs worth checking out: