As a marine biologist, Brianne Miller knows all too well the threat that plastic poses to ocean health and aquatic animals. Feeling discouraged by the amount of packaging and plastic generated from her visits to the grocery store, she decided to open her own zero-waste grocery store in Vancouver. The result, Nada, opens this Wednesday June 20th.  From demolition to construction, Brianne and her team shared how they created Nada with as little waste as possible, by making a conscious effort to choose the most sustainable option at each step of the way.

 Did you know that food wrappers were the 4th most common item found by the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in 2017?

Demolition & Construction

When homes or businesses are demolished, perfectly good construction materials are often sent to landfill rather than being reused. Instead, Nada salvaged nearly new materials from the deconstruction process, such as steel studs, insulation, and drywall. Although this is not yet common practice, new companies focused on energy efficient and healthy buildings, such as Naturally Crafted, are aiming to make this process more accessible and affordable.

Materials were recovered from deconstruction and used as building blocks for Nada’s construction. Photo courtesy of Nada.


To ensure the store’s design was as “green” as possible, Nada connected with fantastic architects to create a building that met both LEED and ASHRAE standards. These accreditations ensure that a building uses less energy, water, resources, and generates less waste. Their architectural team also gave the Nada team the flexibility to adjust design plans to accommodate fixtures or equipment they found second hand.


When it came to furnishing the store, Nada considered every other option before purchasing something new. In almost every case, they were able to reduce, reuse, recycle or rethink store furnishings. This meant finding someone who was giving the item away, or purchasing it second hand, or using reclaimed materials.

  • Giveaways: Members of the community donated numerous items from dishcloths to bar stools to plant holders and more. Remember: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
  • Second-hand finds: Just as Sears announced nationwide store closures, Brianne Miller purchased the department store’s track lighting, shelving, front of house fixtures, wet floor signs, and even a Roomba!
  • Reclaimed materials: All of the millwork in the new shop are made from reclaimed wood. Thanks to the Woodshop Coop and Hives for Humanity, the shelving and tare stations at Nada are made from old bed frames and box springs.

Reclaimed wood from old bedframes is given a new life in zero-waste grocery store, Nada. Photo courtesy of Woodshop Coop.

From concept to construction, Nada is great example of how you can embed the five R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot) into a project and create less waste. As an eco-friendly company, Nada is offering a zero-waste alternative to the typical grocery-shopping experience by helping you fill your cupboards, without single-use packaging.

Take your impact one step further and stop food packaging from entering our waterways by joining Nada for a shoreline cleanup this July or lead your own at
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation partnership by Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups. Find out more at


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One Response

  1. Margot

    I’m impressed. I wish there were such a thing here. Good luck and when I’m in Vancouver next summer I will visit your store.
    Margot Roberts


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