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Minimalistic and waste free living are critically intertwined in your sustainable living goals. Zero waste stores play a very important role in this sustainability ecosystem.
But, before I talk more about zero waste stores, let me digress a bit with some amazing insights for you.
Do you know how much plastic do you eat in a day?
Yes, you read that right!
Believe it or not – On an average a person unknowingly ingests around 0.5-1 gram of plastic every day. That is roughly equal to consuming a credit card every week, according to this WWF report. Ewww!
Shocking, isn’t it?
Here’s some more food for thought (not plastic, though 🤮 ).
Do you know much plastic do you waste in a day?
Another study indicates that a person produces around 5 pounds of plastic waste every day on an average. Less than 1 pound of it gets recycled.
What about the rest? … well, it stays on the earth. FOREVER!
Take a look at this infographic that helps you dive deeper into the “perils of plastic pollution”
You might be wondering why am I talking about plastic when I was supposed to give you a list of zero waste stores.
Now that you know how dangerous plastic is, you’ll be in a better position to understand the importance of zero waste stores and their purpose.
So, let’s dive right in.
What is a Zero Waste Shop?
These stores sell sustainable and eco-friendly living products, ranging from groceries, body and bath products, kids and pet products, kitchen products, and even some technology products.
What sets them apart is the packaging they use for shipping and delivering. Zero waste stores do away completely with single use material like plastic. Instead, they ship products in used cartons and envelopes, cellulose and other recycled paper bags.
Retail stores in this category ask customers to bring their own shopping bags instead of providing one on check-out. They eliminate packaging completely.
Not only this, all the items in shelves are kept in non-plastic containers like glass or metal. Liquid items are also provided through dispensers. Now how cool is that!
Benefits of Zero Waste Stores
Help reduce the use of single-use plastic – Zero packaging for in-store deliveries, non-plastic containers on shelves, and non-plastic packaging during shipping contributes tremendously in reducing the plastic usage.
Buy as per your need – Traditional stores and grocery supermarkets have standard SKUs and packing sizes. You’ve to buy a minimum quantity even if you do not require that much. Here, you can choose to buy exact quantity as per your need.
Lays emphasis on bulk buying – By giving large discounts on bulk buying and annual commitments, they urge people to shop in bulk instead of making multiple rounds to the stores that add to the carbon footprint.
Encourages small communities and ethical production – Most of the products are sourced from local communities. A lot of these brands also ensure that the workers are paid fairly and the sourcing of raw materials is ethical.
Promotes healthy living – With their rich collection of vegan, organic and eco-friendly products, these stores push you towards a healthy and sustainable living that helps both you and the environment in the long run.
Difference Between Zero Waste and Package Free Shops
Technically, there’s a lot of overlap between the two terms though they are seemingly different.
An online store has to ship its product to their customers across the world. When they choose to use recycled and eco-friendly packing material, they essentially are waste free. However, they cannot become package free if they use packaging, right? Well, not completely!
Confused? Read on…
Physical stores, on the other hand can be both package free and waste free. A lot of stores ask their customers to walk in with their own carry bags. Moreover, there are no standard packagings and everything in the store is available as loose quantities. This is zero packaging literally.
However, there are products that require mandatory packaging and are done so in non-plastic, sustainable and compostable materials. This also counts as package free, though not in literal sense.
So to summarize, both physical and online retails stores can be waste free and package free.
Hint: Their websites have a dedicated page where they elaborate on their packaging practices.
Where Can I buy Without Plastic?
Here’s a list of carefully curated shops offering everything to satiate your sustainable shopping cravings.
Life Without Plastic is an initiative of founders Jay and Chantal in 2006. They’ve also published a book “Life Without Plastic” in 2017. Apart from that, they are launching new products in the market with the plastic free promise. Kickstarter Zerowaste Clean Lunch bag is one such product.
Life Without Plastic sells everything from living to bath essentials, bathing and kids’ product range. Started with glass and baby bottles, Life Without Plastic now has an impressive range of 450 + products.
They also have a unique offering called Subscription Box. They have different packages and subscription models. Only 50% of the products are revealed and rest arrive as a surprise.
Shop on Life Without Plastic.
EarthHero is a large online marketplace based in Boulder, Colorado. They strive to differentiate themselves by moving away from traditional commerce that hurts the environment. With better material, cleaner production and lower carbon footprint, the companies partnering with EarthHero work towards a common goal of a sustainable future.
EarthHero has a massive collection of eco-friendly products. Apart from that, outdoor clothing, pets and tech products are a nice add-on.
Ever thought of a compostable phone cover for your iPhone? You can actually buy a compostable iPhone case on Earth Hero.
