Bulk bins and bring-your-own-bag-friendly stores are at the core of zero-waste living. But what if you don’t have the perfect co-op or a stunning package-free store in your neighborhood? Luckily, there are a bunch of online shops that can help you cut your waste and your environmental impact while still supporting small, independent business.
(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale’s The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)
But wait, what about the packaging problem that comes with having goods shipped right to your door? While shopping online isn’t the absolutely perfect solution in the quest to be waste-free—carbon emissions and packing materials among the main concerns—it can still help you prevent waste overall. A cloth napkin bought online will end up saving hundreds or thousands of its paper counterparts for example, and some of these companies even use refillable bottles than can be returned in prepaid envelopes. We’ve scoped out some of the businesses with the best zero-waste practices on the internet—and you can also rest assured that every shop here ships with 100 percent recyclable and/or compostable packaging unless otherwise stated.
Best shops for reusables
A handful of reusable products, like glass lunch containers, cloth napkins and kitchen towels, and handkerchiefs, can save you pounds of trash—and a good chunk of change—over the course of the year.
Package Free Shop
Package Free Shop is a great place to start to amassing your own collection of low-impact reusables. You’ll find an extensive selection including safety razors, unpackaged personal care items, stainless steel containers, plastic-free dish brushes, and joggers made from fabric scraps. The shop is also a great place to get ideas for easy zero-waste swaps. Bonus: Everything the shop carries was shipped to them without any plastic packaging.
Life Without Plastic
Long before zero waste was grabbing headlines, Life Without Plastic has been a key source for people looking for sustainable products that won’t end up in a landfill at the end of their life. The shop has a massive selection of everyday products and reusables that are all 100 percent plastic free.
Tiny Yellow Bungalow
Georgia-based Tiny Yellow Bungalow only sells items that the owner herself has tried and endorsed. From plastic-free water filters to a Mason jar pour-over coffee and tea kit, you can trust your purchase won’t disappoint.
With everything from handkerchiefs to produce bags to reusable face pads, Etsy is heaven for vintage and homemade zero-waste items. Just be sure to ask about packaging before you buy or request low waste packaging when you order.
(Instead of tossing that old milk jug, turn it into a DIY watering can. Instructions in the video below.)