Last year, Montreal pledged to do away with Styrofoam and single-use plastic containers starting in 2020, but that’s just the beginning of the city’s attempt to wage war on waste. Along with Vancouver, Toronto and 91 other cities worldwide, Montreal is a member of the C40 climate leadership group, which recently announced its ambitious goal of being zero waste by 2030. Doing away with disposables in a decade is not a task reserved solely for a city’s municipal government. From residents to businesses to visitors, all contribute to waste and therefore must contribute to waste reduction. Whether you’re a local or just playing one for the weekend, here are five spots in Montreal to help you go to the green side.
Boxotel is a three-year-old hotel in the Quartier des Spectacles designed with energy consumption in mind. When reconstructing the building, owner Marie-Jeanne Rivard, who is also a general contractor, aimed for efficiency by installing concrete heated floors and south-facing windows for passive solar heating. The 20 rooms, laid out like apartments, work for business travellers and families alike, each equipped with a full kitchen complete with compost bins and bulk dispensers in the bathrooms full of natural products. If you’re after a home-cooked meal, but not the cooking sort, stop by Capsa, the hotel’s restaurant, to grab some take-out in a compostable container. 175 Ontario St. E., boxotel.com
Resto-bar Poincaré in Chinatown features natural wines and Quebec beers on its menu. Pair them with fatty pork ribs, which, as with all the meat served at Poincaré, is raised through regenerative agriculture. The team is concerned with producing as little waste as possible, so there’s no plastic wrap or aluminium foil in sight and, since this neighbourhood doesn’t have municipal compost pick-up, they pay to have it taken away themselves. Seating is church pews-turned booths, which sommelier Hugo Jacques drove to the Gaspé Peninsula to pick up for salvaging. Pull up a pew and order the fermentation platter, which includes whatever chef Jeremiah Bullied has been tinkering with, like purple daikon, kimchi or spicy antipasti made with ingredients sourced within 100 kilometers. 1071 Saint-Laurent Blvd., poincarechinatown.com
Staff at Petite-Patrie’s La Cale take its zero-waste label seriously. Beer is served from metal kegs rather than disposable plastic ones, food is bought in bulk and, if they can’t find ingredients that fit this standard, they make them in-house. To avoid throwing out the plastic pouches most dispenser soft drinks come in, they mix their own. Their gin and tonic combines Quebec’s Ungava Gin and a homemade root tonic, and the pulp from their cranberry juice gets reused for jam. Though they offer meat as optional add-ons, the menu is mostly plant-based – even the poutine’s gravy is made with red wine and mushrooms. You can also choose your portion size to avoid any uneaten food heading to the compost. 6839 St-Hubert St., la-cale.com
What sets Shwap Club apart from other second-hand stores is that there’s nothing for sale. The racks full of clothes in this bright Saint-Henri loft are only accessible on a swapping basis. A trained lawyer who loves fashion and is tired of mass consumerism, Annette Nguyen launched this concept in 2018 so that people could bring in their on-trend dresses, exercise gear, footwear or baby clothes to exchange. Entry costs $16 a visit or $90 a year, and you can trade as many pieces as you want, item-for-item. Nguyen was an avid organizer of clothing swaps and wanted to create a laid-back community spot to have direct contact with customers. Considering she’s already expanded twice and opened a second location in the Mile-Ex on March 1, it seems as if she’s not alone. 642 De Courcelle St., #306 and 6682 Jeanne-Mance Street, shwapclub.com
5. If you’re looking to stock up on items to help you live a zero-waste lifestyle, Rosemont’s bright and airy home goods store DDD, which stands for Dedicated to Durable Design, has you covered. When she set up this brick and mortar in August, 2019, Luce Mainguy combined her graphic design background with a desire to provide ecofriendly everyday objects. From sleek, collapsible to-go cups by New York-based brand Stojo to custom wooden shelves crafted a few blocks away, everything is vetted to follow a set of environmental rules before hitting the floor. Pieces are high-quality so that they last, have a simple aesthetic that won’t go out of style and correspond to one or many responsible criteria, like being compostable, biodegradable or made from recycled materials. 2356 Beaubien St. E., boutiqueddd.com
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