Use Coupon Code GREENHUMANS10 for an additional 10% discount on most of the products on their website.
Shop on Earth Hero.
Based in Oregon, Well Earth Goods is a venture owned by Lee, Jocelynn and family. With this store, they support a minimalist waste-free lifestyle.
Scratch and Dent Discount Bin is an interesting offering on their site. This section contains used products that can still be used without investing in new.
Waste-Free CBD is one of their unique attraction points.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound from the hemp plant. It is known for supporting body and mind in several ways.
Well Earth Goods has a wide variety of products under the living, beauty, travel, pets, travel, and gifting sections. Shipping across the US is free.
You obviously need a large grocery bag to shop so much. Then, why not try their Organic Reusable Grocery Bag for that? Just for perspective, it’s a large sized bag (15”x12”x7”) and get an additional discount of 10% on the second bag if you add the code BOGOTOTE during checkout.
Shop on Well Earth Goods.
Eco Roots is a Colorado based brand with a mission to make a positive impact to the environment. They source eco-friendly and cruelty free products from different vendors including small businesses.
From bath and beauty to home and kitchen, they sell a variety of zero waste products and ships across USA. They also have a dedicated Holiday Gift Guide with a lot of gifting ideas in each category.
I’d personally recommend checking out their Orange Clove – Zero Waste Shampoo Bar.
You may get additional 5% off by entering your email address and receiving a special promo code.
Shop on Eco Roots.
California based Wild Minimalist is run by an eco conscious family passionate about reducing as much single use plastic as possible.
Wild Minimalist sends every shipping order in a plastic free packaging with free shipping. If you’re based in California, you can even visit their retail store in San Rafel. They sell a good variety of essentials – home, kitchen and bath.
If you’re looking for a zero waste kit collection, their Wood Cleaning Brush Kit is worth a look. The bristles have two options – horse hair or Tampico.
Shop on Wild Minimalist.
Sandee and her daughter Callie are co-founders of this local, family run business called No Tox Life. They focus largely on self-made products and some local brands as well.
No Tox Life provides a range of vegan body and home care products. Most products are hand-made, meaning no mass production and no fillers in the production process. Their entire product range is 100% vegan, which is a huge plus.
Do check out their popular trademark product Dish Block.
No Tox Life ships locally as well as internationally. Their no-plastic shipping materials include recycled paper, cellulose, used Amazon boxes among others.
Shop on No Tox Life.
If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you should not miss Ethical Bean. Founded by Lloyd and Kim in 2003, Ethical Bean lives upto its name by providing fair wages to the coffee farmers. The beans are also 100% fairtrade certified and organic.
What more. You can actually trace the origin of the coffee in your mug by simply scanning the unique QR code at the back of every Ethical Bean coffee pack.
Their coffee products range has both ground as well as whole bean varieties. If you love the dark side of coffee, check out their SuperDark French Roast range.
Shop on Ethical Bean Coffee.
Eco Collective is a Seattle based lifestyle store that provides both in-store and online shopping experiences. It’s a small women-owned business with Marimar, Genevieve and Summer as co-owners of the brand.
Their product range includes everyday items for home, personal care and lifestyle. Do check out their DIY containers range. You can save 10% on your first order by providing your email ID on the website.
They run a very interesting mason jar return program. The proceeds from this program go to an environmental org called Got Green.
Shop on Eco Collective.
Founded by a couple and their dog, Zerovana is a Texas based family owned small business.
Apart from kitchen products to everyday living and cleaning products, Zerovana also has few unique sections such as holiday gifting, picnic products and zero waste kits. Their reusable zero waste lunch kit is worth a mention.
Zerovana ships across the US in eco-friendly recycled packaging. A part of their profits to National Forests Foundation.
Shop on Zerovana.
Refering themselves as the Plastic Free Club, Etee is a US based zero waste online store.
Etee offers a generous 14-day free trial. It also has a 90-day returns policy. Etee has a variety of kitchen, personal care, gifting and laundry products. Moreover, it also sells non Etee brands at full price on their website.
Members enjoy upto 50% discounts on certain items. Check out their Dish Cleaning Kit that includes soap in a compostable pod, cellulose loofie + loofah and a soap dispenser pump.
Shop on Etee.
It is highly motivating to see so many businesses come up and work together in the journey towards a plastic-free world. As such communities grow bigger and stronger, the earth heaves a sigh of relief.
Now that you’re spoilt with choices, what’s stopping you from diving into the world of sustainability right away?
We are super excited to support such initiatives. We urge you to spread the word about this handy list.
Do you know about any other online stores that are zero-waste and missing here? Let us know in the comments and we will keep adding the promising ones to this list.