Of all the things humans excel at, we are prodigiously talented at producing waste. It’s estimated we’ve generated over 10 billion tons of plastic since 1950, with over half of that total no longer in use and not recycled.
Having seen the impact of this waste first-hand during her work as a marine biologist, Brianne Miller’s mission became clear: to change the way we shop for groceries and promote an environmentally friendly alternative. This led to the founding of Nada Grocery, a zero-waste grocery store located on Vancouver’s East Broadway Street.
“As a marine biologist, I started to see the impact of plastic pollution on species I was working with and the direct connection between the health of our oceans and the impact of our food choices,” she said.
“Climate change is directly linked to how we’re growing, transporting and packaging our food and I wanted to do something about it. There was nobody doing what Nada Grocery does and I felt like it needed to be done. There wasn’t a solution out there to the problems that were bugging me more and more.”
How Nada Makes a Difference
Nada’s impact has been immediate and wide reaching. Since opening in 2018, the store has diverted more than 250,000 containers from landfill and prevented over 2000kg of food waste. They also act as custodians for the wider zero waste community, hosting over 100 outreach events spanning beach and park cleanups, pop-up shops and workshops on zero waste living.
“Sustainability is baked into all that we do, from our supply chain to our store build out! We are a certified B-Corporation and 1% for the Planet member. We also support more than 50 local grassroots environmental organizations tackling food waste and food security, advancing marine conservation, and developing local social and economic resilience.
“Nada supports these organizations with event space, marketing and product donations, we’ve also hosted more than 150 zero waste meetups, pop-up shops, and community outreach events. Since opening, we’ve had more than 10,000 customers and we manage zero waste Facebook groups across Canada with 25,000+ members who are inspired to take individual action to reduce consumption.”
The established grocery supply chain has been in place for several years. It works because it’s cheap and convenient. Disrupting that supply chain and forging a new path is no easy feat but it’s something Nada has embraced and they’re seeing the benefits from it:
“We’ve definitely noticed an increased demand for sustainable products. We see new faces at the store every day. We get people who come from all over the city, and from areas like North Van, Deep Cove, Squamish, Langley, Surrey, etc.
“We will only work with suppliers who have agreed to modify their supply chain in some shape or form to help us reach our zero waste goals. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing from the get-go, as it’s especially harder with big companies to implement these big changes. As long as we’re sure they’re making incremental steps toward zero waste, it can be enough.”
Hear from Brianne at INSPIRE
On October 1 at INSPIRE, Nada’s Brianne Miller will form part of our panel on business’ role in climate action. Join us on the night and hear insights on how Nada is making a difference to our province’s zero waste movement every day.
“I’m looking forward to discussing how we’ve incorporated climate action into our supply chain and how we’ve inspired our team to take action on climate issues while inspiring a city to make food choices that are better for both people and planet.”
Secure Your Ticket
Visit our INSPIRE event page to find out more information about this important night and secure your ticket.