3 local zero waste grocery delivery companies

Accessibility is a major issue in the Zero Waste world. The truth is that few of us have access to low-waste groceries and home products at the best of times, let alone during COVID. Even for those of us who do have stores nearby, there are other serious challenges, such as transportation. That’s why it’s fantastic to see low-waste grocery delivery services popping up. It’s an idea whose time has come, and thank goodness! Recently, I learned about three (yes, three!) small businesses doing just that in Vancouver and its surrounding areas. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Not only are all of these businesses women-owned, but they’re also all moms. So of course I wanted to profile all three of them for a blog post.

Without further ado, I’m pleased to introduce Fulfill Shoppe (owned by Lori Crump and Pam McEwin), Jarr (owned by Emily Sproule) and Livlite (owned by Grace Kennedy). Here are their stories and their businesses.

Fulfill Shoppe

Photo credit: Alyssa Dawon

Can you tell me a little bit about your company?

Fulfill Shoppe is your sustainable general store! We have a variety of dry bulk food items like oats, granola, coffee, and snacks as well as cleaning supplies and beauty care products to choose from. Products are focused on local, premium quality, women-led, sustainably minded companies and entrepreneurs. We make it super easy and convenient to choose good products for your families’ needs while reducing plastic and packaging waste.

Can you tell me a bit about you, and how you came to create your company?

Fulfill Shoppe is made up of two sisters. We have grown up in the tri cities and are now raising our families here. A few years ago over a documentary we decided we wanted to focus on reducing plastic and packaging waste from our lives. We turned it into a competition and learning experience that we documented between our families, taking areas of our lives and trying to reduce plastic. A big challenge for us was finding easy options for products and services in the suburbs so we created it with Fulfill!

What areas do you serve?

We serve Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, and Pitt Meadows.

How does it work?

Super easy, customers log on to our website and order their goods in a variety of sizes for pick up or delivery! Goods are delivered in our electric vehicle and any empty containers are left out to be collected.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We are moving toward our B Corp certification. We also collect our customers’ soft plastics and take them to be recycled. We are partnering with WNorth a women’s leadership conference to help make their conference experience boxes low-waste and highlight some amazing local women creators and companies. It is important for us that people feel like they can be a part of Fulfill even if they still have waste. It isn’t about being perfect—it is about working together where we are and taking small steps. It is honestly about so much more than just reducing plastic and packaging waste for us: it is about connecting to our community and to one another.

Website: fulfillshoppe.com

Jarr

Photo credit: Selma Van Halder

Can you tell me a little bit about your company?

Jarr is a package-free grocery delivery company based in Vancouver, BC. We deliver groceries in returnable, deposit-based reclaimed glass canning jars—eliminating single-use packaging from the grocery store, packaging that would ultimately end up in landfill or recycling. We also offer plastic-free produce and other low-waste household items such as shampoo and conditioner bars, and household soaps.

Can you tell me a bit about you, and how you came to create your company?

My name is Emily Sproule and in April 2019 I was the General Manager at Halfmoon Yoga Products and a busy mom of two school-aged children. I wanted to be doing more to help reduce the plastic in our oceans but felt helpless about all the garbage and recycling my family was creating each week. I loved the Zero Waste stores in my city (still do!) but for me, it was hard to carve out the time to shop there on a regular basis. So, I ordered groceries online and even when I tried to order low-waste, items would often get subbed out with extra plastic packaging. My breaking point was when I tried to order a cardboard flat of blueberries online and instead I was sent six smaller plastic clamshells. That was it! If no one else was going to make package-free shopping more convenient, maybe I could do it? In January 2020 I left my job and started Jarr. Now today, Zero Waste grocery delivery is popping up everywhere and I couldn’t be more thrilled that other people were feeling the same way I was. We knew there had to be a better solution and now Jarr along with Fulfill Shoppe and Livlite, are on a path to make Zero Waste living easier for folks in the Lower Mainland. Yay!

What areas do you serve?

Currently we deliver weekly in the area spanning from North Burnaby to South Granville but we are expanding quickly to other areas as well, so stay tuned!

How does it work?

The steps are simple:

  • 1. You place your order at Jarr.co.
  • 2. We get to work filling your order in deposit-based jars and reusable totes, and bring your order to you later that week—contact-free.
  • 3. When you are ready to place your next order, you leave out the jars and totes on your delivery day and we credit you for the returns.
  • 4. You use your credit when you place your next order.
  • 5. Now you are part of the circular economy!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A fun fact about Jarr is that the two R’s in our name stand for Reduce and Reuse. I was in a recycling club in my school in the early 90’s, a prime example of how our consumer behaviour changed drastically from throwing everything away to recycling anything we could. It shows how we, as humans, can make a significant change in a short time. The problem with our incredible shift to recycling is we forgot that we were taught about 3 R’s. Instead, recycling was the only R with any success. In fact, in that time our plastic consumption and general consumption just grew and grew at exponential rates. Reducing and Reusing became a thing of that past, something our Grandmas were really good at but we didn’t have to do anymore. Fast forward to 2020 and despite recycling, our oceans are now on track to have more garbage than fish and our consumption of single-use and our throwaway culture is leading to incredible rates of global warming. We need to take ourselves back, let go of the recycling R and get serious about Reducing and Reusing. Now with COVID and the increase of single-use masks and take-away containers, this is the time to double down and get even more serious about the 2 R’s. I hope that you join me in this fight to make this change sooner than later for the health of our people and planet.

Website: jarr.co

Photo credit: Selma Van Halder

Livlite

Photo credit: Grace Kennedy

Can you tell me a little bit about your company?

Livlite delivers Zero Waste groceries in Vancouver. We source food and household goods and deliver them in sustainable glass or paper packaging. We prioritize local goods and suppliers that minimize packaging.

Can you tell me a bit about you, and how you came to create your company?

I’m a mom, I have a 2-year-old. The idea for Livlite came from my own challenges trying to cut down on packaging waste and using Zero Waste stores with an infant in tow. My pipe dream for Livlite is also to provide supportive employment opportunities.

What areas do you serve?

We will eventually serve all of Vancouver proper. We currently serve East Vancouver, Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano, and the West End. Delivery is free!

How does it work?

We made our website really easy to use. Go to www.livlite.co, and you will be prompted to check if we deliver to your postal code. If we do, create an account, add items to your cart, pick a delivery window, and check out. It’s pretty simple. 

For most dry items, we use paper bags, but you can choose to have us use a jar for a $2.00 deposit. Liquid and moisture-rich items are delivered in jars and the $2.00 deposit is already factored into the price. We will drop off your order in a reusable tote, as per your instructions. Next time you order from us, leave any empty jars you want to return in the tote and we will credit your account. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

We advocate for low-waste living and making small changes; Zero Waste is aspirational. We want more people to be able to access sustainably packaged goods, without the pressure of making dramatic or unrealistic changes to their life. 

Website: livlite.co

Other refill stores

We’re very fortunate to have quite a few options for low-waste groceries and home products here in the Vancouver area. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the refill stores nearby:

This post, by the Eco Hub, also shares some stores in the Vancouver area.

Lori, Pam, Emily, and Grace: thank you so much for sharing your stories with me!

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