Guelph-based grocery delivery service provides easy zero-waste shopping with a focus on small businesses
Evan Hall started his circularity journey while living in Scotland. He spent a year there working at a grocery store focused on organic and locally sourced food. The experience inspired Evan to bring back similar practices to Canada. Upon returning, Evan first brought these ideas to the Mustard Seed Co-op and later launched a non-profit with similar practices. He quickly began to realize that there was a gap between delivery services and zero-waste shopping. Not only do grocery store delivery services often contribute more waste than in-store shopping, but there are limited options for zero-waste delivery. Evan recognized the need for a solution that allowed for local, waste-free delivery and developed Zerocery in 2019.
Having participated in the Business Accelerator and Startup programs at Innovation Guelph, Evan was familiar with the value that the grant and mentorship support can bring. When Zerocery was accepted into the Seeding Our Food Future program, he wanted to increase efficiencies between order and delivery so more people can receive zero-waste groceries. Circularity and sustainability are at the heart of Zerocery, and all operations are strategically implemented to ensure their carbon footprint is minimal. In order to close the gap between order and delivery whilst maintaining sustainability, Zerocery decided to establish an inventory of products alongside several partnerships with local farmers to sell excess produce. Delivery times are especially important when working with produce to ensure that the products are still fresh between harvest and delivery. The local farmer partnerships Zerocery cultivated will come to fruition in the upcoming growing season. Zerocery is committed to establishing partnerships with multiple businesses in all the areas they deliver to. Examples of partnerships include: dry goods from The Stone Store; bread by Polestar Hearth and Grainharvest Breadhouse; and meats from Thatcher Farms.
Circularity is closely intertwined with the professional and personal motivations of Zerocery and their employees as they strive to reduce and eliminate waste wherever possible. Any product that is delivered can either be returned or reused, and for Evan, a worst-case scenario is for it to be composted. It is not just the customer aspect of the business that is zero-waste, the day-to-day operations are too. Evan identifies that one of the most overlooked aspects of a business on their way to circularity is taking advantage of what is already there. He urges that businesses should not be duplicating products and processes that will create more waste when you can utilize a company that already exists. For example, instead of buying an industrial dishwasher for their returnable containers, Zerocery partnered with Moo Free Beverages to use their excess capacity. Sustainable partnerships are a priority at Zerocery and they are always looking to help businesses transition to more sustainable options.