Bulk dental floss at Karma

Unlike rows of new bulk bins, or the recently installed kombucha bar, there are many other new arrivals at Karma that can easily escape our notice. One such product is silk dental floss. A brief mention of it in the Karma e-Chronicle a few months back caught my attention. Shortly thereafter, I bought a Flosspot and a tiny box containing two refills of woven silk threads. I’ve been hooked ever since.

For those of us wanting to reduce single-use plastics, count silk dental floss as one small but important step. Flosspot is a refillable mini-mason jar with a metal lid and a 40-meter-long spool of silk threads inside.  But unlike plastic dental floss, you add it to the compost instead of your garbage bin after each use.

Flosspot’s silk dental floss is lightly coated with candelila wax, which comes from a shrub.  Using a plant-based wax enabled this product to earn USDA certification as a bio-based product. While there are other brands of silk dental floss, many use wax derived from fossil fuels. And KMH Touches, the company that makes Flosspot is Canadian.

I have noticed that silk dental floss is not quite as tough as plastic, so in order not to waste it, I try to use it a bit more gently than the plastic floss I have used in the past.

While in Karma the other day, I noticed a new product on the same shelf. Flosspot Gold is a dental floss whose threads are made from corn. Like all products made of silk, silk worms die in the process of making silk thread. So KMH Touches now has a vegan-friendly alternative. I look forward to trying it in the coming months.

submitted by Tim Grant

Karma bulking up on everything from kombucha to quinoa

The kombucha taps

Quick quiz: how many flavours of kombucha does Karma offer in bulk?

“What, Karma has started selling bulk kombucha?!” many of you may ask, quizzically.

Yes! Since the end of February, the very popular beverage has started flowing through taps installed in the side of one of the stand-up fridges into customers’ waiting jars.

And it’s super popular! Karma frequently sells out the kombucha tanks, showing that members are already eager for the healthful drink.

Bulk kombucha has the advantages not only of reducing packaging, but of lowering prices: one litre of bulk kombucha costs about $7 compared to the $5 half-litre bottles.

Plus, the bulk kombucha Karma carries is from two local companies: Alchemy Pickles and Tonica.

Alchemy Pickle is a Toronto-based company that buys certified-organic produce for its kombucha from family farms — including smaller-scale, sustainable farms — within a 200-kilometre radius of the city. The kombucha is traditionally fermented, unpasteurized, vegan and gluten-free.

Tonica also is based in Toronto, and all of its flavours of kombucha are vegan and gluten-free. Plus, they’re certified organic.

Okay, I’ve made you wait long enough! Here’s the answer to the quiz: four. Tonica supplies Ginger and Blueberry, whereas Alchemy produces at least two flavours that will change with the seasons.

But I can’t resist giving you another quiz: name two health and beauty products that are sold in bulk at Karma.

What’s the answer? Take your pick! From shampoo and conditioner to deodorant and body lotion, Karma is stocked up on a range of your bath and beauty needs in bulk, most recently from Montreal-based RoseCitron.

“A lot of people come into Karma looking for bulk products,” says Alexandra Prue, Karma’s healthy and beauty purchaser. “And that increasing demand lets us carry more and more of it. We also try to source companies and products that are as local as possible.”

Speaking of local, Ontario quinoa has been spotted among the bulk-food offerings at the coop. It’s another recent addition to the more than 400 bulk-food items in the store, most in the east end of the store and many in spiffy new bins.

So in addition to finding all your favourites from chocolate to cashews and flour to farro in bulk at Karma, you can check out local quinoa. Create your own list of go-to bulk items at Karma and quiz your friends. They’ll be surprised at the selection of items offered in bulk, including the burgeoning number of health and beauty supplies. 

submitted by Rosemary Frei

From the GM—July 2018

Dear Karma Members,

July is plastic-free month, and what better way to celebrate the month than with our new bulk bins! Buying in bulk saves on packaging, limits the consumption of food additives, is cheaper, and encourages reuse. Karma offers a few options to limit plastic consumption: you can bring your own container to fill; use a pre-loved container from under the members’ table; purchase a reusable Karma drawstring bulk bag; or purchase a paper bag. There are alternatives available and we encourage you to take advantage of them rather than grabbing for a new plastic bag.

Karma has always been a leader in what’s now called “zero-waste” living, only now, we’re doing it better. We carry a highly unique bulk product line, from toothpaste to miso. Over the coming weeks we will be increasing our offerings even more to make Karma your number one stop for your zero-waste needs. If there are any additions you’d like to see at Karma, let us know! We’re always looking to improve! Stay tuned to our social media channels to learn about new products and tips on how you can reduce your plastic consumption and waste generally.

The feedback we have received on the bins has been overwhelmingly positive and we are so thrilled that you love your new bins as much as we do! With the new bins, we don’t have to pre-bag any bulk in plastic bags, we can sell more products, and our bulk takes up a smaller amount of space. Thank you to all the members who helped with the renovation, and the BIGGEST thank you to the amazing staff who worked so incredibly hard to make this transition happen. The new bins wouldn’t have been possible without all of your help!

In staffing news, Karma’s bulk and meat purchaser James Byrne is going back to school in September! We’re so excited for him and know he will do amazing things. James will be taking a leave of absence for two months before coming back to work at Karma once a week in October. We will miss his master selling techniques and cheery self so very much while he is gone. Please wish him the best of luck in his studies.

Yours co-operatively,
Talia McGuire
General Manager
Karma Co-op
manager@karmacoop.org