Low Package Alternatives and Where to Find them

Photo by Nature Bee

I’m sure you, like me, have seen news headlines about plastic in the ocean, the drama surrounding Victoria’s plastic bag ban, or heard the grumbles about straws, coffee cups, and takeout containers. Everywhere I look I see disposable packaging.

It’s incomprehensible to imagine a life completely free from these modern conveniences. I want to be more conscious of how much waste I am creating however I also don’t have the time, or frankly the emotional capacity, to internalize this problem into a full lifestyle change. I am interested in making small changes and over time decrease my disposable consumption habits.

If you are like me some of my favourite options may be able to help.

Singing Bowl Granola

I’ve been part of the Singing Bowl Granola bucket club for a while; I bring my empty bucket and trade it in for a full bucket of delicious no-grain granola. The returned bucket is thoroughly sterilized and filled up for the next person. Singing Bowl Granola not only is focusing on reducing the amount of disposable packaging, they also support school breakfast programs and other local charities.


Joining the returnable container movement is new hummus aficionados, Justos. This Victoria company serves their 8 creative flavours of hummus and vegan dips in reusable glass jars to reduce their impact on the environment, the only hummus company in Canada to do so.

There is already so much waste associated with consumer habits, and when starting a business, Justin didn’t want to add to this problem. He believes that there needs to be a change by shifting the onus from individual consumer choices onto business providing alternatives.

It’s exciting to see a company starting off trying to demonstrate that consumers will choose an eco-friendly option if given the opportunity.

You can order on their webpage, or keep any eye out for these gorgeous jars in local markets soon!

Nature Bee

Gone are the days of Dunkaroos and Lunchables (sad, I know), where every item in my lunch bag was wrapped in plastic. Welcome to the new age of beeswax wraps.

It all started in 2008 when creator Toni Desrosiers developed Abeego right here in Victoria, and this idea has exploded around the globe, including a number of makers in Victoria. Through trial and error, I’ve settled on Nature Bee as my preferred product. It feels sturdier, stronger and I’m comfortable tossing wrapped veggies into my bag and taking them on the go. I find it just sticks better. The branding is sunny and positive in a time of overwhelming environmental frustration.

There are so many beeswax options out there so try out a couple until you find the one that works best for you.

The Market Garden

I absolutely adore The Market Garden, a boutique grocer and urban farm, on Catherine St. in Vic West.

Walking in the door I’m overcome with that “kid in a candy store overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation” feeling. The best area of the store, hands down, is the spice wall. An entire wall filled with unique spices rarely seen, all in small reusable glass jars. How can that be anything other than magical? Other jars full of bulk items; nuts, popcorn, lentils, and so much more line the opposite wall. When the jars are returned a deposit is refunded. I am a very spontaneous shopper and find it so much easier to bring jars back once they’re used, than to remember to bring them in the first place. Plus, I’m not awkwardly trying to fill the jars with one hand, while I hold up the lid and spill half a scoop on the floor… or is that just me?

810 Catherine Street, Vic West@victoriawestmarketgarden


Have you seen the Nulla cups?

I first found them at 2% Jazz coffee shop and have been seeing more pop up around town. The mission is simple; an easy,convenient, and affordable alternative to disposable coffee cups.

I love my travel mug, but I’m notorious for either neglecting to clean it (gross), or forgetting it at home. Nulla is great because with a $5 deposit I can borrow a travel mug and return it for a clean one the next time I grab a coffee!

They’re made to be recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Check their webpage for participating locations and ask your favourite local coffee shop to join the project!www.thenullaproject.ca@nullaproject


At the end of the day, the best way to reduce the amount of disposable packaging you generate is to bring your own containers.

For more places where you can do this check out the Zero Waste Emporium’s growing list of retailers that will let you use your own container.

Tasting Victoria Newsletter