Yes, that’s just in time for Earth Day (April 22), but the reality is that sustainability and environmentalism are things we need to consider all year long—and the zero-waste movement offers a way to do that.
What exactly does “zero-waste” mean? “All products come in a way that won’t create trash, either because there’s no packaging or the packaging is compostable or glass,” Tare Market co-founder Kate Marnach explains. “We’re plastic-free, because plastic can only be recycled two to three times, if that.”
Since many of Tare Market’s products are sold in bulk to avoid packaging waste, customers are encouraged to bring their own clean, reusable containers and bags. There will also be cloth bags available for purchase and jars that can be borrowed with a deposit.
Many of the bulk foods will be familiar to co-op patrons: dried fruit and muesli, nuts and lentils, flour and rice. However, some are unique to Tare Market, including bulk condiments like salad dressing and ketchup, tricky-to-track-down spices such as beetroot powder, and locally made granola. There’s also a selection of bulk teas from Sacred Blossom Farm, which grows and hand-harvests its herbs and flowers in Wisconsin.
Tare Market is not intended to be a one-stop shop. Marnach says that some items simply don’t work in a bulk setting. “People want tortilla chips and crackers, but those will go stale in a couple of hours in a bulk bin—the reality is you can’t put everything in bulk.” Another challenge? White vinegar: It’s only available in one-gallon plastic jugs or 55-gallon barrels (the Tare Market team is still scheming about how maneuver a barrel into the retail space).
As the vinegar logistics issue demonstrates, the inventory at Tare Market is a work in progress.
“We’re trying to think outside the box and find things to put in bulk people wouldn’t think,” Marnarch says. “We’re constantly finding new products. We’re taking a lot of suggestions from people—we want to evolve with what people need.”
The store also stocks cleaning supplies, personal care items, and beauty products. Many products are sold in bulk, from toothpaste and lip balm to laundry detergent and household cleaners. There are items that you never considered could be made eco-friendly, like biodegradable hair ties and refillable makeup compacts made from bamboo.
Tare Market also offers workshops on topics including an introduction to zero-waste, clothing repair, cloth diapering, and composting. “Come so that you don’t need to spend 10 hours on the internet!” Marnarch quips. She hopes the workshops will help participants find like-minded people and build community, as well as providing tips and tricks.
Tare Market will open at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 19, with a open house-style party with drinks and light appetizers scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m.
Marnarch emphasizes that Tare Market is a welcoming space, whether or not customers are already familiar with the zero-waste movement. “We’re about meeting people where they’re at—we’re here to help and teach. Little steps add up. You don’t need to be perfect; we’re not perfect either.”