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Inside Unboxed Market, a grocery store without plastic packaging

On Dundas West, zero-waste grocery store and refillery Unboxed Market aims to reduce food waste — and cut your grocery bill.

After working in the hospitality industry, partners in love and life Michelle Genttner and Luis Martins sold their business and decided to open a grocery store in 2019. Fed up with the amount of food waste in restaurants, they opened Unboxed Market, a refillery-style grocery store, in the hope that their efforts to reduce waste would trickle down to restaurants and other businesses.

“Restaurants are notorious for throwing out produce,” says Genttner. “But we have the ability to make stocks and soups; we make meals to-go and all sorts of other things so we can reduce our waste.” Below the store, they have an industrial kitchen where they make use of products nearing the end of their life.

“Because we’re such a small store, we purchase our produce multiple times a week, so we bring it in in smaller amounts,” says Genttner. “If we’re out of eggplant today, we’ll probably have it back in a couple of days. But we’d rather run out than have it rotting.”

As a full-service grocery store, you can find all of your household items, pantry products, produce and more at Unboxed Market. But what you won’t find is the excessive plastic packaging seen in supermarkets. Instead, items are sold loose and customers are able to fill up their own bags and containers.

“Customers come into the store, and there’s a scale where they can weigh their empty containers. Then when they go around and shop, they can get precisely what they need,” says Genttner. “If you only want two rolls of toilet paper or three potatoes, you can get exactly those things. You’re not forced into buying a certain amount you’ll waste at home.”

“When you come back around to cash, we can tear off the weight of those containers,” says Gettner. “Milk is charged literally by the liquid volume, so we can get right to the penny for you. Same with the shampoos, conditioners, the oils, everything.”

Unboxed Market: Dish soap, laundry detergent and household liquids on tap

Throwing out a big plastic jug that once held your laundry detergent every month isn’t doing the planet any favours. At Unboxed Market, you can refill a vessel of your choosing from their tap wall at the front of the store. They also have dish soap and other household liquids available on tap.

Unboxed Market: Grocery delivery and curbside pickup

Unboxed Market has started offering their grocery, café and household items for curbside pickup and delivery. You can shop all of their products online and opt for delivery on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. A $9 flat rate covers all deliveries within a 4km radius, then it’s $0.90 per additional kilometre.

Unboxed Market: Café corner

The café acts a secondary nook of the store, showcasing house-made products. The menu changes a few times a week, rotating in ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat meals that might include lasagna, chicken parm or steak on a pilaf. Pastries in the café are either house-made or brought in from local shops like Dufflet.

1263 Dundas St. W.; (416) 533-9017; unboxedmarket.com

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