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

From the GM—August 2018

Dear Karma Members,

July was an exciting month for Karma in the news! We were recognized by NOW Magazine as being one of the Best Bulk Stores in Toronto , we were featured in a great article about Toronto co-ops by the Toronto Star and we were nominated as Toronto’s Best Organic Food Store and Best Green Store as part of NOW’s 2018 Reader Choice Awards! We hope you celebrate and share the great news about our co-op!

In the coming weeks, Karma will be participating in Open Streets Toronto to help promote the co-op even more. If you haven’t heard of this amazing event, be sure to check it out! We will also be holding our very first Repair Cafe in September in partnership with the amazing Repair Cafe Toronto! We are still looking for fixers of small household items and electronics, so if you have skills in these areas, please read below for details.

Some of you may have heard about the closing of the storefront of the West End Food Co-op (WEFC). We are incredibly sad about this news, which has shocked the co-op community. Karma worked alongside the WEFC to bring our members together and to showcase and educate the public about the benefits of the co-op model. We will miss working with them and wish the WEFC staff and Board of Directors all the very best in what lies ahead.

Simple steps to special ordering

Did you know that if you can’t find a product on our store shelves, you can try to “special order” it? This service is available to all members and means you can likely do more of your shopping at Karma. Here are some details to help you get started.

What can I special order?

Karma has a vast array of products you can purchase through special orders. Ask a staff member about a specific item. The items most commonly ordered are beauty products, bulk items, and groceries ordered by the case, such as drinks.  Other categories include snacks, cleaning products, and health products.

You can also place a standing special order for highly perishable items that you might want regularly (usually weekly or bi-weekly), such as bread, milk, or meat. It is your responsibility to pick up the item every week. Staff give a courtesy call the first week an item is received from a standing special order.

How much does it cost?

There is no additional charge for special orders. As with all products in the store, the price of an item is the supplier charge (that is, the wholesale price) plus Karma’s store mark-up fee, which differs depending on the item and membership type. It’s best to check with staff about the actual price of the item before ordering it. If you order by the case or in bulk (e.g., 25 kgs), you will receive a 5% discount.

*Important note* Unless you specify “Price check” on your order form, placing an order in the special orders box is a commitment to buy the product.

Where do I place a special order?

Special order forms and the special order box are located on the shelving unit just outside the kitchen in the store. You will need to fill out one special order form per item being ordered.

When will I receive my order?

Ask staff approximately how long it will take to get your item from the supplier. When items arrive, you’re notified and items are placed on the special orders shelf for pick-up.

Cheese, please!

Karma also offers special orders on bulk cheese. This is great news for all your upcoming parties and events! Check with a staff member about the types of cheese and quantities that can be ordered, and remember to ask about pricing before you submit your form.

submitted by Kate Rusnak

revised by Mara Eksteins, with input from Talia McGuire

First published in The Chronicle (Spring 2015)

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