Meet TARE Market: Minnesota’s First Zero Waste Store

An increasing number of zero waste stores are opening around the world. Lucky for me, the latest is coming to my own city of Minneapolis. I had the chance to talk with Amber Haukedahl, co-owner of TARE Market, about her new zero waste store and the inspiration behind her business venture with Kate Marnach.

Why did you open TARE Market?

I opened TARE Market because I felt like I wasn't able to live a zero waste lifestyle without ordering a lot of my products online. I was frustrated because I would order something small and then it would come in a big, huge box and have all kinds of plastic bubble wrap in it. To me, shipping it and then all the packaging just made me question if this was the most effective way to move toward zero waste. Also, I was frustrated with the lack of local options. Things that I felt like co-ops and grocery stores should really have, like a bamboo toothbrush, I couldn't find anywhere locally. I kept hoping someone was going to open a store that would offer those things. Then finally I realized, “well, I’m somebody! Why don’t I start a store?”

How is TARE Market different from a conventional or cooperative store?

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We consider ourselves a neighborhood grocer so we're small and walkable. We want to compliment what the co-op’s do so we have some of the items they sell in the bulk section but we also offer hard to find items that people have said they wished their co-op would carry. For example, we carry adults’ and kids’ toothpastes in bulk, deodorant in bulk, lotion bars in bulk, and liquid & powder laundry detergents.

One area I feel like conventional and cooperative stores don’t have a lot of is sustainable living products, like I mentioned a bamboo toothbrush. The coop I visited had compostable floss that came in plastic and I thought, “well, that defeats the purpose!” They also didn't have reusable face rounds or reusable straws because they are first and foremost a grocer so their space is allocated to food. At TARE Market we’re not considering ourselves a grocer. We help people move toward zero waste holistically by offering sustainable living products, cleaning products, home & health products as well as some food. Basically, we offer everything one would need to go zero waste.

Who will be able to shop at TARE Market? Will they have to bring their own bags and containers?

Everyone can shop at TARE Market. We put ourselves strategically in a place so that people from all areas of town could get here. It’s about a block away from the 38th light rail stop. We have bike racks outside and a bike lane on 38th Street and on 28th Avenue. There are two major bus routes that go by and people can also drive. We are working on getting government assistance so people who use SNAP benefits will eventually be able to use them at TARE Market.

People can bring their own containers or borrow some from us. We have TARE Market branded containers so anyone can fill up with whatever they want, pay a deposit for the container and get the deposit back when they return the container. It doesn’t even have to be returned clean. We will do all of the cleaning for them. We're also going to have a grab-and-go section with pre-filled jars of all of our bulk food items to make it accessible to people who have really busy schedules as well.

What products does a zero waste store like TARE Market offer?

We’ll offer one hundred shelf-stable bulk food options (dried fruit, nuts, granola,  flour, things like that). We’ll also have a home & health area of the store with zero waste makeup including eye shadow in bulk, blush in bulk and lipstick in compostable tubes. We have about 10 different household cleaners (stainless steel cleaner, glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner and all-purpose). We also have sustainable living supplies like reusable straws, reusable cutlery, cloth napkins, things like that.

Other than reducing waste, what excites you most about opening TARE Market?

I just love meeting members of the community. The Twin Cities is just an awesome place. People are so great, really smart, motivated and passionate. Honestly my favorite part of this whole experience is just meeting so many wonderful people who have all these wonderful stories. For example, a woman stopped in the store the other day. She has a CSA that she runs out of her front yard 3 blocks from the store so it’s very urban.  She has chickens and grows all her own food on her front lawn and provides enough to sell 14 shares of a CSA. She’s a totally badass self-sustaining farmer in the middle of the city. Meeting people like her is so motivating and it’s just awesome to meet all these wonderful people.

TARE Market is located at 2717 38th St, Minneapolis, MN and opens for business on April 19th, 2019. Hours M-F 10-7, Sat 9-6, Sun 9-5. Visit for more information.


Creating a Festive Tablescape

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Adding beauty and a sense of plenty to the holiday table is easily accomplished without creating waste. Like most waste-reducing efforts, the benefits of eco-friendly table decor extend beyond shrinking the trash pile and enjoying a gorgeous centerpiece. Since beginning my zero waste journey, I have taken unexpected pleasure in mindfully walking outdoors, finding beauty and inspiration in seemingly lifeless landscapes and preparing post-holiday meals using decor from the table. Whether I am hosting or helping a host decorate, I love using these possibilities for creating a beautiful low-waste tablescape.

