The 9 Best Zero Waste Stores In Chicago

Let’s chat about the windy city, AKA Chicago! Best known for deep dish pizza, amazing architecture, and some fantastic museums… but did you know Chicago also has some of the best zero waste stores? Hear me out! Whether you are on the hunt for grocery items like produce and dry goods, or cleaning and beauty items like natural shampoo and zero waste makeup, you can really find it all in this city. So let's jump into zero waste stores Chicago style!

What is a zero waste shop?

Zero waste shops (which can be either online, in person, or both) offer different kinds of products that are reusable, refillable, recyclable, or returnable. Products that zero waste shops carry vary in quality, category, and price. You might find anything from zero waste sunscreen to coffee (and everything in between). Zero waste shops are important when you think about the 5 R’s of zero waste (which are refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot). And this brings us to our next point….

Why consider shopping at a zero-waste shop?

There are so many environmental and ethical reasons to shop at a zero waste shop (not to mention, you can find GREAT zero waste gift ideas!). To start, almost half of our food goes to waste here in the USA and a huge part of this is the bags and packaging our food comes in like plastic and cardboard. If not recycled properly, this kind of waste sits in a landfill for sometimes hundreds of years, leaching toxic chemicals in the process. And with only 9% of all plastic waste being recycled, minimizing your carbon footprint by making less waste can make a huge difference and put you on the right track to zero waste living

Best zero waste stores in Chicago

If you’re wondering “where are the best zero waste stores near me in Chicago?”, here are some of my favorite spots: 

1. Dill Pickle Food Co-op

The outside of shop Dill Pickle. Pin
Image: Dill Pickle

Open since 2009, Dill Pickle Food Co-op is a very popular Chicago zero waste store offering a huge selection of dry goods like flour, grains, and spices, as well as oils, vinegar, and cleaning supplies. They will also deliver within a 20 miles radius of the Chicago area which is great if you aren’t able to visit them in person.

One thing I really love about Dill Pickle Food Co-op is its values: Equitable and economic relationships, positive environmental impacts, and inclusive practices. And they really live through their values in how they run and source items at their store.

Like most co-ops, they are community owned which means the members of the co-op volunteer to help run the shop for a store discount. Co-ops like Dill Pickle Food Co-op can also help bring members of a community together to work on a common goal, sustainability!

What they offer:

  • Produce such as fruits and veggies, meat, seafood, dairy, prepared foods, deli items, and frozen foods
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages 
  • Household items 
  • Bread, bakery items, and sweets
  • Health and wellness 
  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Pets
  • Baby
  • Bulk items

2. Local Foods

A grocery shelf filled with raw fruits and veggies. Pin
Image: Local Foods

Local Foods not only has a great zero waste produce selection, but their items are also local too! Their zero waste pre-made meals look DELICIOUS! I also really want to try their coffee lovers smoothie. They also have a great variety of cheeses, meats, beer, wine, and other grocery items.

Local Foods mission is to bring farm-to-table to life by connecting small providers with shoppers all across the Chicago area. They do this by using three criteria to source all of their products. Firstly, all their products must be local and sourced within 350 miles of Chicago.

Their products should all be locally processed, meaning that ingredients that don't grow in the area (like coffee), must be processed in Chicago. If a product can’t fit either of these criteria, they will go out of their way to make sure they are sourcing their products from ethical producers.

What they offer:

  • Grocery items like spices, soup, snacks, condiments, baking needs, and coffee
  • Produce such as fruits and veggies, meat, and seafood
  • Diary and eggs
  • Beer, wine, and spirits, along with other beverages 
  • Frozen food items 
  • Home and Body
  • A section for dogs

3. Tinyshop

A brown bowl filled with kidney beans. Pin
Image: Tinyshop

If you are ever in the Logan Square area, I highly recommend visiting the Tinyshop pop-up. Here is how it works: you place an order online in advance then pick up and pay for your goods in person at the pop-up. Their pop-ups run almost every weekend and they will also deliver within 6 miles of Garfield park for an extra $5 (they also deliver in an EV!!). You can buy nuts, grains, and other dry goods, as well as liquids like vinegar, tea, and ciders. 

Tinyshop strives for zero waste and only carries organic foods. With this in mind, in order to create a closed-loop grocery system deposits are included on all jarred products (you get your deposit back when you return your empties on your next order).

What they offer:

  • Grocery items like spices, soup, snacks, condiments, baking needs, and coffee
  • Compost buckets 
  • Home cleaning items 
  • Fruits and veggies 
  • Beauty and wellness 

4. The Refilleri

A small pop-up stands with glass jars. Pin
Image: Refilleri

I LOVE The Refilleri. In the West Town neighborhood of Chicago, they offer refillable or zero waste solutions for a variety of products. From castile soap to body wash, to deodorant, to hand sanitizer they have all you need to be on your way to a zero waste bathroom

Their goal is to make zero waste living simple and accessible by refilling or composting all products for their customers. They also offer recycling and services for some of those hard-to-dispose-of items you may have around the house, such as wine corks or batteries (e-waste is so tough to dispose of properly). 

