Kate Marnach and Amber Haukedahl are creating a retail store that may be known initially for what it doesn't have more than what it does. Tare Market, a retail store opening in April in Minneapolis, will stock items that are virtually free of plastic and excess packaging. It will be a blister pack and Styrofoam-free zone.
One of the country's first zero waste retail stores, Tare Market will carry items that zero wasters try to avoid, such as plastic encased deodorant, shampoo and household cleaning products. Their shampoo and even conditioner come in bar form, similar to a bar of soap. "You just rub it on your hair," said Marnach. "It's an awesome shampoo and you can travel with it, so you don't have to use the plastic sample sizes in hotels."
Located at 2717 E. 38th St. in Minneapolis Tare Market will stock health & beauty products, shampoo, cleaners, some foods in season, bulk products such as flour, grains, pasta, coffee,tea and spices. Customers bring their own baskets, bags and glass containers to hold their goods or borrow Tare's containers and return them.
Marnach is quick to point out it's not a co-op or grocery store, although she's gotten some assistance from co-op employees. "We won't carry any meat, or dairy and we won't always have produce," said Marnach, who studied conservation biology and worked for a medical device company. "We're not licensed as a full-on grocery. We won't have any food prep on site."
She got the idea for the store while she was watching a documentary of plastic showing up in the ocean. She realized that simply recycling the plastic wasn't enough to lighten her environmental impact. "That prompted us to go zero waste," she said.
The store will also carry other items that are difficult to find in plastic-free packaging such as dental floss, toothbrushes and deodorant, which comes in a compostable tube.
Tare's prices are expected to be higher than on products made of plastic or encased in conventional packaging. Marnach attributes part of the price difference to using products that are organic, fair trade and locally or regionally produced when possible.
Being a zero waster hasn't hit the mainstream and can be isolating. "We're used to the eyerolls and people thinking we're crazy," she said. so we added classes on zero wasting," she said. " We added classes on zero wasting so people can meet other people who are into it and feel less alone with it."
Upcoming events listed on Tare's website include a pop-up shop on Feb. 23 at Keg and Case Market in St. Paul starting at 9 a.m. Classes about transitioning to Zero Waste are offered periodically and sell out quickly.
The store name refers to "tare weight," or the weight of an empty container subtracted from its weight when full.
An Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for Tare will go live on March 1 at Indiegogo.com.