A Day In The Life: Grocery Shopping II (Zerocery review)

Walking through a conventional grocery store sometimes brings me angst. I am surrounded by plastic. Have you actually stopped and looked around? Excluding the produce section (but ignoring the flimsy, dolphin-choking produce bags in that section), any aisle you’re in is almost plastered by, in and with plastic. Picture the baking aisle: baking powder, cinnamon, chocolate chips, cream of tartar, specialty flours, nuts and the list goes on. Go down the chip aisle [insert horror movie scream].

There are ways to avoid the plastic. There are two options to start (and I have blogged about both): bulk refill shopping where you take your own containers and fill them with all sorts of things and shopping at farmers’ markets, and the like, where farmers often bring their lot in bins and baskets. There is a third option. For me it’s supplementary, though I know they’re succeeding in the marketplace and some of their customers are using them as a primary option. That’s Zerocery!

My cute pup next to my weekly delivery of Zerocery to my door.

Here is something I didn’t mention before, because it’s a new experience for me, but I have been ordering groceries from a local online, no-waste grocer called Zerocery. I will say I am super impressed so far with my two months worth of orders, and they carry loads! I can’t believe I can buy Barrie’s Asparagus tortilla chips from them with no waste!

My first impression of Zerocery in a post from October 2019

Here are the main reasons I love this online, local, zero waste grocer, and why I support them every week:

  • they are a zero waste provider: pantry items in repurposed glass jars, meats wrapped in wax-free deli paper, dairy products in refundable glass bottles, pasta in brown bags (which I then repurpose as compost bags)
  • they carry high-quality, beautiful products and work hard to source the best selections
  • they carry a lot of organic, fair trade, plant-based and gluten-free products
  • they carry a majority of locally-sourced produce and groceries
  • they support local and small businesses
  • they are a small business and work tirelessly to put out an excellent experience while delivering really fantastic customer service
  • they have a seamless, easy-to-use website to order and navigate
  • they are particular and careful about how they deliver their products. For instance, they use reusable ice packs to keep milk cold, reusable sacks to protect meats and fish and add notes to the buyer for home care (i.e. place tortilla chips in an airtight container)
  • they have a super awesome “imperfect produce bag” that carries discounted veggies and fruits that are often ignored by chain grocery stores due to their bumps or malformed shapes
  • they carry Barrie’s Asparagus tortilla chips! Chips without waste!! (You’d think this was a plug for these tasty, scrumptious, spectacular nachos!)

Here’s how I incorporate Zerocery into my weekly grocery routine:

  • I think of the regular items I stock weekly that are really hard to find with no to low waste (cheese, nachos, almond milk)
  • I think of the items that I need for the recipes I am making for the week that are also no or low waste (sprigs of herbs, pasta)
  • I think of the items that I need as part of my daily routine (cranberries and raisins for kids’ lunches, cream for coffee)

Then, once my list is done, those are the items I buy at Zerocery. I find their prices reasonable considering the high quality they are delivering. Excellent selections and care and taste, but I can’t afford all my groceries from them. This keeps things in harmony for me. I have a tight budget, but I am conscientious of my impact on the planet and my family’s health. I am spending my money only on items that I know conventionally come with waste (chicken drumsticks on a bed of Styrofoam wrapped in cling film). That way, for my small budget, I can spend the rest at traditional grocery stores getting items like loose produce (carrots, lemons), items that come in recyclable cans (peas, tuna) and cardboard-based packaging (white sugar).

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, having a stocked kitchen, pantry and fridge is pretty satisfying, but knowing you’re doing it with zero waste and 100 per cent nutritious is really satisfying! What’s easier than a service delivery that comes to your door? Being kind to planet Earth, that’s what! Man, this is as easy as pie… and ordering the ingredients too!

