Corn on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic is one of Tom’s pet peevers. (Tom Roper photo)

Corn on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic is one of Tom’s pet peevers. (Tom Roper photo)

Is there a way to normalize zero waste?

It really bugs Tom that so much stuff comes in unnecessary packaging

Does it ever bother you when you have to throw away something that is still good like an empty cheerio box or an empty dish soap plastic bottle.

Well, it really bugs me. The waste we as humans generate is mind-boggling. What can we do as one person? I guess, just keep throwing away and keep piling up waste until the earth becomes too heavy and pulls itself out of natural orbit and burns up getting too close to the sun.

OK, there is a better solution. ReJar. This business can be one of those small beginning solutions where we can start to change our habits.

First off, you may have not seen the shop. It is tucked away on the alley between Third and Second Avenues behind Main Street toward King Street.

You have to look for it and just that act will give you the courage to think to yourself, hey this might be a good idea, maybe I can do something small about packaging.

It is easy to forget that we, the consumer, have an enormous amount of power and when we get together collectively and say ‘no, we are not going to accept this plastic packaging anymore,’ change can happen. Can you believe we now have corn in a four plastic pack?

I was able to get ReJar owner Emilie Schmidt away from her business and busy life and ask her a few questions about her enterprise and how it came to be. Where did you come from and how did you come up with this idea of using reusable jars to hold food and other products was my first query.

Emilie: “I grew up in the valley, my family bought the Par 3 back in the day. I worked at several fishing lodges and heliski resorts in the area before deciding to move to Kimberly with my boyfriend Devon. We loved the Kootenays but kept returning to Smithers for our vacations and visiting family.

“When a Zero Waste store opened in Kimberley, I felt my mission in life was answered. We decided to move back to Smithers permanently and set up shop. The idea is to bring in products that I can buy in bulk and then consumers can bring in reusable jars or containers and we can transfer the bulk to the amount needed.”

Next, I asked Emilie why she would think this process can make a significant difference in our waste overload lifestyle.

Emilie: “I think once you get in the mindset of creating less waste, you start thinking of all the other ways you can help this overburdened planet. You ask yourself, Why am I buying this product. Do I really need this or have I somehow been pre-programmed to buy it because I have been watching too many ads on TV?”

And finally, I asked Emilie, what do you see in the future?

Emilie: “Well I’m not perfect, we can only try our best. I believe in baby steps to change the way we do things. We can slowly try to improve our waste output. We can say ‘no, I am not going to buy that corn in a Styrofoam tray with a plastic wrap, corn has its own natural packaging. If consumers do not buy a product, corporations will stop supplying it. I want to grow my business and have more items for the consumer to feel good about buying without packaging overload. We can normalize zero waste.”

Drop me an email or call 250-877-1806 if you have someone you would like to profile.

Thanks, Tom.