Today we’d like to highlight Kate Pepler, owner and CEO of the Tare Shop, a local zero-waste grocery store, coffee shop, and community space with locations in Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia! Join us today as we ask her about the steps to starting a zero-waste lifestyle and tips for how to reduce your waste footprint!
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and your shop!
The Tare Shop is a package-free grocery store with two locations, one in Halifax and one in Dartmouth – we also ship worldwide! Our mission is to educate and inspire folks to live with less waste in their lives in a judgement-free and safe way. I opened The Tare Shop in 2018 after trying to live a low-waste lifestyle and finding it very difficult – there was nowhere that made it easy and accessible!
2) What motivated you to get involved with package-free shopping and hosting events?
After graduating in 2016, I was at a loss on what I could do to make a difference and what I should do after I finished school. So I started a website (that is no longer running) with a mission to share environmental success stories to inspire action – but when all I read was the doom and gloom, I shut down and lost my inspiration to take action. But through this platform, I started reading about the zero-waste movement and started trying to reduce my own waste!
3) Can you tell us why reducing waste is essential?
While big corporations need to take responsibility for the waste their products and packaging create, there are still things that we can do in our everyday lives that do add up and do make a difference!
4) What actions do you and the store take to help reach the goal of zero-waste?
As a package-free shop, we are always looking for ways to improve as we believe we can always do better, and there is always room to grow! We work with suppliers to find better packaging solutions and do our best to get plastic-free or as low waste as possible, as well as reusing and repurposing the packaging we do get! We also keep a waste audit and publish annual impact reports!
5) What challenges or obstacles do you face while running the shop?
Sometimes it can be hard to source certain products package-free or low-waste, but we never give up and are always on the lookout!
6) How do you keep yourself motivated?
Reading inspiring stories about environmental success stories keeps me motivated! Also, reading our google and customer reviews 🙂
7) Who inspires you in the world of activism and making a difference in the zero-waste space?
Our community and team inspire me every day!
8) What has been your favourite experience so far?
Meeting all our amazing customers and building a community around package-free living in Nova Scotia!
9) What was something that surprised you while trying to maintain your goal of zero-waste?
You don’t have to be perfect, and there is no such thing as zero-waste! I was super hard on myself when I started my ‘zero-waste’ journey and created an unhealthy environment! Now I do my best, where I can and when I can, and I know that things may change and mistakes will be made.
10) Do you have any recommendations for people wanting to get started on having a zero-waste lifestyle?
Keep a waste audit (or trash jar) for a few weeks. We are so disconnected from our waste, so how do you know what to cut out if you don’t know what type of waste you are creating? After you have a week or more of data, you get a really clear understanding of the type of garbage you often create, and then from there can take steps to reduce your waste.
Know anyone that you think could be our next #LocalHero? Let us know below!