Think about the takeaway coffee cup that you dispose of once (maybe even twice or thrice) everyday. Now, think about the packaging castaways from your online purchases. Think again about the amount of waste a single individual like yourself must be generating on a daily basis. It’s HUGE right? Never thought that way, did you?
Now think about the impact a small google search like ‘zero waste shop Chicago,’ ‘no waste store Chicago,’ or ‘zero waste grocery store Chicago’ can have! It can change your mindset, and give you some amazing suggestions for zero waste stores in Chicago.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that an average American is responsible for casting out 4.9 pounds of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to the landfill every day. Now you have a number from the year 2018, but then what? Numbers don’t bring change; actions do!
Fret not Chicagoans! We got you covered. Through this article we aim to help you make your consumption waste free, sustainable and environment friendly by listing out some general stores, grocery stores, restaurants and shops that follow zero waste practices and help you be the change that the world requires.
Best Zero Waste Stores in Chicago
What Are Zero Waste Stores?
Going by the name, zero waste stores are an effort on the part of the seller to sell goods with reusable packaging, eliminating the use of one time plastic packaging, introducing reusable alternative packaging materials and in short, avoiding all kinds of resource wastage as much as possible so that the no harmful waste is produced. Similarly, buyers also commit to consuming products that don’t make use of one time plastic packaging and reuse what they already have so that waste generation could equal zero.
The concept of zero waste stores in Chicago is simple. They either offer refills from open bulks so that the empty containers (that would otherwise be considered waste) could be put to good re-use; or they offer sustainable and reusable alternatives for the same products. Zero waste stores are an important presence to remind us that although recycling is important, reducing and reusing are also important steps towards a healthy planet.
What Are Zero Waste Practices?
The key to no waste is minimalism and natural living. Reducing our consumption and redefining our “enough” is the first step in the ladder of change. By cutting out our excesses we are saving thousands of resources everyday and zero waste stores teach us how to achieve that. When we opt to keep an eye on our consumption we are willingly reducing and reusing, thus, enabling change. Zero Waste practices are a framework that include all such measures that can lead to reduction of waste.
Why Do We Need Zero Waste Stores?
Kathryn Kellogg in her book “101 Ways To Go Zero Waste” remarks how in today’s world we shop as per our “convenience” which has resulted in drastic data like plastic bags being used for only 15 minutes on an average and a piece of clothing being worn only 7 times before it is discarded. We are producing and consuming more than we would ever need which has led to generation of waste in excessive amounts with no way to dispose it off.
Most of our trash that’s dumped at landfills isn’t even degradable. Other times, the plastic and metallic waste can release harmful substances that seep through the soil and reach our oceans, thus worsening the situation. The solution then, is not to find ways of disposing of waste or recycling, but to also work on reducing our usage and reusing the articles that can be reused. Zero Waste stores heard that call before we could even wake up and that’s exactly why we need them!
Not from Chicago?
Check out our favorite lists of:
- Zero Waste Stores in Denver, Colorado
- Zero Waste Stores in Seattle, Washington
- Zero Waste Stores in Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Zero Waste Stores in Portland
Zero Waste Stores In Chicago
Now that we have established the need and purpose of zero waste stores in Chicago, let’s jump at the options Chicagoans have to shop sustainably and responsibly the next time they go grocery shopping!
1. Zero Waste Chicago
Zero Waste Chicago is an online store cum consultancy service where not only can you buy reusable and compostable articles for daily use, but you can also approach them for services that enable behavioral change and help you in learning zero waste practices.
They offer local resources that can help others make sustainable changes in their lifestyle, thus, making way for a zero waste life. These services are offered to all individuals, businesses, and even municipalities. They even help you make DIY compost at home! All you have to do is contact them.
- Store Address: No physical location
- Contact at: email@example.com
Zefiro’s products range from cleaning products and kitchen supplies to health, beauty and even pet essentials that one might need. Being one of the diverse Chicago zero waste stores, Zefiro offers its products both locally and online. There are a number of local stores where Zefiro products are available. You can check for the nearest store here. Those of you who like online shopping can buy them here.
