Daily bite: The East Coast’s first zero-waste coffee shop The Tare Shop opens in Halifax

The Tare Shop is on a zero waste mission with its café and bulk coffee bean concept in Halifax

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photo courtesy of Enrique Flores.

Tare: a deduction from the gross weight of a substance and its container made in allowance for the weight of the container; also: the weight of the container

Two buckets of compost, a handful of brown paper, five milk cartons, five caps and a small plastic stick is the sum of the waste that was produced on day one at Halifax’s newest coffee shop and bulk food store, The Tare Shop, which opened last week to much applause from eco-minded coffee-lovers in the Halifax area.

The zero-waste café, bulk store and community space opened in a brightly lit corner on the corner of Creighton and Cornwallis Street, within a short walk of the newly hip corner of Gottingen, where it stands among other restaurants, Edna, LF Bakery, The Foggy Goggle and Field Guide, all operating in the fast-gentrifying North End landscape.


Come in for a nice warm drink on this grey day  Open until 5 today and tomorrow from 10-2 

A post shared by The Tare Shop (@thetareshop) on

The café is the dream of owner Kate Pepler, who cooked up the concept after completing a bachelor of arts in the Sustainability, Environmental Science program at Dalhousie University. The new store aims to be zero waste, which means no plastic cups, no bags, no straws, no paper napkins, no plastic containers. It also has its own nut-butter machine.

In case you’re not the kind of person that travels with your own coffee mug (and even then, who loves drinking from a travel thermos?), The Tare Shop has mugs that you can use in-house, as well as a “mug library”, an extra collection of mugs that you can take to go and bring back when you get the chance. The Tare Shop also plans to build a free jar or container library for those who forget their containers.

The shop follows in the footsteps of a nearby neighbour, The Nook café and espresso bar on Gottingen Street, whose contribution to the environment has been social. At The Nook, regular paying customers can buy an additional token, valued at $2 or $5, to leave for a future customer who may not be able to afford a meal.

Other zero-waste shops across the country include Nu, Ottawa’s first zero-waste grocery store; Montreal’s Mega Vrac Epicerie, and Kitchen Staples and The Soap Dispensary, which has been doing the zero-waste thing in Vancouver since 2011.