city guide: atlanta.

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Next up in the series of city guides - tips for zero waste locales in places around the country - is Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of reader Casey. Below, a few of her favorite places in her city.

DO

-Atlanta Beltline: Birthed under the motto “Where Atlanta Comes Together”, the Atlanta Beltline is a path that repurposed the cities old railways to be paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Its currently still being built, but stretches a long distance in and around the neighborhoods on Atlanta’s east side. The path is lined with always-changing art installations and leads to many of the city's hot spots including Ponce City Market, Krog Street Market, and Piedmont Park. Rent a bike at Beltline Bicycle and explore a little bit!

-Piedmont Park: One of the largest green spaces in Atlanta, Piedmont park is usually the host to Atlanta’s best events including Music Midtown, Atlanta Jazz Festival, and the weekly farmers market. When there are no events on the calendar, Piedmont is the perfect place for a day outside. Sit by the pond and watch the birds, walk or bike that path through the park, bring a picnic, spend a day at the pool, or bring your furry friend to the dog park. There is always something going on and the people watching is incredible.

-Sweetwater Creek State Park: Just 20 minutes outside the city, this park offers wonderful hiking trails that are by a beautiful creek. Its the perfect summer get away to spend some time out in nature. Just so you all know, a parking pass is $5.

-Ponce City Market: The market is home to a ton of great boutique stores and locally owned restaurants. Citizen Supply is one of the boutiques at the market and is an artisan marketplace which gives independent companies and small batch makers a brick and mortar store to sell their goods. Alternative Apparel also has a store at the market and they are known for their ethical standards and impeccable quality clothing. 

-Wander: Two of my favorite neighborhoods to wander through are Candler Park (check out Paper Ghost Studio, Dr. Bombays, and the Indie Craft Experience pop up), and Little Five Points (check out Rag-O-Rama and Clothing Warehouse for second hand clothing, and Sevenanda for bulk groceries).

EAT

-Homegrown: The perfect southern breakfast. They also have a wonderful lunch too. Its all the comfort food just like mom used to make. There’s usually a wait, but it is worth it. My favorite dish is their famous Comfy Chicken Biscuit. Be sure to bring a jar for leftovers and your own cloth napkin. Though they don’t offer reusable napkins or takeout boxes, the food is locally grown and its a local favorite.

-Radial Cafe: A breakfast/lunch spot in Candler Park known for its small carbon footprint. All of their takeout boxes and cups are plant-based, and 80% of their waste is composted to go back to Georgia farmers or recycled. 

-Soul Vegetarian No. 2: The second of a great vegetarian restaurant. With reusable napkins and all vegan options, this is one of the must-eat-at stops in Atlanta. The food takes a little bit to be made, but its all fresh. They make their own meat alternative called Kalebone made from wheat-gluten and all natural spices. Be sure to save room for desert! Their vegan ice cream is just as delicious as their food!

-Krog Street Market: The market is FULL of delicious food! Here are my favorites: Jeni’s Splendid Ice-cream (homemade ice cream from Columbus, OH), Superica (AMAZING Mexican dishes!!! Its fancy and a little pricy, but it is delicious), Fred’s Meat and Bread (a yummy sandwich shop for meat eaters. They’ve got an awesome burger too! Their bread is made fresh daily which makes for a wonderful sandwich), and Yalla (modern Middle Eastern food with lots of vegetarian options). If you’re eating at the market, bring a napkin and utensils. Its not always guaranteed that the different spots will have reusable things, but the food is so fresh and good that its worth bringing some from home. Also, if you want a drink, HOP City serves local brews and wines to be paired with your food. Want to take some home? Bring a growler and fill her up at their market store. 

STAY ZERO WASTE

-Grocery Shopping: Sevenanda is the BIGGEST bulk retailer in the southeast and is a functioning co-op with lots of member benefits. The staff is extremely helpful and loves zero waste shoppers! Fresh Harvest is another great resource for zero wasters. This food delivery service delivers their locally grown produce and locally made products every week or every other week depending on your preferences. You can request that nothing get wrapped in plastic and that no stickers or rubber bands are used in the packaging of your delivery. They deliver all of their baskets in reusable totes with reusable icepacks. If you’re looking to pick out your own produce, there are farmers markets all over the city at all different times of the week. In a giving mood? Check out the Atlanta Food Swap to trade home grown or homemade items for other local food items. Some things come wrapped in plastic, so bring your own containers for a zero waste swap. For farm fresh meats, check out Spotted Trotter in two locations within the city. All of their meats are sustainably sourced and are raised locally. When in doubt, there is always our local Whole Foods on Ponce De Leon, which just got a MAJOR renovation and now has a kick butt bulk section not only in their produce department but also in their beauty department too! 

-Compost: There are a few options to compost in Atlanta. You can collect your compost at home and have it picked up every week or every other week by Compost Wheels, or you can collect compost yourself and drop off at the Wylde Center in Decatur or any of their community gardens around Atlanta. 

-Shopping: For second hand clothing check out Rag-O-Rama, Buffalo Exchange, Clothing Warehouse, or Lucky Exchange. For ethical shopping to support small and local business check out Citizen Supply (a small boutique at Ponce City Market with various products ranging from apparel to home goods - all of it is local or from small independent companies who hand craft their goods or ethically and sustainably source them), The Beehive (a collective boutique for clothing, accessories and more by local artists), or HomeGrown Decatur (another collective boutique known for fun and eclectic finds)

Thanks so much for sharing, Casey! Photographs via Citizen Supply. Readers, if you have a city you love and would like to share, I'd love to feature your city guide. Send me an email or leave me a comment! More city guides, here.