The Zero Waste Guide to The Eco Market. Written by Trish Jane


The calendar is now into March and that means The Eco Market is quickly approaching on Earth Day Eve, Saturday, April 21st, 2018, 11am-4pm at the Waterloo Region Museum. The day will bring together local businesses, artisans, organizations, activists and great influencers to share ideas, spread passion for the environment and build community here in Kitchener/Waterloo. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

So I’m here, Trish Jane, your local zero waste friend to prep you with some specific tips on how to enjoy the event to the fullest without leaving any trash or recycling behind. So let’s go, no time to waste.


Prepare Conversation Starters:

This is a great opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with people on the ground trying to make real differences in the industry and community. Make the most of this awesome event by researching the vendors and the speakers and give some thought to what questions you may have or certain comments you want to make.

Getting There:

The Eco Market is taking place at the fabulous Waterloo Region Museum in Kitchener. If you have never been before, this is the perfect opportunity. If driving there, consider carpooling with friends. If the bus is for you, luckily the #10 bus is only a ten-minute walk away and runs every 15 minutes. And if biking, I’ve been told there are some trails that can get you pretty close to the museum and there’s plenty of bike parking out front. PS, this just in, if you bring your bike, MEC Kitchener will be on site doing bike repair clinics.



Do you enjoy vegan foods? Kombucha? Healthy treats? Hurray! There will be some delicious fair for sale and sample at The Eco Market. Be sure to come prepared with your own utensils, cloth napkin, drinking vessel and a container/bowl/tiffin/mason jar/plate or whatever you have to use in place of single-use plastics and unnecessary disposables. The vendors have been informed that people may have some zero waste requests and they are all on board to support however they can. So don’t be shy, just do it! Who knows, maybe this event will be your gateway experience into the world of reusables and soon you will be the one using your bandana as a makeshift bagel bag at the bakery! In case you forget, our vendors will have everything you need on hand for sale - utensil kits, reusable straws, you name it!


Obviously, you bring your own water bottle/coffee mug to The Eco Market! On this glorious weekend in April where we celebrate and pledge ourselves to protect the Earth, it would be going in the completely wrong direction if we all slugged water from Nestle bottles. Besides darlings, I’ve taken the stance that plastic is simply passe in today’s enlightened society. So good, the museum has your eco back and has two drinking fountains with tall spouts for refilling your bottles.

But hey, if you walk in the Museum doors with a Tim’s “paper” coffee cup in hand, don’t just stash it in the closest garbage, try your best to recycle the cups as that is what the Region of Waterloo recommends for their recycling program. But realistically, the energy needed to recycle the plastic lined paper cup is astronomically huge compared to using a reusable mug. Best to avoid the takeout cup altogether.

Vendor Shopping:


Have you taken a look at the vendor list yet? It’s amazing! Seriously start thinking of those special people in your life and what gifts you may want to buy for them this year and bring your wallet. Every time you spend money you are voting for the type of world you want to live in. And of course, we all love to support our local artisans and entrepreneurs, especially those working hard to protect the environment! Once your purchase has been made, it can go into your own reusable bag/purse/backpack/pocket/bandana made into a makeshift furoshiki bag. 

Using the Facilities:

All the washrooms at the museum are equipped with hand dryers, not paper towels, so you won’t have to worry about bringing your cloth napkin in with you dry your hands. I am not advocating that hand dryers are necessarily better for the environment than paper towels, I’m simply informing you of the details needed to make your visit waste free. Leave the good vibes everyone, not the trash!


Some vendors may be offering information and promotional material for free. Please be mindful of to only take what you really need and don’t be shy to refuse what you don’t. And if someone hands me their business card, I simply snap a quick pic of it and hand it back to be used again.



About the Author


Trish Jane has always been an environmentalist but it wasn't until July 2017 that she adopted a full fledged zero waste lifestyle. Born and raised in Waterloo Region she knows the trash-free ins and outs of this booming area. She is a registered holistic nutritionist and has an environmental degree from University of Waterloo. With support from her husband and toddler daughter she is working towards the minimalist life with a soft footprint on the Earth. Follow her journey on Instagram @zerowastetrish

jennifer novakovich