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:
North Coast Coop San Francisco
Rainbow Coop San Francisco
Zanotto’s Market and Deli San Jose
Davis Food Coop/ Davis
Oaktown Spice Shop/ Oakland
Draeger’sMenlo 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 / North Lake Tahoe
Refill Madness Sacramento
Rainbow Acres Los Angeles
BYO Long Beach Long Beach
Ocean Beach People’s Food Ocean Beach
Coopportunity Market and Deli Santa Monica / Culver City
Sustain LA Los Angeles
Refillery Los Angeles
Zero Waste Stores
The Source Zero San Jose *NEW*
Fillgood.co Albany, CA (Also delivers to Bay Area)