Misinformation: reusables

I’ll be honest: my zero-waste game has taken a hard hit since all this poop hit the fan over one year ago. I know many eco-folks are in the same boat, and of course some places have more opportunities than others. One theme I started noticing is misinformation.

I had to change the way I shop. I had a whole system in place of how I got what where, but that all had to change. It still is not back to the way it was before, and part of that doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

At first, I had major eco-guilt, but that got less as I moved toward acceptance. My mindset about values and sustainability did and will not change, but I did have to let some things slide to release myself of the guilt. For example, the only way I could support my local cafe was to accept their to-go cups. It was more important to me to support the small, local business, than to refuse because of the cup. Now, they do accept cups at their cafe, but they run them through the dishwasher first.

I have been able to continue to use my reusable bags. I try and shop at Kootenay Farm-to-Folk as often as I can to support local, small business, and also because they understand the reusable game! I can use my bags and baskets there – no problem. At the bigger grocery stores, we use our own bags at self-checkout, and request no bags when doing an online pick-up (this does not always work, depending on who is working that day and who reads the notes).

I have been relying on recycling and refusing, rather than reducing and reusing. For things like flour, I get the largest bag I can find at the grocery store (in paper). I try to stick to paper, cardboard, aluminum, or glass packaging if I can’t get it package-free. These items are far easier and less expensive to recycle than plastic; many plastics cannot be recycled.

Now, let’s talk specifically about misinformation.

Bulk Barn is still not accepting reusable containers. I have not been back to Bulk Barn since the lockdowns started for this reason. In fact… Bulk Barn does not allow reusable containers anywhere… EXCEPT Quebec and Ontario. I would love to know why Quebec and Ontario have restarted their reuse program at Bulk Barn, but not the rest of the country. Do they have some kind of magical covid exemption for containers? It doesn’t make sense.

I have also significantly reduced how often we go to the local butcher, Rick’s Meats, because they are spreading misinformation. One day I was there, and I asked the owner if they would be allowing resusable containers again any time soon. Her response: “No. No way, not until COVID is over. It’s the new Health and Safety Laws.” Which is completely inaccurate. There is no new Health and Safety Law that prevents a business from accepting reusable containers.

Reusable containers have been deemed safe – read the news! Zero-Waste stores across Canada are still open, they have just adapted their practices in-store. Many businesses are accepting reusable containers – there is no reason for them not to. So, in all my frustration: what’s the hold-up?

Every business can make a choice for themselves in this regard. It is important to maintain accurate information for customers, regardless of your opinion.



Click to access RecycleBC_brochure_REGIONAL_2021.pdf



  1. I hear you Nadine. It’s been difficult. Just when I thought cafes/restaurants were taking our travel mugs for coffee – Nope! I got quite upset that they wouldn’t even reuse the same paper cup for two orders of coffee that went immediately into our mugs. Nope – had to be two paper cups that were thrown out. That was on the road in Saskatchewan, so could have been different rules. Keep doing your good work!


    • Ah, how frustrating! Some local places are still taking my cups, but haven’t been able to use reusables at the butcher again. Even though it’s safe to do so!


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