Zero Waste Shops in the United States and Guide to Shopping Unpackaged

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Zero Waste Shops are opening up all over the USA! Dozens have opened in the past couple of years and others are in the works right now.

A majority of food at grocery stores today is wrapped in plastic packaging. Millions of people are waking up to the toll this is taking on our earth, our fellow species and our society as a whole. Some of those people have been inspired enough to open shops that are dedicated to offering food with no plastic packaging at all. These shops have hundreds of unpackaged foods to choose from – legumes, flours, dried fruits, nuts, teas, herbs, spices, coffees, pasta and more. They often also carry liquids such as oils, vinegar, wine, condiments and kombucha as well as machines to grind your own almond butter and peanut butter. Many offer nonfood items including personal hygiene items and cleaning products such as soap and laundry detergent. Also, they carry many tools to help people live zero waste whether at home, work, school or on the go. 

Zero waste shops may be a new concept, but the philosophy and actions behind them have long been in existence. Just decades ago, all food was unpackaged or packaged in biodegradable paper and fibers. But we aren’t living in the past and that has made the necessity for zero waste shops. The founders of these shops don’t do it just for the act of serving the unpackaged food. It is an act of resistance against a wasteful system and comes from a deep desire to change the system. Zero waste shops serve as much as a form of activism as they do a grocery store in themselves. They exist to educate people and show that another way is possible. They exist to create a story that the media can pick up to report on the problems with our destructive systems and help the viewers realize that another way is possible.

Food co-ops have existed for over five decades in the United States and thousands of them exist. With extensive bulk food sections and unpackaged produce, they carry much of what these zero waste shops carry and often even more. And many mainstream grocery stores are installing large bulk-food sections as demand increases, while others have had them for a long time. Between food co-ops, supermarkets with bulk sections, farmers markets and buying clubs there are many options to buy package-free food.

To find a store with package-free options check out the Bulk Finder App on ZeroWasteHome.com. This is the best tool that we know of to find bulk shopping options across the country. You can use this Coop Directory Service to find a food coop near you. And you can use the directory and map on localharvest.org to find thousands of farmers’ markets across the USA.

Below we have made a list of all the Zero Waste Shops we could find in the United States as of early 2020. We have done this to celebrate the movement, support them, and help you find one near you. If you’ve never been to a zero waste shop, be prepared for a real treat!

With only a couple or few dozen full-fledged zero waste shops currently in the USA (as of April 2020) you may not have one near you but keep them in mind for your next trip.

Alaska, Anchorage – Blue Market AK@bluemarketak
California, Albany – Fillgood.co@fillgood.co
California, Encinitas – The Nada Shop@thenadashop
California, Long Beach – BYO Longbeach@byolongbeach
California, Los Angeles – Sustain LA@sustain_la
California, Los Angeles – Otherwild@otherwild
California, Los Angeles – Wild Terra@wildterra.la
California, Nevada City – Gaia Soap Supply@soap_nevadacity
California, Oceanside – Sonora Refillery@sonorarefillery
California, Sacramento – Refill Madness@refillmadness
California, San Jose – The Source Zero@thesourcezero
California, San Mateo – Byrd’s Filling Station@byrdsfillingstation
Colorado, Aurora – Zero Market@thezeromarket
Colorado, Boulder – Refill Revolution@therefillrevolution
Florida, Fort Myers – Conscious Space@shopconsciousspace
Florida, Miami – Verde@verde_market
Florida, St. Petersburg – The Refillery@the.refillery
Florida, Stuart – JAR@jarzerowasteshop
Florida, Tequesta – One World Zero Waste@oneworldzerowaste
Florida, Winter Park – New General Store@commongoodandco
Idaho, Boise – Roots Zero Waste Market@rootszerowastemarket
Michigan, Kalamazoo – Bee Joyful Shop@beejoyfulshop
Minneapolis, Minnesota –  Tare Market – @taremarket
Nebraska, Omaha – Exist Green@exist_green
New York, Brooklyn – Package Free@packagefreeshop
New York, New York City – Precycle@precyclenyc
New York, New York City – Otherwild@otherwild
Oregon, Portland – NoPac Foods – Zero Waste Grocery
Oregon, Portland – Utility@utilityzerowaste
Tennessee, Nashville – The Good Fill@thegoodfill
Utah, Salt Lake City – Hello! Bulk Markets@hellobulkmarkets
Virginia, Harrisonburg – Bring Your Own@bringyourown_llc
Washington, Seattle – Scoop Marketplace@scoopmarketplace

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