Employing environmental consciousness on an individual level can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several businesses here in Victoria who are either trying to implement sustainable practices in their operations or who are completely environmentally focused in their purpose as a business.
Small lifestyle changes on an individual level, such as supporting the businesses highlighted here in this article — and others, these are only a few examples of many — may feel trivial, but if implemented by enough students and residents of Victoria, these changes can alter our collective local carbon footprint and encourage the permanence of these businesses in our community.
Good Planet Company
Good Planet Company in downtown Victoria is a sustainably focused lifestyle shop that sells organic, eco-friendly kitchen and homeware items. This includes items like reusable straws, beeswax wraps, and reusable ziplock bags; they even sell kits to make your own beeswax wraps! The beeswax wrap kits make choosing to use environmentally friendly reusable packaging a sustainable choice and a fun craft.
Very Good Butchers
Eating plant-based food, even occasionally, is a great way to cut down your individual carbon footprint. The Very Good Butchers is the west coast of Canada’s first plant-based butcher shop. With the goal of making plant-based eating more inviting and attainable for people, this business uses beans to craft meat alternatives.
They sell plant-based hotdogs, burgers, meatballs, ribs, bacon, roasts, cheeses, and more. Prices for individual packages of their burgers, hotdogs, and meatballs all orbit $10, which is comparable to the prices of meat products of the same quantities. You can find the Very Good Butchers products in their butcher shop downtown, in grocery stores like Thrifty Foods, and at the Victoria Public Market where they are vendors.
Big Wheel Burger
If you are looking for an eco-friendly place to eat out, Big Wheel Burger is a Victoria restaurant with three locations across the city whose business model revolves around sustainability. They are reforming the ethical impact of fast food on animals and the environment by building their operations with eco-friendly practices at the forefront. They are carbon-neutral with 100 per cent compostable packaging, and they partner with the Food Eco District to turn their waste into compost. Prices for their burgers also sit around $10, while their fries and shakes are closer to five.
Zero Waste Emporium
Zero Waste Emporium is a family owned, independent, package free grocery store located on Douglas Street. They carry dry goods, fresh local produce, and locally produced meat and vegan products in their deli.
“We are trying to take away as much of the plastic as possible,” says Ari Nyman, an employee at Zero Waste Emporium.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers to put their purchases in, so no packaging is involved. However, Zero Waste Emporium has a collection of sanitized jars at their store that are available for shoppers who have forgotten their containers. They also fill pick-up and delivery orders and offer a 10 per cent discount for UVic students.
West Coast Refill
West Coast Refill is another packaging-free local business, but instead of grocery items they offer bulk cleaning products like soaps, hair products, toothpaste, and more. They encourage people to shop by refilling containers they already have.
Leanne Allen, who owns West Coast Refill, explained that shopping package-free is a great choice for students on a budget.
“You should be saving 10 per cent or more by buying in bulk,” Allen says. “If [students] are choosing wisely in their consumer habits right now, that’s going to have a big impact on how companies are going to focus in the future.”
These are just a few of the businesses in Victoria that cater to sustainable shoppers. While it can be hard to shop sustainably all the time, these businesses provide local alternatives and make it a bit easier to be more earth friendly.