According to the CRC’s website, Canadians produce 31 million tonnes of waste each year. Only about 30% of those 31 million tonnes is recycled, and the rest is added to landfills, or worse, ends up polluting the natural environment.
Kate Pepler has been making an impactful change with the recent opening of a package-free cafe, bulk store, and community hub, The Tare Shop, in the north end of Halifax. When asked where the idea for the shop came from, Pepler explained, “After graduating, I was pretty depressed about the state of the world, so I started Our Positive Planet as a way to seek out and share environmental success stories to inspire action. That’s how I fell into the zero waste movement and started looking at my own plastic consumption… I realized how hard it was in Halifax to shop package free. There wasn’t one place that offered it all, so that’s where the idea came from.”
The shop carries a variety of products in bulk that you can fill your own containers with, as well as sustainable lifestyle items. “The easier it is for people to access these products package free, the more people will live this way,” says Pepler.
In the shop’s cafe, there are no disposable cups or plastic food wraps. You have the option of bringing your own travel mug to take out, or sitting in to use one of theirs. If you don’t have a travel mug, there are some available for purchase, or you can borrow one from the store’s mug library.
Not only does The Tare Shop greatly help people live a life with less waste, but it also encourages taking a few minutes out of your busy day to sit down and enjoy a coffee, which is something we all could get value from. The cafe carries Java Blend coffee, World Tea House, and fresh goodies from local bakeries (often with gluten-free and vegan options!).
Clearly, waste is a huge problem that the whole world faces. When considering this pressing issue, Pepler suggested, “I think that the biggest issue is how disconnected we’ve become from everything. From where we get our food, to the products that we use, how things are made, the impacts that our actions have. I think that’s where the biggest issue lies. We consume without thinking about our actions… When we throw something ‘away,’ it isn’t going away. There is no magical land that is ‘away’. It goes somewhere, whether it’s a landfill or an ocean, it goes somewhere.”
Words & Photos by Jenna Clayton