Gather from Nature. Enjoy a leisurely walk collecting natural tablescape treasures. Search the ground for colorful fallen leaves, acorns and pine cones. Prune bushes and gather sticks with various textures, colors and shades. Clip grasses and plumes of wild sumac. Store leaves in the freezer to preserve color until thawing and using as decor. If keeping acorns longer than a few days, bake at 175-200 degrees with the oven door slightly open for two hours to dry and debug them. Stir occasionally.

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Use edible produce & other foods. Apples, squash, cranberries, nuts, popcorn cobs as well as herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary work well for decorating and are likely to be eaten after the holiday.

Light natural candles. Instead of relying on battery-operated candle replacements, use natural candles made of beeswax, soy wax or vegetable oils. This subtle difference makes a cozier feel at the holiday table.

Reuse items. When it comes to decor, using what is already available is always less wasteful than buying new. Typically used items have stood at least some test of time and have “proven” their worthiness for being kept out of the landfill so it is no coincidence used items are usually of higher quality than new items. When it comes to reusing, use what you own, borrow from others or acquire second-hand items through resale shops such as ARC Value Village or Goodwill, local consignment stores, Craigslist, NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace, etc. Any of these options can help allow for enough table linens and cloth napkins so that all single-use items can be avoided.

Low-Waste Halloween Treats


An autumn celebration of haunts, horror stories and treats, perhaps the scariest thing about Halloween is all the trash. But just because Halloween involves treats, doesn’t mean they have to be wasteful. Here are 5 low-waste Halloween treat and trick-or-treat ideas to help move toward zero waste.

Package-Free Treats. Apples! Whether harvested from a backyard tree or bought loose at a local orchard or grocery store, apples are a great autumn-themed zero waste treat. Oranges and clementines bought loose are also fun because of their visual similarity to pumpkins. For candy to eat at home, package-free treats such as candy corn, pumpkin gummies and chocolate can be found in loose bulk bins at grocery stores and specialty candy shops.

Treats in Compostable Packaging. Few large-scale candy makers offer candy in compostable wrappers. Two options I’m aware of are Alter Eco chocolate truffles and paper-packaged Pixy Stix. If you’re looking to give candy away to trick-or-treaters, other options are to buy package-free candy in loose bulk and then package the candy in compostable cellophane yourself. This is only advisable if your trick-or-treaters trust accepting non-commercially packaged treats from you. Otherwise, the candy and cellophane will go straight to the trash anyway.

Treats in Recyclable Packaging. Cardboard, cans and foil are all recyclable. Options packaged in these types of packaging include candy in cardboard boxes (Nerds, Whoppers, Mike & Ike’s, Milk Duds, Dots, Junior Mints, Glee Gum, etc.), drinks in aluminum cans (soda, flavored water, etc.) and foil-wrapped candies (Rolos, Kisses, chocolate coins, etc.). Recycle all boxes and plastic bags containing the individually-packaged items when done. (Note: Most curb-side recycling services do not offer plastic film recycling. Recycle plastic bags where accepted at speciality recycling locations.) Also, remind trick-or-treaters to recycle the cardboard, can or foil after finishing their treat.

Buy Non-Halloween Themed Packaging. Some candy makers offer special Halloween packaging. Although the shelf-life for candy is long, candy with packaging indicating a certain holiday is more likely to end up in the trash prematurely. This makes money for candy makers and waste for the rest of us. Opt for non-holiday themed packaging whenever buying packaged items.

Avoid Plastic. Giving trick-or-treaters plastic trinkets and toys is becoming more popular. Most, if not all, are of low quality and used for an unconscionably short period of time compared to the hundreds of years they will wreak havoc in our environment. For those opposed to giving trick-or-treaters something edible, low-waste options include eco-friendly items kids need like recycled newspaper pencils, upcycled crayons, bamboo toothbrushes, or special coin currency like “golden dollars.”


Cold and flu are responsible for a great deal of misery and an even greater amount of waste. Wasted packaging and money spent on ineffective treatments, not to mention wasted time away from usual activities is inconvenient, at best. Causing widespread illness in fall and winter, cold and flu are two different types of respiratory infections caused by viruses. These illnesses have a season because cold weather drives people indoors where the dry air common during cooler months enables viruses to linger longer in the air after sneezes and coughs, increasing the chance of infecting us.

Reducing cold and flu waste starts with relying on evidence-based measures of prevention and treatment. (Less illness, means less waste!) The information here is not medical advice but rather a sharing of evidence I have considered and found beneficial for both my health and my goal of moving toward zero waste.


PREVENTION OF COLD & FLU: Cold and flu prevention starts with simple, low cost measures. Cleansing, sleeping, vaccinating and avoiding antibacterial products are a few such measures.

