BLOG 2017-04-24T11:59:37+00:00

Take a virtual tour

Haven’t been to the store yet? There’s no better time to visit than now, because we’re adding products every day. In the meantime, take a virtual tour!

Take part in our #NoExcuseForSingleUse campaign!

In 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. WE WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN!

This month, we’ve decided to wage a war against single-use plastic items. So every second day, a Team NU member will take on ONE single-use plastic item to show that in most cases, there is simply no excuse for single use. Watch out for these 25 second clips posted on our social media accounts!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @nugrocery and help us spread the message. Like, share, comment, tweet, retweet, post and repost so this campaign reaches people who are not yet “users of reusables”.

We also want to hear from you! Share your favourite reusable and tell us your stories using the hashtag #NoExcuseForSingleUse.

This week, we’re taking on some of the most prevalent single-use items: the plastic bag, the to go coffee cup and the plastic water bottle. The numbers are staggering. Worldwide, we throw away one million plastic bags a minute. Estimates for single-use coffee cups in landfills are in the hundreds of billions per year. Only 20% of the 480 billion plastic drinking bottles that are produced every year make it to recycling – the rest ends up in landfills, incinerators, or our oceans.

The sad part is that all this waste is easy to prevent. Three magic letters: BYO. Bring your own reusable bag, cup, or bottle. Options are available. Every supermarket or department store sells reusable bags, cups and bottles. We do too, of course, and invite you to check out the “on the go” section of our online store. 🙂

There truly is #NoExcuseForSingleUse.


Can Halloween be Zero-Waste?

It’s Halloween! Gaggles of trick-or-treating kids in shiny costumes will soon roam our streets. We will stock up on wrapped candies and decorate our doorsteps with carved pumpkins and scary props. These traditions are loads of fun, but create a scary amount of waste. In the US for example, 33 million pounds of costume waste will be sent to landfill this year alone.

Breaking traditions and reinventing habits can be challenging, and truth be told, the only zero-waste Halloween is one that isn’t celebrated. Since that isn’t any fun, instead of opting out of Halloween, we’re opting for a less wasteful Halloween.


Providing zero-waste treats asks for more thoughtful purchasing because, for valid safety reasons, Health Canada recommends that we either refuse or throw out anything that is homemade or that isn’t commercially wrapped. That means that our great zero-waste idea of buying candy in bulk and putting them into small paper bags is thrown out the window. Our treats would probably end up in the garbage.

Thankfully, we do have a few sustainable options for our trick or treaters. Opting for candies that are packaged in boxes (Smarties, Dots, Nerds, Reese’s Pieces, Junior Mints, etc.) or those wrapped in foil (Hershey’s Kisses, Chocolate Coins, Chocolate pumpkins, etc.) make it possible to tap into the fourth R, and recycle our packaging.

The second R, reduce, shouldn’t be overlooked either. After all, you are in control of the amount of candies you give out. Pace yourself! Reduce waste by simply giving out less.

Costumes and Decorations

Zero-waste costumes and decorations are a little easier to approach than treats, and are the time for our creativity to shine while tuning into the first and second Rs, which are to refuse and reuse.

Wearing what we already have or borrowing from others is the ideal way to dress up, but if we’re short on options, buying second-hand is another way to consciously approach Halloween costumes. Whether it be from second-hand, thrift or vintage shops, this kind of purchasing will get our creative juices flowing and give a second life to our clothes.

We might have purchased plastic or synthetic decorations in the past, but reducing our waste doesn’t mean we throw those away! Using the second R, we will be reusing our old decorations.

If we don’t have decorations already, opting for real pumpkins, or using leaves, twigs and grasses are easy, inexpensive and less wasteful ways to decorate. Using compostable items to decorate means that after the 31st we can take our pumpkins to use in our kitchen, or let them rot in the compost with the rest.

Let’s all do our part and put a sustainable twist on traditions!

For other zero-waste ideas, check out these blogs:

What About Halloween, Bea Johnson.

Go Ghoulishly Green,  Leigh.

Zero Waste Holiday: Tips for a Green Halloween, Catherine.


Julie Lopez



Halloween Food Safety, Health Canada.


October 16-22 is Waste Reduction Week!

Did you know that in Ontario we each dispose of an average 2 kg of waste every single day? This means that up until today, Monday, October 16th, each of us has created approximately 578 kilograms of waste in 2017 alone.

We can change this! We cannot rewrite policies and regulations overnight, but we can change our behaviour, and our impact!

The first step to reducing waste is asking ourselves where this 2 kg of waste comes from. What we dispose of as waste will vary from person to person based on our wants and needs, but the source of our waste is the same: our daily production of waste comes from our daily consumption and disposal of everything we eat, drink and use.

Disposable drink cups, straws, plastic cutlery, grocery bags, food containers and any kind of plastic wrap are obvious contributors to our waste weight. We use these items once, and they go on to exist forever.

