A Reusable Tale

Bare to The Bones

Dayna Stein is the proud owner of bare market; Toronto’s first all-in-one stop for package free goods. Her goal is to promote a sustainable and accessible lifestyle for everyone. Locally grown foods – along with locally sourced body and home care products – is what the shop is best known for.

Waste is a major problem Canadians face on the road to solving the climate crisis. In 2022, the National Zero Waste Council conducted research on household food waste in Canada. The amount of food Canadians waste could fill 1531 football fields – a massive 140 kilograms. Almost two-thirds of the food Canadians throw away is suitable for eating.

At bare market, reusable produce bags are offered to combat waste. The company stores body care products and sells them to customers who bring their own containers. They also sell containers that are 100 per cent reusable. Customers can pick what size they would like. Stein says people should realize throwing away food also means using up the resources that went into producing it. Food waste makes up one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere.

By degrading our land, we stop natural farms from growing crops. Through bare market, Dana Stein is doing her part to create a cleaner planet. She says the public needs to adapt its mindset towards a more circular economy that designs waste out of the system.

Like many small businesses hit hard by the pandemic, Stein’s bare market is on the verge of closing. She thinks of herself as more of a movement than a shop; a movement to wash our hands clean from unnecessary waste.

Capturing Sustainability

Dayna Stein, the creative force behind bare market, set out on a journey of sustainability which dates to her childhood. From a young age, she showed a love for the environment. Stein would take part in neighbourhood clean-ups and craft a close relationship with the natural world.

Later in life, Stein decided to pursue her passion. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food Systems and Food Security. She then obtained a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability. These scholastic achievements set the stage for her future influence in the world of sustainable living.

When Stein was an undergraduate in Vancouver, she was inspired by the Soap Dispensary – a bulk body and home care company that allows clients to bring their own containers for refills. Her mission was to introduce a similar idea to Toronto, where she saw a need for sustainable offerings. In addition to demonstrating the viability of waste reduction, the Soap Dispensary gave Stein the blueprint for her own business.

Stein admits, bare market isn’t seeing the same attention as its inspiration. This environmentalist says the type of shopping bare market offers is rewarding – but inconvenient. Getting people on board has been a challenge. She says the sustainability movement isn’t as active as compared to when they first opened. She also says her lack of marketing has spurred this downturn. Furthermore, Stein attributes recessionary spending as the major cause behind the troubles she’s having attracting customers to her retail space.

Still, this hasn’t spoiled her enthusiasm. She says they will keep pivoting until they find something that works. An online space is the direction they’re headed. They hope to offer communities the same circular model as the retail store – just in a digital format.


Planting a Sustainable Mindset

Toronto generates around two billion pounds of waste annually. To curb this trend, the city created their Long-Term Waste Management Strategy. They are envisioning a zero-waste future. To do this, the city incorporates a Baselining for a Circular Toronto study.

Their goal is to evaluate the current state of circularity in Toronto – and propose a vision for a sustainable city. Product reuse, repair, and longevity are essential to their strategy.

The city acknowledges a collaborative effort is needed to reach this goal. It requires companies, manufacturers, consumers, and the city to be on board. Consumers are recommended to practice more sustainable habits such as using reusable bags and containers instead of disposable ones. The city also outlines how companies can act. Corporations can revamp production through reusing resources. By doing this, they will unlock the potential for more circular business models.

Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos, Program Coordinator of Seneca Polytechnic’s Sustainable Business Management program, believes company executives should push the agenda and lead businesses towards greener practices.

He is leading the next generation of students to create change on a corporate level. Panagiotakopoulos was inspired by his parents to pursue this career path. He grew up with an ecofriendly mindset instilled into him. He later studied environmental engineering and then shifted to sustainability management.

Panagiotakopoulos says change cannot come from an individual level. He says companies need to be on board with the sustainability movement. That’s why he feels it is crucial to mold the next generation of environmentally minded business leaders. He also gives his comments on bare market, a sustainable business in Toronto, that’s tackling waste with a focus on package-free goods. He shares what the future holds and how companies should capitalize on it.

Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos, Program Coordinator of Sustainable Business Management, Seneca Polytechnic

From Seneca to Artevelde

Let’s head to Belgium to see how local initiatives, an ocean apart, are contributing to a global circular economy by designing out waste, repurposing or regenerating.

‘AKKER EN AMBACHT’ - An Ecological Legacy Worth Fighting For

In 2016, Jan Breyne turned a lifelong dream into reality by opening “Akker en Ambacht”, an eco-friendly and sustainable shop committed to offering products from local businesses that are made with care. Sadly, Jan passed away last year, leaving behind a legacy that his daughter, Hadewijch, now carries forward.

Hadewijch started working at the shop in 2017 as a student- entrepreneur and has since taken the reins of the business. Despite her job as a teacher, she has immersed herself in the daily operations of the store. Her commitment ensures that the shop remains a true reflection of the values cherished by her father.

‘Akker en Ambacht’ prides itself on providing products sourced either locally or from overseas Fairtrade cooperatives in the South. The vision of the store is very clear: if a product isn’t eco-friendly or sustainable, it doesn’t belong on the shelves. The shop’s commitment to transparency is evident in its insistence on knowing the story behind each product and the people who make them.

The shop’s philosophy revolves around providing consumers with local, ecological options that align with principles of Fairtrade and organic ecology. Hadewijch believes in offering not just products, but a guarantee that what customers purchase is ethically produced and environmentally responsible. “For us, it is very important to have a local, ecological shop with fair trade, fair prices, and really good products. We don't sell garbage,” she affirms.

‘‘Akker en Ambacht’ collaborates with local businesses that maintain three main criteria: they must be local, fair trade and organic ecological. When a business wants their products in the shop, they need to meet two out of three criteria. Perfect partnerships align with all three principles. That is how ‘Akker en Ambacht’ contributes to the environment and stays sustainable.


29-year-old Hadewijch Breyne, daughter of the founder of ‘Akker en Ambacht’, was raised in an environment where sustainable living was a core value. “Sustainable living was instilled in me from home,” she said. “Many of the suppliers we have now are farmers that we've been going to since childhood.”

Recalling her early years, Hadewijch emphasizes the family's commitment to sourcing directly from local farmers. Instead of purchasing yogurt from supermarkets, they would obtain milk from nearby farms and freeze twelve bottles at a time. Similarly, their meat consumption involved buying half a cow, also stored in the freezer. These practices laid the foundation for her sustainable lifestyle.

Despite her father's demanding job that kept him away from home, he imparted enduring values to his children. “If you can do something for someone, you should do it, without wanting anything in return. That's something my father used to say."

In 2016, her father changed his career and started with ‘Akker en Ambacht’. “In the beginning, it was just my dad working here in the store, but the store got bigger and bigger and my dad couldn't handle it alone anymore. That's why I started as a student entrepreneur in 2017, here on Saturdays, so I could relieve my dad and he could go home for hot meals for once.”

Tragedy struck the family with Jan's passing last year. Undeterred, Hadewijch continues the family legacy. Despite the challenges, she remains committed. “Now I'm still pursuing my agricultural training because sourcing pork for the store has become a challenge. I aim to engage in small-scale farming to address this need.” So, as you can see, Hadewijch is very much committed to contributing to a brighter future.

Meet the Team

Gianluca Berardis

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Bare to The Bones

Prachi Patel

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Capturing Sustainability

Brandon Budhram

Seneca Polytechnic
Producer: Planting a Sustainable Mindset

Jasper Strobbe

Artevelde University
Producer: ‘AKKER EN AMBACHT’ - An Ecological Legacy Worth Fighting For & HADEWIJCH BREYNE’S STORY

Ellen Van Oudenhove

Artevelde University
Producer: ‘AKKER EN AMBACHT’ - An Ecological Legacy Worth Fighting For & HADEWIJCH BREYNE’S STORY

Jeffe Langier

Artevelde University
Producer: ‘AKKER EN AMBACHT’ - An Ecological Legacy Worth Fighting For & HADEWIJCH BREYNE’S STORY

Elias Timmerman

Artevelde University
Producer: ‘AKKER EN AMBACHT’ - An Ecological Legacy Worth Fighting For & HADEWIJCH BREYNE’S STORY

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