Zero Waste at the Farmers’ Market

ZWTorontoHi fellow Withrow Park community members! Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I was asked by the Farmers’ Market organizers to provide a blurb talking about the zero waste initiative starting at the market on July 7th and running for the remainder of the season. Straightaway, I was incredibly happy when they said “yes” to the idea. Taking inspiration from other food markets and local start-ups we will be providing market visitors with a zero waste station where they can borrow plates, bowls, metal utensils, and cups (with the hope of expanding our offerings throughout the season). Items are expected to be returned before the market closes that day so they can be washed and brought back to the market the following week. We are also adding a couple of much needed green bins for organic/food scraps. It’s an amazing opportunity to divert waste from landfills.

My journey into zero waste living began a relatively short time ago compared to my age. Let’s just say if there’s a superstar ranking of Zero Wasters I’m probably somewhere in the middle. Every week I’m learning new stuff, meeting new people, taking part in new communities online and in person. It’s awe-inspiring some of the actions people take to reduce their waste and more importantly people openly talk about their challenges. And I’ve been faced with them too. I’ve had to rethink many of the things I interact with in a day (and yes, this has diminished with experience). Whether it be in food preparation, grocery shopping, cleaning, grooming, eating out… you name it and I have scrutinized that activity for the level of waste it produces. I’ve definitely been stuck in analysis paralysis for what used to be no-thinking decisions. But that’s the point, my zero waste journey is about unraveling these hardwired decisions I’ve been making my whole life. I strongly believe it boils down to saying “no” to conveniences but only when it makes sense to. One ZW motto I’ve heard repeatedly, that I also like to use, is “You do you”. Mainly because it leaves the choice in the hands of individual and releases a person from guilt or shame. We’re all making our way in life the best way we can.

I am quite aware there are various zero waste initiatives going on in the world. And what I do on a daily basis should be kept in perspective to that. Single-use plastic waste has been given more and more media attention. Globally it’s a significant problem we’re faced with. Since solutions are nuanced and require policymakers and manufacturers who are willing to change, I figure I shouldn’t wait for them and focus on what I can do today. Introducing a zero waste initiative to Withrow Park’s Farmers’ Market is exciting and a new level of proactiveness on my part. The organizers and I really believe the program can be successful and we have great confidence that the rest of you will be delighted to use the service.

So please come by and talk to me about your zero waste journey no matter where you’re at with it. I want to hear about it. I’ll tell you about my favourite convenience example – the chopped up cantaloupe in a plastic container. The ultimate “convenience inception” at the grocery stores! Seriously though, we can educate each other, share tips, and maybe even compare what’s in our waste-free on-the-go gear kits.

See you at the Market!

Katrina McGuire
Facebook groups I like: “Zero Waste Toronto”, “Reduce, Reuse, Rethink

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