Building a Better Zero Waste Resource

Bulk shopping guide for zero waste folks | Litterless

Over the next month, I'm excited to be tackling a major project around here: updating my guides to where to shop in bulk and where to compost throughout the United States and Canada. Before I dive in to making those changes, I'm curious to hear from you about what updates you'd finde most helpful.

The guides work like this: I wanted to make a central place to corral geographically-specific zero waste knowledge, like grocery stores and compost sites, so that readers could have an easier time transitioning to zero waste habits, even if they weren't yet plugged into a supportive zero waste community in their area. I've found that there are certain local "rules" that are best learned by experience, whether your's or a friend's: which chain groceries have bulk aisles but don't allow you to bring your own container, negating the benefits of said aisle, which compost pick-up service will service your apartment, where to find the best -package-free and palm-oil-free bar soap locally, and so on. The goal of the resource pages is to put knowledge like that, whose transfer often happens by word of mouth or not at all, in one central place, so that you can use to it to set up a zero waste routine at home, or to aid in traveling to new places where you don't know the lay of the land.

With that said, the Where to Shop guide doesn't include a grocery store if I haven't been able to verify that they welcome folks bringing their own containers (I do this by combing through their websites or relying on reader tips). That's why you won't find many Whole Foods or other large chain grocery stores listed on the page, since stores' willingness to accept brought-from-home containers can vary so widely. And, this also means that not every medium-to-major city in the United States and Canada is included in the resource, though most are; for those that aren't, I haven't been able to find or haven't had a tip about a truly zero waste-friendly store in the area.

So, in this guide refresh, I'm looking forward to doing a few things: Auditing all of the existing links to ensure that the stores and compost services listed are still accurate and active, to the best of my knowledge. Adding in additional resources that I've found on social media and elsewhere. Reorganizing the pages so they're more clear (the geographical categories have in a few cases proved confusing, so I'll be moving some states around to make it more clear, if not eliminating the geographical categories completely). Writing updated explanations to help new users understand how the guides work. And so forth, with the goal of making the pages an even more vibrant and helpful resource.

Before I get started, I want to hear from you! Have you wished the guides were organized slightly differently, or found that something in your area was misleading? Do you have a minute to read over the paragraphs for your city and suggest additions, subtractions, or other tips or resources to highlight? One note: the guides currently only extend to the United States and Canada, since I can't claim a knowledge of anywhere else. International readers, you're off the hook for this request!

I've put together a (very) short survey here, and I'd be grateful for your feedback (it should take you less than five minutes). You can also leave a comment below or send me an email. Thank you for taking a few moments to help out - without you, this resource wouldn't be what it is.