5 thoughts on “A Day In The Life: Grocery Shopping II (Zerocery review)

  1. Thanks for this terrific post. I love the basic encouragement of your blog to do SOMETHING. Can’t buy every single thing from a zero-waste grocery? How about a few things? So well said and realistic. 😊. I’m off to check out if the deliver to my area! 💛

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    1. That’s really kind, Christine. So glad you find the blog encouraging and motivating! That’s just it. We can’t all afford that, some even less so. So let’s all try our darnedest and best where we can! Thank you for this!

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  2. Loving this blog! These are achievable lifestyle changes anyone can implement.
    Wondering if you think using Zerocery would increase the overall carbon emissions of my grocery buying? I typically walk to the store, but can’t buy completely plastic-free there. Are Zerocery coming from Kw? Reducing plastic is great, but maybe not as great if it’s increasing other carbon emissions?

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    1. First off, thanks so much! So happy to hear that.

      Totally! I have thought of that too. Here is my thought on it: they are doing a smart circuit, running an efficient trip. I also buy enough to warrant the trip (i.e. I am not ordering one thing, but many regular things). Also, I am buying hyper local products from them versus imported products which had to get to all the grocery stores (i.e. Barrie’s nachos, Tomme cheese, Moo Free milk, Harmony cream). It would be a fascinating experiment to really calculate it. What I do at the end of each year and on vacations is donate money to a carbon offset non-for-profit. I should add more to compensate for this. And is it supply and demand? Are there less people buying cheese and cream and milk in plastics if they are increasing sales in glass jars and BYO; therefore, reducing carbon emissions in factories for recycling depots and Tetra Pak manufacturers. I really don’t know. But I love where your brain is at. And I thought of that too. Because I am in Guelph, and so are they, I feel justified. Would love to hear your feedback on my reply! 🙂

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    2. Hey Christina,

      Zerocery sent a lovely e-newsletter this week which talks a bit about your comment. I thought I’d share.

      ***

      How We Choose Our Products
      The suppliers, brands and products we choose to carry may seem fairly straight forward – zero waste! However, with such a complex food system, the reality is a bit more complicated. Ethical sourcing can mean a number of things to different people and we wanted to share some of what goes into how we decide what to carry.

      Without a doubt, working with zero waste suppliers and brands (or those who are actively working towards zero waste goals) is at the top of our priority list. Beyond zero waste we have many layers of ethical sourcing we always strive to meet.

      Local – The distance a product travels has such a massive impact on its environmental footprint and we will always look for a local alternative before bringing on any imports. Always feel free to drop us a line if you know of any local products we should add!

      Fair Trade and Fair Wages – When available, we will always choose Fair Trade for every product line we carry. Fair trade means fair wages and conditions for the workers that grow some of our most commonly consumed items – coffee, bananas, chocolate and much more. We strive to source as much Fair Trade as possible and it’s our hope that we can continue to grow this selection as more becomes available.

      Palm Oil – Unsustainable sources of palm oil are responsible for loss of tropical forests and poor working conditions. Zerocery believes avoiding these unsustainable sources is imperative and we’ve done our best to research all products to avoid them. Countless hours have been spent on the phone with suppliers and scouring ingredient lists to ensure we only carry products using certified sustainable palm oil (or that avoid it altogether.)

      Accessible Prices – Zerocery has done its very best to make our product pricing as accessible and affordable as possible. With this in mind, we strive to have both organic and non-organic options to fit all budgets. Our goal moving forward will always be to continue to find ways to make Zero Waste shopping accessible and affordable to all.

      Sustainable Farming and Fishing – Identifying a sustainable source for the fish and meat we carry was a top priority for us. We were extremely lucky to partner up with Caudles Catch and Thatcher Farms who bring us the best quality, and sustainably sourced meat and fish we could find.

      Amazing Partners – Without our incredible local vendors we would not be able to offer the variety and quality we strive for. Each local vendor we work with was sought out based on all of the criteria above.

      YOU! – Our incredible customers are what truly make it possible to do what we do and continue to grow. Your support, feedback, referrals and kind words allow us to choose the products that are right for you and right for our earth. A big THANK YOU, as always.

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