After years of living zero waste, I’m not a big shopper. So I turned to my Instagram followers and asked them to help me answer: what’s the best zero waste store?
Because it’s a question I get a lot and I wanted some great stores to point people away from places like Am*zon.
Of course, all this goes without saying that zero waste is far more than just making a few zero waste swaps. Resist the urge to buy something new for at least 30 days – if you decide you still need it after that, make the purchase. Or consider shopping second-hand, first!
All that to say, if/when you decide to buy something new, support these zero waste stores trying their best to source ethical, sustainable products. Trust they’ve been vetted by a pretty great group of folks!
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Why support zero waste stores?
It can be tempting – especially when you’re strapped for cash or at the start of your zero waste explorations – to just purchase a whole bunch of products from Amazon, be done with it, and live an idealized zero waste life from then forward.
Ha! Definitely not how it works. (Also, Amazon is the worst if you missed the news.)
So what better way to honor your new journey than by saying no to the old style of shopping and instead embracing companies that actually give a f*ck about something more than profit?
As someone pretty firmly in the anti-capitalist camp, I hate the phrase “we vote with our dollars”. But it’s true. You support who you give money to.
I, for one, would prefer to spend at these passion-driven, often women-owned businesses rather than give another penny to an exploitative, unethical, unsustainable jerk like Jeff Bezos.
And on that note, let’s jump in! Here are the top eight zero waste stores my followers recommended, ranked in order by most mentioned:
Some of these are affiliate links, which means when you buy something I will earn a small commission at no cost to you!
1. EarthHero (online)
EarthHero is a one-stop-shop for all of the typical zero waste items you might eventually need. (After carefully thinking on whether it’s necessary, obviously.) While they ship all over, be aware their warehouse is located in Colorado.
I’ve actually worked with EarthHero before so I’m happy that my audience has good experiences with them! Check out the post, if you’d like: Save your brain space with minimal zero waste makeup.
2. Etsy (global/online)
Etsy is an absolute treasure-trove of small makers and just typing in the search term “zero waste” is enough to feel overwhelmed. Definitely narrow it down by location, so you can reduce the carbon footprint of all the products traveling your way.
Specific zero waste stores mentioned:
- Spruce and Pine Co (Maine) – simple reusable zero waste kits.
- KjNaturals (North Carolina) – organic soap and haircare products.
3. BYO Long Beach (CA/online)
A perennial favorite, BYO Long Beach has a huge array of refill options for local customers! (And they’ve done so well they’ve got two locations in – you guessed it – Long Beach.)
Liquid laundry detergent, vinegar, castile, shampoo, body wash, witch hazel, powders, clays, waxes… the list literally goes on and on! I don’t think I’ve ever seen another zero waste store so well-stocked. The shop also sells all the containers, textiles, and home goods you might ever want.
4. Green Life Trading Co. (WI/online)
Green Life Trading Co. is a small company truly dedicated to sustainability. They sell not only the products you might need to live a more zero waste life, but the education and resources needed to deepen your understanding of living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Wares include BYOC refills for local customers (and paper/refill pouches for online customers) along with items to help your day-to-day life a little less wasteful. Since they’ve started, their product line has increased significantly so it’s worth keeping an eye on the site to see what’s new.
5. ZERO Market (CO/online)
ZERO market was created out of necessity: a low-waste store simply didn’t exist in the area. After a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2014, they began to operate pop-up style before finding their permanent location in 2017.
ZERO Market sells a range of items from hygiene and toiletries to cleaning products to bulk herbs/tea. If you live in Aurora, CO, you can BYO container and fill them up with bulk local and sustainable goods, but online ordering is also an option.
6. Hippie Haven (SD/online)
Hippie Haven is the physical shop of Bestowed Essentials, a low-waste soap company. While it mostly focus on products made in-house (soap, hair care, etc.), the shop also offers the traditional range of zero waste swaps you might need by companies you’d trust. Like the site says, “we’ve done the work for you so that you can shop in good conscience, even if you have a tight budget.”
7. Tiny Yellow Bungalow (online)
Tiny Yellow Bungalow is one of the OG zero waste shops I personally remember floating around the internet. Run by a zero waste blogger, the shop offers a full range of zero waste swaps. I’m also a big fan of the vintage/second-hand section that’s full of more unique items.
The one caveat I’ll offer for this shop is that – unlike most of the others – they don’t share any real story behind themselves or the products. I wish we knew if they carbon offset, their sourcing methods, their stance on political/social issues. (After all… zero waste is more than a plastic bag!)
8. Tare Market (MN/online)
I’ve got to rep another Midwestern company here. Tare Market wants to “change the status quo on our throw-away culture, educate people on how to live more sustainably, and provide resources for everyone to make simple changes to their lifestyles that can positively impact our planet.” They do that by sharing physical products and educational resources side-by-side in their physical location.
Of course there are far more zero waste stores in the world, but these are the ones voted best-in-show by my friends on Instagram! If you’ve had a great experience with a zero waste store – either IRL or online – please share in the comments below!