Chilliwack’s Salina Derish launched Pick Eco Zero Waste Groceries to help shoppers reduce their environmental impact.

‘Zero waste’ is the target for innovative Chilliwack grocer

Small steps can lead to big results in curbing kitchen waste

Where does the majority of your household waste come from? If you’re like most families, the kitchen is likely a major culprit.

From over-packaging of groceries to uneaten food tossed in the garbage or compost bin, waste is a huge problem that costs – both the environment AND your wallet.

In fact, a 2014 study found that $31 billion worth of food is wasted in Canada each year – almost half of that at home.

Salina Derish aims to change that.

“Sustainability and reducing our environmental impact is really important to me,” explains the owner of Chilliwack’s Pick Eco Zero Waste Groceries. “We wanted to create a different shopping experience.”

Pick Eco aims to make it easier to shop local, shop healthy and live a zero-waste life. Shoppers bring their own clean containers, which are weighed empty then re-weighed once filled, so you only pay for what you use, Derish explains. While she doesn’t offer produce – in large part because local farmers already do such a great job – you’ll find just about everything else.

Having visited similar stores in other regions, “Why not Chilliwack?” Derish asks.

Where to start? It’s a common question, Derish says, as the idea of “zero waste” can be overwhelming. “Find one area of your life that’s most wasteful and concentrate on that,” she suggests. If you typically buy one or two take-out drinks each day, ask whether you could switch to a reusable mug. “Keep it attainable and sustainable. Don’t try to do everything all at once – it’s about taking small steps.”

Need a few ideas? Chat with the Pick Eco team or sign up for a workshop. “We love sharing knowledge with our amazing customers!”

Carry smart: Re-usable grocery bags are a great start, but what about the packaging your groceries come in? “Nothing leaves our store in plastic, other than people’s own bags or containers they may have brought to re-use. We also work with our suppliers to reduce their packaging, and because so many are local, we have a lot of flexibility,” Derish says, noting that each time you refill, you prevent another container from entering the waste stream.

Think beyond the staples: Dry goods are staples at Pick Eco, but why stop there? Choose berries from the freezer, Balsamic vinegars and cooking oils, condiments, nuts, butter and lots more. Vegan cheese? You’ll find it in the cooler! All these products that typically come in new glass or plastic containers, can now go home in your own re-used – and reusable – container. “I think people are surprised at the liquids and other things they don’t always see in the ‘bulk’ section,” Derish reflects.

What’s best to ALWAYS buy ‘bulk?’ Spices are the perfect Pick Eco purchase, because you’ll get a small amount that’s fresh when you need it. And real vanilla – traditionally an expensive baking indulgence – can be a great deal because Derish buys in larger amounts and passes those savings along.

How else can you save? Start a Pick Eco stamp card: After 10 stamps, receive 10 per cent off all your bulk goods on your next visit.

Learn more at pickeco.ca, check out their blog for more great ideas and stay up-to-date on Facebook and Instagram!

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Pick Eco Zero Waste Groceries’ packaging-free products help significantly reduce shopping waste.

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