Updated May 15, 2020
New updates in Oceanside and Los Angeles
Bulk food stores, or even bulk aisles, are amazing ways to save money and eliminate unnecessary packaging. The key to this is to bring your own reusable tote bags. If the weight of your bag is significant enough to effect the price, make sure to write the weight of the bag ON your bag, so the cashier can quickly and easily tare the weight off of the final price.
This is KEY to reducing waste. Simply buying bulk food to use one of the store’s thin plastic bags is not zero waste, and it is not sustainable. At that rate, it’s better to buy something packaged in compostable cardboard.
Some stores may offer compostable or biodegradable bags to use. To this I say, please only use them in an emergency, and only if your community is actually able to compost those materials, unless they can be composted in home composters– but in my experience, I have never found a ‘compostable’ plastic bag that I could compost in my backyard.
If you have had some trouble finding a bulk store in your area, even if you’re outside California, reach out to me. I might be able to locate one for you.
Here is a list I’ve compiled of stores around California that offer a variety of food in bulk:
*New* Sigona’s Farmers Market – Redwood City and Palo Alto – small bulk foods, loose produce.
Suju’s Coffee, Fremont – HUGE bulk/loose tea section.
Mudlab, Oakland (zero waste grocery store)
Mandela Grocery Co-op – West Oakland
Byrd’s Filling Station, San Mateo refillery and zero waste delivery service
House Kombucha Taproom cafe/taproom – Berkeley
Olive This, Olive That – San Francisco (Return your bottle clean and dry and they will refill it for you and are very and give you $2 off each bottle!)
North Coast Coop San Francisco
Rainbow Coop San Francisco
Zanotto’s Market and Deli San Jose
The Source Zero San Jose, CA. *Zero Waste Supply Store*
Down To Earth Discount Nutrition (bulk herb section) San Jose
Smart & Final Extra! San Jose
Fillgood.co Albany CA; refill store and refill/delivery service
New Seasons Market – (bulk grains) – Evergreen
Country Sun Natural Foods Palo Alto
Steepers (bulk tea) Campbell
*NEW* The Zero Shop (rebranding to Ethos)
Soap, Nevada City
Davis Food Coop, Davis
Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland
Draeger’s Menlo Park, San Mateo, Blackhawk, Los Altos
Sacramento Food Coop Sacramento
The Silo Pantry Various locations in NorCal
North Coast Coop Eureka, Ca
North Coast Coop Arcata, Ca
New Moon Natural Foods Truckee and Tahoe City, grocery
Grass Roots Natural Foods, South Lake Tahoe, grocery
Refill Madness Sacramento
New Earth Market, Yuba City
Nature’s Kitchen, Yreka
Sunshine Health Foods, Morro Bay
Bambu Batu, San Luis Obispo (Central Coast)
The Secret Garden, San Luis Obispo (Central Coast)
*NEW* Wild Terra – Los Angeles – organic bulk herbs, teas, spices, oils, body care products, pantry staples, and more.
*NEW* Reap & Sow – Oceanside – Laundry Soap, Soap Nuts, Laundry Pods, Dish Soap, Auto Dishwasher Gel, All Purpose Cleaner, Glass Cleaner, Floor Cleaner, Tub & Tile Cleaner, Hand Soap, Body Soap, Body Lotion, Body Butter, Teas, Herbs, Clays, Salts, Sugar, Beeswax, and more. They are a pilot store for Dr. Bronner’s will have bulk Castile Soap soon. Bar Soap, Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and dish soap. Dental chew tabs, dental floss, They make their own hand sanitizer and deodorant which is available in bulk. They encourage customers to bring their own containers but also have glass to purchase. Additionally, they offer Terracycle recycling program for the customers (from Cynthia Trujillo)
*New* Isla Vista Food Co-op – Santa Barbara – bulk snacks, dry goods, baking supplies, herbs & spices, tea, soap, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner.
The Refill Shoppe – Ventura
The Nada Shop, Encinitas (bulk store & refillery)
Rainbow Acres Los Angeles
Sustain LA Los Angeles
Refillery Los Angeles
No Tox Life Los Angeles (near Atwater, Highland Park and Eagle Rock) *Zero Waste Supply Store*
BYO Long Beach, Long Beach
Long Beach Grocery Co-op, Long Beach
Ocean Beach People’s Food Ocean Beach
Coopportunity Market and Deli Santa Monica / Culver City
Organic Roots, Temecula
Mother’s Market, Anaheim Hills
Cookbook Market, LA (loose produce, bulk options)
Honey Hi bring your own takeaway containers
Todo Verde smoothie discounts for those who bring their own containers