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Finding stores where you're able to purchase food and household staples without packaging can be a challenge. For me, the hunt for zero waste friendly groceries took ingenuity, time, and persistence. These days I know where I can find almost everything I need - produce, olive oil, almond butter, soap, and even kombucha - in bulk; it was a treasure hunt that was sometimes fun, other times frustrating. I've compiled a list of stores throughout the country that will allow you to purchase unpackaged staples in your own containers. You can use this list to help you find bulk goods while traveling, or if you're just starting your transition to a zero waste lifestyle.
All of the stores on my list allow or encourage you to bring your own bulk bags, jars, or containers. I've focused on smaller, locally owned grocery stores and co-ops because in my experience they're more likely to welcome containers brought from home. But, it's possible that a larger store near you will allow you to fill your own containers at their bulk section, too - try Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, or Mrs. Green's stores close to your home. Finally, if there isn't a bulk aisle in your area, my friend Kathryn has written up some tips for still keeping your grocery shopping as low-impact as possible: you can find them here. And, if you're new to bulk grocery shopping, here's a quick how-to guide to get you started (it's easy!).