Every year, there are at least eight million tonnes of plastic that leak into our oceans. That’s the equivalent of dumping the content of a garbage truck into the ocean, every single minute.

Thankfully, the solution to single-use consumption is straight-forward. We can easily opt for re-usable cups, mugs, cutlery, grocery bags, food containers, and wraps.

Doing so is an important and awesome first step – so let’s start our Waste Reduction week by focusing on how we are consuming every day, an introduce re-usable items in our daily lives.

Happy Waste Reduction Week everyone! 

Let’s do this.



To find how much waste we’re producing, daily, in Canada: Statistics Canada, Waste Management Industry Survey: Business and Government Sectors

The impact of Plastic on the world: World Economy Forum, The New Plastic Economy, Rethinking the Future of Plastics.

Happy Thanksgiving From our Families to Yours

Thanksgiving is the time of year dedicated to giving our thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the past year. While our celebrations may differ from one home to another, they are typically remembered for the delicious foods we ate and time we spent with friends and family.

At NU, we are celebrating our first Thanksgiving, but truth be told, we have been very thankful for the many families that have shared their harvest with us since our opening in August. Our local baked goods, fair trade coffee, handcrafted maple syrups, and everything in between have delighted our taste buds, but more importantly, helped us get incredible local goods from our family, to yours.

We could spend all day talking about the many families that play important roles at NU, and across Ottawa, but we’ll start with those that will be showing up in our homes, and on our tables, this Thanksgiving morning.

Helping us get our days off on the right foot this Thanksgiving Monday, and every day, are Amber and Craig Hall at Equator Coffee. They are not only waking up Ottawa with a fresh roast this morning, but are also ensuring that our coffee beans abide by Fair Trade Purchasing and Certified Organic standards.

Similarly thoughtful, and with nothing added but love, our Maple Syrup comes to us from Genevieve and Gabriel at Älska Farm.  Located in Farrelton, Quebec, their handcrafted maple syrup is coming to us from near, however their inspiration for naming their farm comes from a little further away. Älska is a nod to their Swedish background, and a word which means love, adore and cherish.

Operating with ethical and environmental values in mind is possible, and John and Cora Beking from Bekings Poultry Farm are putting these values into practice. They’re probably one of the busiest teams out there, because managing a flock of fourteen thousand chickens is no small feat, and John, Cora and their son David along with their team are able to do so without compromising the happiness or health of their birds, and loyal customers.

Having also built a local following within the Ottawa community is Ichiban Bakery, which is now lead by June and has been open for over 16 years in Old Ottawa South. Thanks to them, we’ll be ending our Thanksgiving morning on a high note, enjoying some of the delicious pastries and breads that come to us every morning from their bakery.

This may cap off our Thanksgiving morning, but there are many other local families that have accompanied us on this journey that we will be showcasing on our blog in the upcoming months. For now, we hope that you enjoy a restful Thanksgiving with family and friends, filled with lots of delicious foods… and zero waste.


We are officially open at 1130 Wellington Str. West in Ottawa!

After what was an incredible and inspiring official opening weekend, we would like to take this opportunity to say an official thank you to all of you.

Thank you to everyone that has supported NU, from the time when it was just a vision, all the way to opening our doors in the Hintonburg neighbourhood and becoming the first zero-waste grocery store in Canada’s capital.

We’ve felt the love in the months leading up to our opening and that feeling was multiplied by the presence of the many passionate people who came by to celebrate our official opening this Saturday.

We’re grateful for the thousands of people that shared our story online and the hundreds that came to the store, reusable containers and shopping bags in hand, ready to be a part of the first steps of what will be an incredible, zero-waste journey for Ottawa.

We’re especially thankful for the presence of our local partners and words of support from Counsellor Jeff Leiper, Mayor Jim Watson, and Federal Environment Minister and Ottawa Center MP Catherine McKenna. We look forward to working together to eliminate waste and to build the most sustainable capital in the world!

After seeing hundreds of people of all ages, we are starting the week feeling inspired by the passion so many of us share for our city, country, and planet. NU might be the first zero-waste store in Ottawa, but we feel that we’re all onto something bigger than mason jars, reusable mugs or tote bags.

We’re starting a movement, one purchase at a time, and as Coun. Jeff Leiper said, “let’s vote with our wallets.” 

NU is here to help you do just that – making your zero-waste purchase possible every day between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm at 1130 Wellington, right beside our friends at Stella Luna.

If you weren’t able to come by this weekend, we’ve shared what happened on our Facebook page! Then, whenever you have the chance, round up your reusable containers and come by the store! We’d love to meet you and chat about everything zero-waste.

For those of us that are new to zero-waste, and might feel a little lost – don’t worry! Our store staff (“Nubies”) will be happy to answer the questions that we heard most often this opening weekend. Check back here for more on that later this week!

Once again, MERCI!

Julie Lopez for #TeamNU