And Refilleri has some exciting news… while they used to function as a pop-up, they have a permanent store coming this fall (details on the exact location are going to be announced soon)!

What they offer:

  • Dental Hygiene 
  • Household
  • Personal care
  • Pet care
  • Liquid refills

5. Sugar Beet Food Co-op

Restocked our brushes and lint removers.Pin
Image: Sugar Beet Food Co-op

Sugar Beet Food Co-op is one of the more popular zero waste stores Chicago has, and there is a good reason for this. They are a zero waste grocery store in the Oak Park area and offer dry goods (grains, granola, snacks, etc.) as well as liquid items (like zero waste laundry detergent, conditioner, lotions, and soaps).

Sugar Beet Food Co-op tries to source its items by taking sustainability and their environmental impact into consideration. With this in mind, their products are often organic and local (grown within 150 miles) or regional (grown within 250 miles) which as we know is much better for the environment, the local economy, and community building.

Many of their products also hold Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Handling Practices (GHP), and Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) certifications!

What they offer:

  • Wellness and body 
  • Meat, dairy, eggs, and cheese
  • Café 
  • Prepared foods
  • Bulk items 
  • Alcohol 
  • Frozen items 
  • Plant-based meats 

6. Eco & the Flamingo

A zero waste pantry filled with glass jars. Pin
Image: Eco & the Flamingo

Eco & the Flamingo was actually the very first zero-waste general store in Chicago. Sustainable, package free, reusable, refillable, cruelty-free, and fair, they are committed to making eco-friendly living as simple as possible (bonus, they are a women-owned business!).

Their shop includes grains and baking supplies, coffees, oils, and organic teas, as well as zero waste cleaning items. They also have their own Eco & the Flamingo Brand where they sell blankets, bags, soap, and cleaning scrubbers! They are open until 7 pm so you can pop in after work which is very convenient.

What they offer:

  • Bath, body, and hair 
  • Health 
  • Skincare and beauty 
  • Oral care 
  • Kitchen 
  • Cleaning and laundry 
  • Herbal products and Remedies 
  • Home goods 

7. Bridgeport Coffee Company

A zero waste pantry filled with glass jars and coffee.Pin
Image: Bridgeport Coffee Company

On the south end of Chicago, Bridgeport Coffee Company has AMAZING bulk zero-waste coffee! Beyond offering only organic and fair-trade products, they have a direct relationship with their growers which allows them to reduce the transportation footprint of their product at the source.

When you visit the store, bring your own jar or cup so you can load up on all your coffee needs without the packaging!

Fun fact: Bridgeport Coffee Company uses a special roasting method called fluid-bed roasting, which means their beans were roasted in the air that moves instead of metals that can burn. This process gives their coffee a super unique taste!

They also have free shipping throughout the USA if you order $59 or more worth of product.

What they offer:

  • Artisanal blends
  • Decaf
  • Single Origin 
  • Gifts and more 

8. Hero Coffee Bar (Jackson and Dearborn)

An exterior photo of Herb Coffee Shop. Pin
Image: Hero Coffee Bar

Hero Coffee Bar is a zero-waste bulk coffee shop worth paying a visit. They are committed to making a positive impact by only roasting and sourcing their beans locally, but by partnering with charity projects!

At their Jackson and Dearborn locations, you can bring your own jar or container to stock up on their bulk coffee (this is also an amazing way to repurpose old containers). They also have a wholesale program where they ship their coffee to local restaurants, bars, and bakeries.

What they offer:

  • Coffee collection 
  • Hero Coffee Bar merch 
  • Breakfast 
  • Pastries 
  • Hot and cold drinks 

9. Zefiro

Zero waste supplies. Pin
Image:

Zefiro is the coolest zero waste grocery store Chicago offers. They source their items based on a few different aspects, the one that really stands out to me is that their product shouldn’t only be an alternative to a single-use product, but the product shouldn’t represent a super difficult change to incorporate into your daily lifestyle. Sustainable living shouldn’t be complicated! 

At Zefiro you can find bottle brushes, beard combs, toilet brushes, dishcloths, and other household items. Most of their items are their own brand name, but they also have some items made by another zero-waste cleaning brand called Meliora Cleaning Products. They are also a member of 1% for the Planet which means 1% of their sales are donated to environmental causes.

What they offer:

  • Kitchen products 
  • Cleaning supplies 
  • Personal care
  • Pets

A final word on Zero Waste Stores In Chicago

Finding where to buy food in bulk in Chicago doesn't need to be confusing! You can really find everything you would at a normal grocery store in Chicago’s zero-waste shops. Plus, you will be helping to reduce your carbon footprint and supporting some pretty awesome local businesses. So, next time you pay a visit to the windy city, I highly recommend you shop zero waste in Chicago!

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