Cleansing. The knowledge that cleansing prevents infection is nothing new. Frequent hand washing significantly reduces the risk of catching or passing an infection because it reduces the chance of cold and flu viruses making contact with the eyes, mouth or nose. When washing hands, regular non-antibacterial bar soap that washes germs down the drain is least wasteful. In addition to the hands, the mouth is another place where cleansing can reduce cold and flu risk. According to research on upper respiratory infections such as colds, gargling nearly 1 ½ tablespoons of plain water three times for 15 seconds each, three times daily can significantly reduce the risk of infection.

Sleeping. Sleeping is another simple and surprisingly effective preventative measure. According to a 2009 Carnegie Mellon study, sleeping 8 or more hours per night can significantly reduce your chance of catching a cold. The study found those getting less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to catch a cold than those who slept eight or more hours.  

Vaccinating. Last year a record 80,000 Americans died of flu and flu complications. Flu vaccination has been proven to reduce flu severity as well as the contraction of other illnesses such as colds, leading to fewer hospitalizations and deaths. The flu vaccine prevents millions of flu cases and medical visits every year. Preventing waste with the use of vaccines, saves an inestimable amount of medical waste (facial tissues, medication, exam gloves, IV bags & tubes, packaging, etc.) as well as waste from worktime lost and lives lost.

Avoiding Antibacterials. Antibacterials and antibiotics fight BACTERIA. They won’t prevent colds or flu because colds and flu are caused by VIRUSES. Any money spent on these kinds of products to prevent colds and flu is a waste of money and packaging and are known to put our health at risk. Another aspect to consider is the body’s microbiome. Healthy bodies are teaming with “good bacteria,” in fact several pounds of beneficial bacteria resides in each of us. Experts are finding that microbiomes containing a healthy balance of good bacteria prevent disease. That means annihilating good bacteria using antibacterial soaps, cleansers and oral hygiene products (such as antiseptic mouthwash and toothpaste with triclosan) can set the microbiome off balance and increase the chance of becoming ill. Although an increasing number of people go as far as to take specific strains of these good bacteria (probiotics), at the very least not destroying good bacteria with antibacterials on a routine basis is probably a helpful starting place.

According to a 2009 Carnegie Mellon study, sleeping 8 or more hours per night can significantly reduce your chance of catching a cold.

REDUCING THE DURATION OF COLD & FLU: To minimize the length of the cold or flu, the following low waste measures are supported with both scientific and anedotal evidence.

Elderberry Syrup. Elderberry syrup is a remedy proven to reduce the duration of cold & flu by 2 to 3 days on average as well as reduce the severity of symptoms such as runny nose and nasal congestion.

Hydration. Drinking tap water, sipping bone broth (using my zero waste recipe), warm lemon water with honey, and eating watery fruit are all great low waste ways to stay hydrated. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine prevents dehydration.

Rest. Resting reserves energy for the immune system and boosts the body’s ability to fight infection. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine prevents sleep disturbances.

TREATMENT OF COLD & FLU SYMPTOMS: To minimize the severity of cold and flu symptoms, the following low waste measures are also supported with scientific and anedotal evidence.

Nasal Symptoms.

  • Sneezing: Cloth tissues are common in many parts of the world, especially in waste-conscious communities that are too smart to throw their money away with every blow of the nose. For those new to reusable tissues, the ick-factor may take some getting used to. A low commitment for sampling cloth tissues is to cut up an old cotton t-shirt using a paper tissue from your current stash as a template. After using the tissues, sterilize by washing, drying and/or ironing on the highest temperature settings recommended. Use the paper tissue box as a dispenser while you consider going full-on cloth.

  • Stuffy nose: A review of evidence regarding saline nasal cleansing (also called nasal irrigation and nasal rinsing) for upper respiratory conditions also found that saline nasal irrigation “may be an effective adjunctive treatment” for cold congestion. By far the most convenient, low-cost and low-waste method for nasal cleansing is to make saline solution yourself. I use a saline recipe using basic kitchen ingredients and dispense it using a reusable porcelain neti pot. Using an alternative dispenser already available in the home such as a drinking glass, measuring cup, or teapot is least wasteful but messier.

    SALINE SOLUTION RECIPE: Measure about 4 cups of water using a quart-sized storage jar. Pour into a saucepan, add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, cover and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. (I set the timer for 10 minutes and walk away.) Let cool to a comfortable temperature, pour into in the quart jar used for measuring and use irrigation device as directed. If the solution stings (usually only a problem when iodized salt is used), add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. (This how-to demonstration by YouTuber Dawn for Life may be helpful for first-timers.)  

Throat Symptoms.

