Buy Your Own Bulk: Promoting sustainable grocery shopping in Montreal


In February, the McGill Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurship announced the list of the semi-finalist for its 2019 competition. In the Social Enterprise Track, alongside MealCare, was an organization called Buy Your Own Bulk, aka BYOB.

BYOB is a non-profit organization located on the McDonald Campus of McGill University. Their goal is to provide affordable, organic and fair-trade dry foods to the McGill community. While doing so, they hope to promote healthy and sustainable eating habits among McGill students.

Here’s how they work: once a week, BYOB organizes a sale on the McDonald Campus. Prior to the sale, they buy dry food items in bulk, such as legumes, grains, dried fruits and nuts from suppliers across Montreal. They then sell them to students and staff members. They are able to maintain prices that are lower than regular retailers, since all their team members are volunteers.

One of the most notable aspects of their organization is that they only sell food in bulk and ask clients to bring their own containers, which promotes sustainable shopping habits. This is especially crucial considering that, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging account for 23% of all landfill waste. Initiatives that seek to reduce the waste created by the food industry are thus indispensable!