Does Zefiro offer zero waste cleaning products? Yes, Zefiro has a wide range of cleaning supplies for your kitchen and home. They also offer a variety of zero waste toiletries for personal use like toothbrushes, cotton earbuds, soap dishes, etc.
- Store Address: You can buy Zefiro products at all these addresses
- Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Based out of the Chicago suburbs, Hummingbee is an online zero waste shop where you can find plastic free and vegan products not only for your personal care but also for your pets and home. You can also buy eco-friendly alternatives for small items of daily necessity like candles, lighters, stickers, hats, etc. What’s more, they sell a range of zero waste products for personal hygiene like articles for menstrual care, hair care, skin and dental care, etc. They sure have a variety to choose from!
- Store Address: Online store
- Contact at: Chat with them here
4. E.E. Mercantile and Co.
They are a Chicago based animal friendly, pet friendly, and human friendly zero waste general store that provide a range of items for daily use. They also deliver locally and offer cards and stationery articles. You can find their store location by clicking here.
- Store Address: 1948 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60622, United States
- Store Hours: Mon 12pm-7pm; Tue 12pm-7pm; Wed 12pm-7pm; Thu 12pm-7pm; Fri 12pm-7pm; Sat 11am-6pm; Sun 12pm-5pm
- Contact at: email@example.com
Another among the list of Chicago’s zero waste stores is Tinyshop. They offer local and organic products at their store and claim that Tinyshop is “eensie, the waste is weensie, + the customer’s impact teenie-tiny.” They sell products that can’t be easily found at the bulk grocery stores and thus support local agriculture minus the waste. Read more about Tinyshop in this amazing article by Block Club Chicago.
- Store Address: 2659 W. Armmitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
- Contact at: Email them here.
6. Eco & The Flamingo
Eco & The Flamingo opened in the year 2020 and claims to be the very first zero waste general store of Chicago. This store is a women owned enterprise that strives to sell cruelty free and sustainable products ranging from coffee, tea, health care products, gifts, dry food, etc. They offer refills to minimise packaging waste and maintain a sanitary bulk section. In an interview with F(earth)er Magazine, reveals how they maintain their store!
- Store Address: 4750 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60625, United States
- Store Hours: Mon 11am–7pm; Tue 9am–7pm; Wed 11am–7pm; Thu 11am–7pm; Fri 11am–7pm; Sat 10am–7pm; Sun 10am–7pm.
- Phone Number: +1 773-942-6892
7. Dill Pickle Food Co-op
Dill Pickle is one of those places where you can carry your own jar and ask for a refill from their bulk section. It is one of those zero waste stores in Chicago that are community owned by the Logan Square Community. Thus, not only are they environment friendly, but also community friendly, allowing the profits from the grocery story to be redistributed among the community owners.
- Store Address: 2746 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, United States
- Store Hours: Mon to Sun 8am–9pm
- Phone Number: +1 773-252-2667
8. Whiner Beer Co.
Owned by Brian Taylor, who also happens to be the brewmaster, Whiner Beer is brewery cum bar located in “The Plant”, which is a net-zero energy business incubator, thus enabling sustainable and responsible brewing. Whiner has amazing beers and a tap room. It is also famous for organising frequent events. What’s more, spent grains in Whiner’s digester are used for generating energy for the whole building.
- Store Address: 1400 W 46th St, Chicago, IL 60609, United States
- Store Hours: Thu and Fri 4–11pm; Sat 12–11pm; Sun 1–8pm
- Phone Number: +1 773-475-6189
The majority of plastic disposable bags have the disadvantage of being impossible to recycle. So, what should be done if recycling is not the answer to sustainability? Reusing and reducing our daily consumption is the perfect solution. Remember that your sustainable shopping cart is solely dependent upon a zero waste store near you! Are you a Chicagoan and have more suggestions that can fit right into this list? Do let us know by commenting down below!