  • Sore throat: Although scientific studies are lacking, gargling with saltwater is reported by many to reduce sore throat pain in the short term. The Mayo Clinic recommends gargling with a saline solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of warm water and then spitting it out. If that seems like to much work, research from the field of orofacial myofunctional therapy suggests breathing through the nose when possible can reduce sore throat pain and bad breath by preventing dehydration of tissues in the throat.

Chest Symptoms.

  • Cough: A study from Pennsylvania State University found the common ingredient used in most over-the-counter cough suppressants, dextromethorphan, to be less effective than honey in treating cough. Honey performed significantly better in reducing cough severity, frequency and the degree to which the cough was reported as “bothersome.” Honey dosages were 1/2 teaspoon for children 2 to 5 years of age, 1 teaspoon for 6 to 11 years of age and 2 teaspoons for participants 12+ years of age.

Head & Body Symptoms.

  • Fever: Cool baths naturally reduce fevers without the need for medications packaged in single-use blister packs or plastic pill bottles. Simply draw up a cool bath and get in. Cold sock therapy is another zero waste method. All that’s needed are two pairs of socks, one cotton and one wool. Dip the cotton socks in ice water, wring out and put on feet. Put the dry wool pair on over the wet socks. If doing cold sock therapy at bedtime, the socks can stay on the feet overnight until dry.

  • Headache & Chills: Freeze or microwave a reusable hot/cold pack. If you don’t already own one, try making one of these easy DIY reusable hot/cold pack options.

  • Dry, Chapped Skin & Lips: Soothe chapped skin using package-free ingredients. Always having basic moisturizing balm on hand makes moisturizing easy when feeling under the weather.

Honey performed significantly better in reducing cough severity, frequency and the degree to which the cough was reported as ‘bothersome.’


  • Zinc. Proven to reduce the duration of colds and severity of symptoms as well as reduce the number of colds per year, it works by preventing viruses from replicating in the body. When taken in large doses or applied inside the nose, zinc has caused irreparable nerve damage. For this reason, many medical professionals recommend caution when taking zinc.

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been studied for years as a possible preventative measure or treatment of colds but findings have been inconsistent and, overall, experts have found vitamin C to be of little to no benefit.

  • Essential Oils. Essential oils are growing in popularity. Although many find aromatherapy enjoyable and useful in other applications, the evidence for preventing cold and flu or minimizing symptoms are preliminary and sparse.

  • Steam Inhalation. The usual recommendation for inhaling steam involves leaning the head over a steaming pot of water. A review of six clinical trials in adults with the common cold had mixed results with some participants experiencing symptom relief and others not. Additionally, some participants experienced discomfort inside the nose. Others not associated with the study have suffered severe burns from pots tipping over. If the research is iffy and there is a chance of getting burned, we’re probably better off saving time and hassle by inhaling steam during a hot shower.


  • Antibiotics. It is widely known in the medical community that antibiotics have no beneficial effect on the common cold or flu AND actually increase the risk of adverse events.

  • Cough Syrup with Dextromethorphan. Read the treatment for cough above and consider using honey instead.

  • Immune-Boosting Supplements. Research is showing the benefit of fizzy supplements added to water claiming to boost the immune system are likely related to the hydration from the water, not the supplement its self. Using this logic, drinking water, bone broth or other caffeine-free drinks would have the same effect without creating as much waste.


Simple Actions for Earth Day

Every year around Earth Day, walls of elementary schools across the country become plastered with adorable artwork by children eager to spread the message about saving the planet. The solutions are mainly “pick up litter,” “recycle,” and “reduce, reuse, recycle.” When it comes to reducing waste, however, these solutions fail to address the problem: we don’t know how to produce less trash AND less recycling. We’ve been sold on the idea that disposable products are convenient. That they somehow make our lives easier because going back to the store over and over again to buy more and more is somehow easier than reusing something we already own.

This Earth Day try these simple actions to produce less trash and recycling.

Learn from litter. Putting litter in the trash only changes the location. When you pick up litter, learn what it is that you and others around you buy that contribute to our waste problem then think of less wasteful alternatives for those items.

Say “No, thank you.” Refuse what you don’t truly need whether it’s a shopping bag, produce bag, straw, freebie, gift with purchase, etc.

Use your own reusables. Avoid single-use disposables by using a container for your leftovers instead of a plastic baggie, bring your own mug to the coffee shop, pack your own silverware with your lunch,

Talk about trash. Every conversation is a nudge reminding others of our trash problem. Mention your shock about that garbage patch swirling in the ocean. Tell others about those straws you refuse. Talk about what you learn from that litter. Share what you do to reduce waste. Those conversations might spark another conversation and another and another and then finally...change.