As part of the Residual Material Management policy, the Town of Montreal West is working towards the goal of becoming zero waste. Embracing the zero waste lifestyle is one of the many ways you can minimize your environmental footprint.

Establishing your zero waste goals

The first step to transitioning to living the zero waste lifestyle is to assess your current situation and establish goals that you would like to achieve. You can use the questionnaire below to help you get started:

While it can seem overwhelming, reducing waste at the source is a process that is gradual and can take some time. Take it one step at a time and be proud of the little steps you have taken towards reducing your impact on the environment.

How you can adopt a zero waste lifestyle

Rethink appliances

  • Certain appliances can generate more waste. For example, some coffee makers require disposable filters. Instead, try to opt for a french press or stove-top coffee instead.
  • You can also try to shop around for large kitchen appliances (ovens, microwaves, stoves) that have eco tags.

Change your cleaning supplies

  • Instead of buying disposable cleaning supplies, you can instead use vinegar and/or baking soda to clean most surfaces in your home. You can even soak citrus peels in vinegar to add a fresh scent to your surface cleaner

Change it up in the bathroom

  • You can switch to using bamboo/reusable toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, or invest in a bamboo electric toothbrush.
  • You can also purchase shampoo, conditioner and body wash in bulk, or better yet, switch to solid shampoo, conditioning and body soap bars.
  • Additionally, you may also opt for a waterpik instead of using regular floss.

Switch up your laundry routine

  • A great alternative to detergent are soap nuts, or soap berry, that can be composted after 4-5 uses.
  • You can also try using detergent strips, which are another great zero waste detergent alternative.
  • Opt for reusable dryer or tumbling balls instead of dryer sheets. They can help to increase circulation for more efficient drying and you can also add essential oils for a change in scents!

Shopping alternatives

  • Shop consciously and curate a minimal and timeless wardrobe that doesn’t follow fads or trends. You can also try and buy second-hand at thrift stores and garage sales.
  • Bring worn and/or unwanted clothing back to retailers who have takeback initiatives. Otherwise, give clothes a new life by donating them to non-profit organizations or at clothing drop boxes.
  • When going out, bring your own reusable bags to carry your groceries and a reusable cup when buying your coffee at the local café.
  • Try to avoid accepting single-use items like straws and cutlery when you can, whether in store or online.
  • Think about bringing some food storage containers when dining out to bring home leftover food or when you go bulk shopping for spices, grains and oils.

Zero waste businesses

Below are some zero waste stores you can find on the island of Montreal. These stores sell a variety of products such as bulk goods, package-free produce, cosmetics and household products. For an interactive map version of this store list, visit MTL VEG.

  • Épicerie LOCO : This is your one-stop zero waste shop for dry bulk goods, fresh produce, and toiletries, among others. There are multiple locations across Montreal.
  • Méga Vrac : This store sells dried food and cosmetics in bulk. Online shopping and delivery available.
  • Vrac sur Roues : This is an online zero waste grocery store with an option to have your groceries delivered by bike.
  • Marché Branche d’Olivier : This is a great store for ethnic, organic, and plant-based products. They have a selection of bulk goods (grains, rice, beans, flours) and refill stations for soaps and body products. They have several locations across Montreal (Verdun, Saint-Henri, NDG, Griffintown).
  • Épices Anatol : This is a bulk food store with a large selection of spices, nuts, and grains among others.
  • Bulk Barn : This store is among the best for dry bulk goods and they allow reusable containers. They have several locations across Montreal.

Useful resources

A list of reuse sites where you can buy and sell items instead of throwing it away:

You can also find more information on how you can reduce waste at the source here:

  • Recyc-Québec has tips and tricks for better consumption and waste management.
  • Ça va où (Recyc-Québec) can help you sort your waste properly and learn more about waste management. It is also available in a mobile app format through the Apple App Store and Android Google Play Store.
  • Sauve ta bouffe has tips and recipes to avoid food waste and reduce right at the source.
  • An ecological footprint measures how fast we consume resources and generate waste compared to how fast nature can absorb our waste and generate resources. You can calculate your ecological footprint using the Footprint Calculator or the Ecological Footprint Questionnaire for kids.
  • A guide on waste reduction for business, restaurants, and cafes (Guide des bonnes pratiques sanitaires en alimentation pour la gestion des contenants et autres objets réutilisables).

Visit the blogs below to find more information on the zero waste lifestyle:

  • Going zero waste by Kathryn Kellogg (only in English)
  • Incita, a co-op consulting on zero waste initiatives.
  • Starting a zero waste lifestyle, step-by-step by Polly Barks (only in English).
  • Advice and tips on the minimalist and the zero waste lifestyle by Cindy Trottier (only in French).
  • Recipes for cosmetics and homemade household products by Les Mauvaises Herbes (only in French).
  • Recipes for plant-based cuisine and tips on zero waste living by MTL VEG (only in English).