HALIFAX– It took Kate Pepler a few years to adopt a “zero waste” lifestyle. The biggest hurdle? Her morning coffees.
“One of the biggest, hardest changes for me personally was not buying coffee unless I had my thermos or unless I had time to sit down at the coffee shop and drink a cup of coffee,” Pepler said. “It’s just about creating those habits and building them into your life. Like, I don’t go grocery shopping unless I have my reusable bags. I don’t even think about it anymore.”
Pepler studied environmental science and marine biology at Dalhousie University, and through her studies, got a first-hand look at the plastics and waste that clutter our oceans and landfills. The eye-opening experience changed how she lives her life.
“Once you start to see how much plastic we produce on a daily basis, it’s hard to un-see. So, for quite a few years now I’ve been working personally to cut down on my plastic consumption,” Pepler said.
And while everyone produces some trash, Pepler has made changes to ensure she’s contributing a minimum amount – and she wants to help other people make those changes at her new shop.
The Tare Shop will be the first zero-waste store in the HRM. Part coffee shop, part bulk food store, Pepler says she hopes the store helps people build their own habits to make positive changes in their own lives.
For instance, she will have traditional bulk food for sale, such as nuts, pastas, and beans, but she’s also sourcing items that are harder to find without plastic containers. Things like shampoos, vinegars, and oils. As well, Pepler is looking at adding zero-waste lifestyle items like stainless steel straws, bamboo toothbrushes, and reusable menstrual cups.
Customers looking for bulk bags won’t find them either. Instead, reusable jars will hold any purchases. That’s also where Pepler got the name of the store, as “tare” refers to a deduction.
“When you weigh a jar, you tare the weight and it brings it to zero so you can fill it with products without paying with the weight of the jar,” Pepler explained. Customers will bring their own jars or bags to fill, or she will have reusable options for purchase.
Pepler says the idea of a bulk store isn’t a new one, but she’s hoping to tap into a different market. She’s still finalizing the site, but says she’s looking at a location in the north end of Halifax, an area she says is underserved when it comes to grocery stores.
“The Bulk Barn in Halifax is in the city, but it’s on Joseph Howe Drive, which is hard to get to unless you have a car, so being in the city and being in a community I think will be very important,” Pepler said. “We’re planning on doing, every Saturday for an hour, a workshop with kids teaching environmental education…so I think things like that and doing community outreach and being involved in the community will set us apart.”
There’s no official opening date yet, but Pepler says customers can look for The Tare Shop opening this fall.