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A zero waste market

Withrow Park Farmers’ Market is pleased to offer a number of ways that customers can reduce waste from packaging and single-use items while shopping at the market!

Bring Your Own (BYO) – Customers are encouraged to bring their own clean containers, mugs, produce bags, and shopping bags. Just let vendors know you brought your own when shopping.

Many of our vendors offer other low waste options such as returning their packaging for reuse and more! Visit their profiles to see the options each vendor provides.

Plates and Cutlery – If you’re staying in the park to enjoy your market snacks just ask the vendor for a reusable plate and cutlery at the point of purchase. Used dishes need to be returned to the Coffee Tent before 1 pm.

Muuse Insulated Cup – Forgot to bring your own travel mug or cup? No problem! Download the Muuse app and then borrow a reusable cup from the Coffee Tent for free. Muuse cups can be used at our Coffee Tent and with any of the vendors offering beverages. Return used dishes to the Coffee Tent or one of 20+ drop-off locations within 30 days.

Muuse To-Go Container – Now you can take market snacks and meals to-go in a stylish reusable container. Just download the Muuse app and borrow a free container from our Coffee Tent. Return your container within 30 days to the Coffee Tent or one of 20+ drop-off locations in Toronto.

Withrow Park Farmers’ Market is happy to be offering reusables from Muuse to help market patrons access more low-waste options. The Muuse app helps you borrow reusable cups and takeout containers, just like a library book! Then you can return them at any participating drop-off location, including at Withrow’s Coffee Tent. The app is completely free to download and use as long as you return your borrowed items. 

Download & Sign-up Today! 

Building a sustainable environment for shoppers and vendors.

In 2018, with the help of an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and dedicated volunteer, we began a reusable dishware program.

With this zero waste program, we aim to:

  • Reduce waste: by keeping recyclable materials and discarded food scraps out of landfills
  • Avert waste: by offering reusable items such as plates and cutlery
  • ‘Close the loop’: by promoting the use of post-consumer recycled products
  • Educate: by encouraging shoppers and market sellers to reduce, reuse, and recycle both at the market and beyond

REUSABLES

One way we work to meet our goals is to offer reusable plates, bowls, cutlery, cups and mugs for food and beverages consumed at the market. We have a collection of these items that we wash and sanitize for reuse. Week after week. The zero waste station has had a big impact already. After 15 markets in 2018, our dishware was used over 1900 times, preventing that many single-use items from going into the landfill. That’s 880 pieces of cutlery, 508 plates, 246 bowls, and 294 cups! In 2019 we surpassed that with a total of 10,000 single-use items being diverted from becoming waste. This project wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of our Zero Waste Ambassadors! The program was put on hold in 2020-2021 due to Covid, but we’re back in 2022 offering reuseables with Muuse!

PACKAGING

We have asked vendors to overall use less packaging and to provide compostable or biodegradable packaging when they can. Over the next few years our rules will tighten around packaging to ensure further reduction in waste. We are the first and currently only farmers’ market in Toronto that has created Zero Waste Guidelines for our vendors.

REPAIR, REHOME and more…

Withrow Market is proudly committed to being environmentally friendly in these other meaningful ways:

  • Reusable coffee mugs are available at our coffee table (mugs were used over 1000 times in 2018)
  • Host clothing and jewellery repairathons (get your jeans mended by professionals for free!)
  • Work with the Toronto Tool Library to bring clothing and toy swaps to the community
  • Feature zero waste vendors at our special artisan market
  • “Need a bag. Take a bag. Leave a bag.” program to reduce the use of plastic bags
  • Regular cookbook swaps run by market volunteers
  • Hold winter clothing drives, benefiting newcomers to Canada
  • Offer to take dead batteries and dead markers for proper recycling
  • **Please note, some of these initiatives might have been put on hold due to Covid. 

We welcome your thoughts on this program.

 

IN THE MEDIA

The Toronto Observer: How one Toronto company is creating sustainable takeout options to reduce city waste
The Toronto Observer: Toronto startup saves more than 60,000 plastic takeout containers from landfill 
NOW Toronto: Inside Toronto’s plastic problem
Park People: Zero Waste Picnic: An inspired TD Park People Grant event 
The Toronto Observer: Toronto Clothing Repairathon brings new life to damaged clothes 
The Toronto Observer: How one reusable container gave birth to a reusables project
Toronto Enviromental Alliance: 6 things Toronto can do to ditch single-use plastics and move towards a waste-free future
snapd Beaches: Zero Waste Picnic

 

Dishes washed in 2019

(so that we don't use disposables)

Knives, forks, spoons

Plates, bowls

Cups, mugs

Total

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