Cris and Cathy, co-owners of Purple Carrot, have long had a passion for sustainability. Cris remembers as a kid growing up on the West Coast being blown away at all the oil spills and clear cut logging and the excessive litter on her streets and it “just didn’t seem right”. This, alongside growing up with environmentally conscious parents, she knew she had to do something and ultimately it comes down to awareness.

Purple Carrot will be turning 8 this February, starting out with only a small hutch of refills. They have grown to now have nearly half the store designated for refill as well as many zero waste and plastic free products. Zero waste goes beyond just the products they sell, most of the shelves in the store are made from repurposed pallets as well as the front till. “We try to reuse things as much as we can”, before Lethbridge had a blue bin they would pay to have their plastics recycled and take any organics home to add to their own compost piles. “Terracycle is hard because it gets shipped so far”, but since the closing down of the business they used to go through, and the addition of blue and green bins in Lethbridge, the only terracycling they need to use is the silver lined packages from snack bags, which they now send to a company in Airdrie, Alberta to be recycled.

Their main goal is to create awareness in the community. Cris quotes Anne Marie Boneau saying, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” She also said “if we can all just reduce our waste a little bit, that makes a huge difference.”

The moment where Cris knew that Purple Carrot and their sustainable actions were something special was after their first count of how many bottles they have diverted from the landfill. “I don't remember the amount but I think it was 10,000 and we have had people drive in from Medicine Hat and all over with their empty bottles so excited that they can refill them. It is really cool to see our customer base get really excited and passionate about going zero waste, but the other side is seeing new people come in and see what kinds of things they can refill and realize how affordable it can be.”

With zero waste stores closing left and right her main hope for the future is that they get to continue operating. “There are so many changes happening with Health Canada with our supplements that is really alarming, this is our dream and we feel really grateful to be able to keep doing it and inspiring people and seeing new people come in and change their habits and their health. That’s why we do what we do.”

To quote Cris’s bio from their website, “I believe that as humans, we have an obligation to do better. We have an obligation to ourselves, our children and our planet to do the best we can.”

Written by Charlie Weston

Purple Carrot Owners
Co-Owners Cathy and Cris
Purple Carrot Building