We’ve all seen the photos, hoards of shoppers lining up at Costco to stock up on supplies. While the big box shops provide everything you need for a self-quarantine, local shops need love too. This pandemic hasn’t been kind to small businesses, or sustainable shopping practises. It’s no longer ideal to shop with reusable containers for fear of contamination. Cleaning products with harsh chemicals are favoured for their sanitizing properties. And disposables like paper towels, wipes and gloves are in high demand to keep people safe at home. It’s a zero waste nightmare! I’ve collected more plastic packaging in the last month than I have in over a year. But it’s okay. What’s most important now is that we focus on keeping safe and staying home to flatten the curve. We can also opt to shop locally. Many campaigns are encouraging Quebecers to support their favourite businesses with online orders or gift cards. Another great thing about shopping locally online is that it’s off the beaten track and close to home, allowing for faster delivery time.
I decided to put together a list of my favourite eco-friendly places to order essentials online right now. For the record, none of these places asked me to recommend them, I just sincerely love these businesses and products. Consider checking them out!
Loco is my zero waste grocery store of choice with several locations across Montreal covering a large delivery zone. They are operational right now and offer home delivery within two days. When I placed my order, I received it within hours. They package your food in brown paper bags, or for a deposit, in a jar that you can return when the pandemic is over. Their website indicates that all food is prepared in the back store away from clients. They don’t have a large selection online, but they are adding inventory every day. It’s a great place to get staples like flour, rice, beans and organic veggie baskets.
There are also a few more zero waste delivery options in Montreal, including:
BocoBoco which covers a large portion of the city. They have a fair amount of choice and deliveries are on Thursdays.
Epicerie Muscade is a zero waste vegan shop that delivers bulk items in paper bags and liquid in refillable glass containers. They are covering Mile-End, Rosemont, Villeray, Ville-Marie, The Village by bike and Hochelaga, Verdun, Parc-extension, Nouveau-Rosemont, Outremont, Westmount and Côte-des-Neiges by car.
Vrac sur roues is a zero waste bicycle delivery service. I haven’t ordered from them yet, but I’ve heard lots of great things. They deliver bulk goods in their bags, which you transfer to your containers once they arrive. They have a pretty large delivery radius from Villeray to Longueuil, but it doesn’t include parts of the South-West and Verdun.
Vrac et Bocaux is covering the Plateau/Rosemont/Villeray zone. Although their delivery zone is a bit more limited, they have a large selection of goods.
If you have a young child at home, they may outgrow their clothes before this pandemic is over. Thrift shopping or Facebook marketplace is off-limits during quarantine making it hard to find sustainable clothing options. Fortunately, Saint Henri’s own Mini Cycle offers both used and new children’s clothes online. They sell eco-responsible brands often made in Canada, which they buy back when your child outgrows them. I love their business model so much that I shop there almost exclusively for new clothes. The clothing is pricier than fast fashion brands but much higher quality and you’ll get some money back when Mini Cycle repurchases them. For a limited time, they’re also buying children’s clothing that wasn’t purchased at their store. If you have any clothes to sell, you can send them pictures on their Instagram page: minicycle.recycle.
Unscented Co is my favourite brand for all-natural cleaning products. I have tested many eco-friendly dish soaps and often find they don’t quite cut the grease as much as more conventional brands. That is not the case with Unscented Co. I have exclusively been buying their dish soap in the refillable format for three years and no complaints. They are offering an essentials cleaning kit with everything you need for your home. You can hang on to all the containers and refill them at your local green shop once the pandemic eases up. The kit also includes a reusable cloth from Toronto-based company Kliin. The ultra-absorbent biodegradable Kliin cloth completely replaces your need to use paper towels. It’s a gamechanger! You can also order a Kliin at Epicerie Loco.
Instead of lining up at the pharmacy, consider ordering your skincare products from BKind. Their entirely vegan skincare line is made here in Quebec. They offer package-free soap, shampoo and conditioner bars. Their packaged products are made from recycled plastic and include body creams, balms, masks etc. They are offering a free hand balm for orders over $50 as part of their COVID-19 promotion.
Komomo is the take-out counter of my favourite restaurant Sushi momo. They’re operational and offering sushi in compostable containers and delivered by bike. Their delivery radius is not that big, so they’ve recently partnered with Door Dash for the larger delivery radius (4.5 km from 3603 Saint-Denis). We’ve mostly been eating at home, but a little take-out is nice for a special occasion like Easter weekend.
Audacieuse Vanille is a small glutenfree vegan bakeshop that uses natural, mostly organic and fairtrade ingredients. They had to close their doors thanks to COVID-19 but are offering sweet treats on their website. They sell yummy little cakes, cookies and banana bread for delivery to South-West, Verdun and Ville Emard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Treats are packaged in recyclable (possibly compostable) paper boxes. Check them out if you want to sweeten your tooth.
That’s my list for now. I look forward to learning more about the efforts of Le Panier Bleu announced last week. I definitely will make use of their site for shopping locally once it’s up. If you have any places to recommend, please let me now.
Note about food safety: When it comes to food, I know that people are a little worried that the virus might linger. To be cautious, you can stick to only ordering food that needs to be cooked or heated up. I always wipe down my deliveries with an alcohol spray when possible. As far as the experts are concerned, COVID-19 transmission is typically person to person rather than through food. British Colombia’s CDC website has an excellent page on food safety here. With that info in mind, I feel comfortable ordering fresh food from time to time, especially from establishments that I trust. That choice is ultimately personal.