Zero waste store planned in Strathroy would bring area complement to three

·3 min read

First London, then Goderich, and now Strathroy is joining the eco-friendly shopping movement as the area's first zero-waste store is set to open its doors in early December.

Jennifer Cada is opening Lemongrass Refillery, a zero-waste bulk food and supply store, in downtown Strathroy to bring a more sustainable shopping experience to the community.

“I'm very excited to be able to offer the community a place to reuse and refill containers to lessen the amount of packaging we throw out,” she said.

Cada was inspired to open the store after meeting the owner of a newly opened zero-waste store in Goderich and realizing her community could use something similar.

“For me personally, trying to find things using less packaging has always bothered me,” Cada said. “I’d have to leave Strathroy to go to London and other stores to try to obtain plastic-free items or lower-waste type products.”

Lemongrass Refillery will sell bulk food, laundry and cleaning products, oils and plastic-free products such as bamboo toothbrushes and utensils.

While the pandemic means customers can’t bring their own containers to refill right away, Cada is setting up a glass jar recycling program in the interim. Other goods will be packaged in recyclable paper bags, and Cada personally will scoop bulk products to minimize contact.

Despite Strathroy being a smaller, rural community, Cada feels the demand for eco-friendly products is strong, particularly as more families migrate from bigger cities to Strathroy’s suburbs.

“People are really starting to take notice of environmental issues,” she said. “The more people can have access to lower-waste items, the more they want it.”

For those new to a zero-waste lifestyle and looking to get started, Cada recommends making easy switches, like swapping from plastic to reusable utensils or using glass jars instead of plastic containers.

“If everyone changes one thing, that will make a big impact environmentally,” she said.

Lemongrass Refillery, located at 27 Front St. in Strathroy, will be one of three zero-waste stores in the region to open within weeks.

In October, BYOB Zero Waste Depot opened in Goderich, and the owner has plans to expand to a location in Stratford.

London is set to get its first zero-waste grocery store downtown, Reimagine Co., after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $80,000. They’re aiming to open their Piccadilly Street shop next week.

More stores opening with an eco-friendly focus is a positive sign that there is a desire to be more sustainable, said Diane Szoller, president of the Thames Region Ecological Association (TREA).

She said TREA has been involved in the opening of Reimagine Co. zero-waste store, which hopes to include other eco-friendly options beyond groceries, such as a tool library, coffee shop and community hub.

“People are starting to recognize that consumerism can generate a lot of waste and that they can reduce their footprint,” she said. “We hope that more stores will take this route.”

maxmartin@postmedia.com

Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press