What if you don’t have a bulk/refill store near you?

What if you don't have a refill store near you?

What if you don’t have a bulk or refill store near you? It’s a common question when trying to go zero waste and such an important topic to explore. For those in certain areas, refill stores are nowhere to be found. I get it!

For various reasons, we need to provide solutions. I’ve attempted to give a variety of suggestions, but please don’t feel overwhelmed by them. Not everything is possible for every person—that’s okay. Consider this a “tasting menu” if you will: choose one or two things to try, and then possibly move on to more.

I know there are lots of other suggestions I haven’t included and I’d love to hear from you! What have I forgotten?

Do your best with what you have

  • Many grocery stores have package-free produce and bulk sections.
  • Visit farmers’ markets, or look up community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs near you.
  • Choose glass, metal, or cardboard packaging that can be reused or recycled.
  • If you need to choose plastic, try to choose those that are more easily recycled: #1 and #2.
  • Choose larger packages and avoid individually wrapped items.
  • Buy some products online (such as shampoo bottles).
  • Grow your own food.
  • Do some DIYs and homemade options (such as hummus or muffins).

Do good in other ways

  • Eat less meat and dairy.
  • Choose reusable period products.
  • Bring your own bags, straws, cutlery, takeout containers, travel mug, and water bottle.
  • Use reusables at home, such as cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, reusable food wraps, and rags instead of paper towels.
  • Drive less.
  • Reduce food waste, and compost.
  • Donate to nonprofit organizations.
  • Volunteer.
  • Write companies to ask for better packaging (or no packaging at all).
  • Follow politics, and speak out when you feel strongly, such as by writing your MPs.

Make other ethical purchasing decisions

  • Buy secondhand.
  • Buy from local craftspeople and artisans.
  • Avoid palm oil (which is creating deforestation and habitat loss).
  • Support organic and/or regenerative agriculture, which helps soil health and biodiversity.
  • Choose certified Fair Trade products.


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