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How To Shop Consciously In Pennsylvania

8 Zero Waste Grocery Stores to Check Out ASAP

Even though grocery stores are a necessity, they are one of the largest producers of waste in the world. There are no doubts that the use of plastic bags is a harm to the environment, but not a lot of people realize that a lot of the products sold at grocery stores produce waste. According to a recent study, 43 billion pounds of food is thrown away by grocery stores every year, and 10% of that food waste is produced by the United States. Therefore, some of the biggest problems with regular grocery stores is that everything from the packaging of products to the amount of products in shelves count towards the creation of waste. 

The best part about the world that we live in is that more people are becoming aware of the importance of diminishing their waste footprint, and this is why the zero waste trend is growing and showing that it is here to stay! If you are wondering if it is possible to acquire your groceries in a sustainable and eco-friendly way, I would like to introduce you to zero waste grocery stores. However, before you think that there are no zero waste grocery stores near you, we have compiled a list of 8 Pennsylvania based zero waste grocery stores so that you can shop consciously and help save the environment! 

Zero waste grocery store shelves filled with jars
Grocery shopping made ethical and simple: zero waste grocery stores. Image courtesy of Pexels

1. Whole Foods

Even though Whole Foods is a big grocery store chain, it differs from other grocery stores such as Walmart and Giant Eagle due to its promise to the environment, to the local and global communities, and the satisfaction of the consumer. Even if Whole foods is not completely zero waste, it is the proof that it is possible for big grocery chains to adhere to an ethical and eco-friendly approach

Most Whole Foods stores offer a bulk option where you can bring your own containers to fill up and you can use your own containers to shop for meat and cheese as well. One of the best things about Whole Foods is that most of their produce is unpackaged and they offer several bar options where you can choose exactly how much you need of certain products such as coffee, olives, and even smoothies. At Whole Foods, you can purchase your own shopping bags or you can bring your own, either way you will be making a difference. 

2. East End Food Co-op

East End Food Co-op is a Pittsburgh, PA based zero waste grocery store that will forever change the way that you do grocery shopping. At this store, you will be able to shop for fresh, local, and organic goods which help the environment and the local community. East End Food Co-op is a cooperative where each owner and each member work together under the same guiding principles and the economic results are shared by all of them. 

At East End Food Co-op they believe in finding creative and alternative ways to change the future. Therefore, they offer products which are locally and ethically sourced and they redistribute and donate food to those in need. At East End Food Co-op, you are capable of bulk shopping basically anything such as coffee, nuts, oil, flour, mushrooms, and many more. This is the type of small business which deserves love and attention for their ethics, quality, and sustainability. 

3. Nature’s Way

Nature’s Way is a zero waste grocery store based in Easton, PA. They believe that they have a duty to the environment, their community, and themselves to offer products which are ethically, sustainably, and locally sourced whenever it is possible. At Nature’s Way, they do everything they can to help their customers achieve a holistic lifestyle which is better for them and for the environment. Even though this is a small business, this allows them to remain transparent and personable in order to make your experience at their store even more enjoyable. 

At Nature’s Way, you will be able to find dietary supplements, vitamins, and to shop for fresh juices and smoothies. Like many zero waste grocery stores, they also offer the option to shop for nuts, seeds, dried fruits, nuts, spices, and more at the bulk. They offer a variety of organic, vegan, and gluten free options as well! This is the perfect place for anyone looking for a minimalist lifestyle. 

Sustainable shopping bag filled with peaches
Shop consciously by adhering to zero waste grocery stores. Image courtesy of Pexels

4. Essene

For over forty years, Essene has been functioning as a zero waste market and cafe in Philadelphia, PA. They pride themselves in supporting organically and locally grown products, as well as the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Everything at their cafe is made at their store and they do not use any external sources in order to produce their baked goods and even their coffee. Therefore, Essene believes in the importance of sustainability and ethically sourced goods of all kinds. 

At Essene, you will be able to find refillable products such as detergent, which is an innovative approach to the waste management of detergent packaging. Most of their produce is unpackaged and you are able to find a small, but diverse, selection of goods to purchase in bulk. Essene is the perfect place to purchase your groceries and have a snack

5. The Healthy Grocer

The Healthy Grocer is the proof that zero waste grocery stores are more than just no packaging, bulk shopping, and no plastic bags: they are about supporting the local community, local farmers and their families, and even the land. Therefore, located at Camp Hill, PA, the Healthy Grocer has a promise to not only to the environment, but also to the people. They even have their own community service program, and every month they highlight different brands which are giving back to the environment and their own communities. 

At the Healthy Grocer, they offer bakery goods, dietary supplements, and even zero waste cleaning supplies! Like many zero waste grocery stores, you have the opportunity to shop by the bulk, to bring your own shopping bags, and find quality organic products. Being sustainable has never been so easy. 

6. Save The Bees Sola Boutique

Located at Milford, PA, Save the Bees Sola Boutique is more than just a zero waste grocery store: if you are the type of person who likes to purchase home and beauty products all in one place, this is the right place for you. At Save the Bees Sola Boutique, you can bring your own container to fill with organic cleaning, beauty, and personal care products that are one of a kind. You can also find beautifully crafted bouquets to decorate your house or to give as a gift to someone that you love. 

At Save the Bees Sola Boutique, you will find customizable eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical products. Moreover, at this store you will be able to shop for zero waste toothbrushes, soaps, toilet paper, scrubs, and much more. The best part? Is that you can bring your own container for bulk shopping. 

A person bulk shopping
Shop locally and ethically. Image courtesy of Pexels

7. Mariposa 

Mariposa is a co-op zero waste grocery store located in West Philadelphia. At Mariposa, you can shop with reusable bags whether you bring your own or you buy it there, you will not be finding any plastic bags as they even have a variety of cute eco bags to choose from! You can shop products to help you to continue your zero waste life beyond the grocery store, and you can even bring your used milk bottle! 

At Mariposa, you will be able to find a variety of sustainable, ethically sourced, and organic products to facilitate your health and ease any weight on your consciousness about living too much of a footprint in the environment. Mariposa is the right place to find a good selection of and quality local products.

8. MOM’s Organic Market

MOM’s Organic Market is a zero waste grocery store which can be found in multiple locations around Pennsylvania. Everything about MOM’s Organic Market screams zero waste as their stores are built using sustainable construction materials and they try to do everything from offering locations to charge your electric car, reducing reliance on plastic, conserving energy, and many more. Therefore, they believe in the importance of being grateful, rising by lifting others, encouraging others to grow, and remembering your purpose. 

At MOM’s Organic Market you are able to find organic products, home compost bins, bulk grains, sustainable food, and even organic clothing. They are a sustainable, eco-friendly, and ethically sourced grocery store which lives up to its values

Even though there is still a long way to go, Pennsylvania has proved to have a variety of zero waste grocery stores which prove that it is possible to shop locally, ethically, and sustainably. Do not be afraid to visit at least once a zero waste grocery store just to see for yourself that it is actually possible to go grocery shopping without causing a negative impact on the environment. The more attention is given to zero waste grocery stores, the more chance they have to thrive and cause an impact in society.

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Camila do Nascimento

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