Must-Visit Low Waste Stores in Victoria
When you start university and are on your own for the first time you end up buying A LOT OF STUFF to get yourself started.
It can be so overwhelming with all of the packaging and unsustainability of larger corporate companies when all you want to do is get what you need without harming the planet.
If this sounds like you then you’ll be happy to know that there is a way around it. Victoria is full of sustainable and locally-owned shops to make shopping a happy and eco-friendly event in our consumeristic world.
Here are some of my favourite low waste stores right here in Victoria.
First off is Lush. I know that Lush is not local but they are a great place to start when you have just gotten into the low waste scene since it is such a mainstream store. You can get beauty and skin/hair care products, toothpaste, henna hair dye, shaving apparel, the classic bath bomb and more. It is also a super convenient store as there are three different locations in Victoria/Greater Victoria.
Nezza Naturals is where you want to go for many of your low waste needs. They carry all of the things Lush has and even more including cleaning supplies, aromatherapy products, sunscreen, pet care products, and other fun goodies. They also have a refill program where you can go in and refill many of their products without having to buy a whole new container.
Thrift shops and Facebook marketplace are a classic for buying used goods. You can really get anything at these places and buying used is always more sustainable than buying new.
One of my favourite thrift stores is WIN (the Victoria Women In Need community cooperative). They are a non-profit organization whose proceeds go to women in need in the community. Shopping there is a great way to give back to the community.
The Zero Waste Emporium is a great place for zero waste groceries and household items. It is a locally owned shop, and you can bring in your own containers or participate in their “take a jar, leave a jar” program to fill up on all your needs. Their stock is incredible, ranging from fruit and veggies, snacks, dairy, meat, tofu, sauces, cleaning, personal care supplies, etc. They are also the first zero-waste grocery store in Victoria!
West Coast Refill is another great home and personal care store. They have cleaning supplies, beauty and personal care products, containers, compost bins, medical supplies, fruit and veggie seeds, etc.
The Community Cabbage is a student organization right here at UVic. Most years, they give out a free, weekly, vegetarian hot meal on campus made from “unsellable” foods donated from grocery stores. The group advocates for food sovereignty and security. You can even join and help to prepare the meals!
Big Wheel Burger is Canada’s first carbon-neutral fast food restaurant. They use sustainable techniques in making their food and they make everything in-house. The beef they use is from free-range cows and they compost all their waste into a community garden. Their packaging is 100% compostable and the oil from the food is turned into biodiesel which runs their vans that move the product around.
Lastly, Twisted Sisters Bath and Body is not local to Victoria but it is local to B.C. (Chilliwack to be specific) and you can buy products online. I decided to include them because they are a pretty rad organization. It is a family-owned Indigenous shop (one of the owners is also LGBTQ+) that sells personal care products while listing all of the natural ingredients of their products on their website. If you are looking to support an Indigenous business, this is the place to go.