ZERO WASTE GROCERY GUIDE: ILLINOIS
-Common Ground: Purchase bulk grains, beans, nuts, seeds, granola, snacks, dried fruit, seed sprouting supplies, tea, herbs, spices, Dr. Bronner's castile soap, lotion, and more.
-The Co-op: A really great bulk section featuring grains, beans, legumes, flour, sugar, nuts, seeds, candy, snacks, teas, spices, herbs, cooking oils, and liquid sweeteners.
-Common Ground: In the bulk aisle here, you can buy grains, beans, baking supplies, spices, and other pantry staples.
-Dill Pickle Food Co-op: This spot has tons of dry goods (flours, sugars, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, snacks, tea, coffee, herbs, spices and more), plus bulk apple cider vinegar, olive oil, liquid sweeteners, and personal care / cleaning supplies (Castile soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, clays, beeswax, and more).
-Heartland Cafe: This restaurant in Rogers Park is attached to a small grocery store, which sells a few bulk foods, like grains, beans, and nuts.
-Local Foods: This grocery store emphasizes locally produced foods, and is a great source of Midwest produce year-round. They also have a small bulk section.
-Merz Apothecary: Visit their downtown or Lincoln Square locations to find a local supplier of zero waste toiletries, including a huge selection of safety razors (their knowledgeable staff can help you choose the right one for your needs), Meow Meow Tweet products, package-free and paper-wrapped bar soap, and other toiletries packaged in glass or recyclable containers.
-Sugar Beet Food Co-op: This grocery store in Oak Park boasts the best bulk selection in the city. You'll find a large selection of dry goods (baking supplies, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, granola, snacks, tea, herbs, spices, and more), plus a great liquid bulk selection (oils, vinegars, liquid sweeteners, two kinds of hot sauce bulk dish soap, bulk laundry detergent locally made by Meliora Cleaning Products, and personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and liquid body and hand soap). They also have a ReCork drop box for recycling wine corks.
-The WasteShed: This not-for-profit store accepts secondhand art, craft, and school supplies for resale. Stock up here on all your secondhand office-type purchases!
-Zero Waste Chicago: When I lived in Chicago, I co-founded this non-profit organization. The "Where to Shop" page on Zero Waste Chicago's website offers more information on where to find bulk, package-free items and zero waste supplies throughout the Chicago area.
-Dierbergs: A range of many of the same dry items, but they also have coffee beans. Both stores allow you to bring your own containers!
-Green Earth Grocery: Dry items such as salt, Himalayan salt, teas, grains, granola, oats, beans, dried fruits, trail mixes, and more.
-Hy-Vee: Lots of grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, snacks, chocolate, freshly ground nut butter granola, herbs, spices, coffee, and loose leave tea.
-Naturally Yours: A large selection of bulk dry goods like grains, beans, nuts, snacks, and more, as well as tons of medicinal and culinary herbs and bulk homemade soap. They specifically welcome customers to bring their reusable containers from home.
-Macomb Food Co-op: Bulk grains, beans, baking supplies, nuts, seeds, snacks, candy, dried fruit, popcorn, herbs, spices, tea, coffee, olive and safflower oils, balsamic vinegar, and more. Per a reader submission, customers are encouraged to return bags for reuse, and they accept donations of some glass containers for use in cooking and canning classes.
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