Package-free groceries are more accessible in Metro Vancouver
Jarr and Nada teamed up to deliver package-free groceries across the region
Jarr and Nada, a package-free grocery delivery and store in the Vancouver area have teamed up to increase accessibility of package-free living in Metro Vancouver.
Jarr, created by Emily Sproule, and Nada, created by Brianne Miller, are package-free stores with the goal of limiting the wastes produced by people when grocery shopping.
Jarr was created in 2020 because Sproule wanted a more convenient way for people to be zero-waste, especially when it came to grocery shopping. When customers shop with Jarr, they can have their groceries delivered to their doorsteps.
Customers can purchase products like pasta, yogurt, rice, bread, and fresh produce. They can receive their groceries in a jar that can be returned for a $2 deposit fee.
Sproule says when customers receive the fresh produce sourced from the KPU farm, it comes loosely packed in a bin with no extra packaging. The bins include the jars with other food products. Customers can leave their jars out to be collected and the deposit fee for them are returned back to their account so they can use it for their next purchase.
Jarr delivers to New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, and Bowen Island.
Sproule says Jarr has been delivering for about two years. However, since it’s a small business, there are some challenges and the partnership with Nada will allow both companies to continue their business the same way but share resources and information with one another.
“The thing I’m most excited about is together we can move the zero-waste movement forward with the knowledge that we share. So, not only can we bring in more products and serve more people, but I think this [is] an incredible opportunity to do it better,” Sproule says.
Nada grocery store allows customers to shop in-person and online. For in-store shopping, customers are asked to bring their own clean containers, bags, and jars to shop. They can also order their groceries online and pick them up in store, or have it delivered to their homes, and customers can send back the containers to be sanitized.
Nada delivers to Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta, Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and North Vancouver. Both companies plan to expand to the Fraser Valley.
Miller says Nada works to keep every aspect of the company package-free, from the store itself to the warehouse. When coffee beans are delivered to them in bags, they sell the coffee package-free to their customers, and return the bags to their suppliers.
Teaming up with Jarr has many advantages, Miller says. They are both “women-led companies” and their businesses focus on the same goals: limiting waste and reducing carbon footprints.
“There’s lots of big picture system changes that we’re working on together that we’re super excited about. Ultimately, the merge … it really is an opportunity for us to bring more customers into this movement and continue to make our package-free shopping easier and more accessible for people,” Miller says.
In the partnership with Jarr, Miller says larger orders can be placed, they can expand the areas they deliver to, the density of deliveries increases, and as a result less vehicles are on the road.
In 2018, a total of “1.1 billion single-use items were disposed of in the Metro Vancouver region.” Those items include retail bags, disposable cups, straws, takeout containers, and utensils, according to a solid waste report from Metro Vancouver.
The federal government announced a ban on single-use plastics which goes into effect at the end of this year. Some of the items in the ban include straws, cutlery, checkout bags, and stir sticks. Companies will also no longer be allowed to sell certain plastic items by the end of 2023, and Canada will no longer export certain plastics by the end of 2025.
Miller says the ban is a “step in the right direction.”
“We really are big proponents of circular models. So anything that can be reused is really great. As long as there’s support for companies along the way to start to action those [solutions] in a way that makes sense,” she says.
Sproule says the plastic ban helps retailers make better choices, and gets people thinking about ways to reduce their waste and go package-free. But she also feels like the government needs to work on ways to “eliminate the waste from entering the waste stream to begin with.”
She says it’s not possible for a person to go all the way to zero-waste. But people who are looking to reduce their waste can do things like a “personal waste audit” in their home, buying grocery items in bulk, and not putting produce in plastic bags.
“Looking at your recycling, looking at your garbage can, looking at what you’re even composting and being like, ‘How can I reduce this?’ And just pick a couple of key items.”
Sproule wants people to understand the importance of reducing their waste, being kind to themselves, and understanding how the system works. She says it’s easy for someone to reduce their own waste, but there needs to be more pressure on the companies who create the waste from packaging.
“Maybe there’s a small zero-waste store in your community, or maybe you can get delivery in your community. Just keeping your eyes open for what … opportunities are near you and knowing it doesn’t have to be perfect,” Sproule says.
Miller also wants people to start small when it comes to reducing waste, starting by looking in the garbage and becoming aware of the items thrown out most.