Shopping in bulk locally supports local businesses and keeps zero waste resources alive and vibrant in communities. But rare is the person who can find everything they need in bulk in stores near them, which is where online bulk purchases come in. Online bulk shops sell bulk beauty, household, and DIY products in packaging that you can recycle, compost, or return for refill and reuse. When you consider that many of our recyclables are shipped overseas to be recycled or simply thrown away, the impact of shipping back a container to be re-used is put in perspective.
Below, a full list of U.S.-based online bulk and refill shops. Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means Litterless may make a small commission on items purchased.
-Arbor Teas: Most stores that offer any selection of bulk foods also sell herbs and teas. If you aren’t able to find bulk tea available locally, consider these folks, who sell organic loose-leaf teas in packages that are backyard compostable. You can choose their largest “bulk” size to cut down on packaging even further. Ships from Michigan.
-Amazon: I do my best to shop from small or local businesses when possible, but Amazon can be a good source for certain bulk items. I purchase refills of Castile soap from the pump dispenser at my local co-op grocery, but if you don’t have that option, you could buy a gallon of Castile soap yourself on Amazon, where it comes packaged in the same bottle as in the bulk aisle at the co-op. Amazon also sells gallons of the same shampoos (EO Products and Giovanni), conditioners (EO Products and Giovanni), body lotion, and liquid hand soap that I’ve often seen in bulk aisles. If you have a product you love but haven’t been able to find in bulk, searching “[product name] gallon” might turn up a larger size. To ensure it all gets used, consider splitting a bottle with a friend, choosing a product your whole family can use, or decanting some into a smaller container for easy use and storing the larger bottle in a closet or under the sink.
-Common Good: Common Good makes non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning supplies like laundry detergent, dish soap, all-purpose spray, glass cleaner, hand soap, and more. In addition to their refill stations around the country, they’ve introduced refill boxes for online customers, where you can order their products in 80% less packaging than the originals.
-EarthHero: A one-stop shop for all things sustainable, EarthHero has several bulk beauty offerings, including refillable Plaine Products shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, All Good sunscreen in a reusable, recyclable metal tin, or a bulk, 32-ounce bottle of mineral sunscreen.
-Etsy: It’s harder to say what you can’t find on Etsy than what you can. Of interest to the zero-waster: package-free shampoo bars (or this one), vegan body butter in a glass jar, or lip tint in a compostable tube. Look for items that come unpackaged or are in containers you could reuse or donate, and then leave a note to the seller that you’re hoping your order will be shipped in reused packaging rather than new. If you’d like to minimize shipping distance, use their geographical search tool to narrow the field to your local area.
-Fillaree: North Carolina-based Fillaree makes and ships refillable soaps and cleaning supplies throughout the United States. We use their Clean Plate Club dish soap refill program, and they also make a refillable all-purpose cleaning spray and liquid hand soap. To sign up, choose your shipment frequency, and then you’ll get a shipment packed in paper and sealed with paper tape of a refillable bottle. Decant the soap and send it on back for reuse! (You can send any empty container back to them for reuse, even if it’s not part of their refill program). Ships from North Carolina; you can also look for a local refill stockist near you here.
-The Good Fill: The Good Fill offers bulk beauty and cleaning products that ship in recyclable paper bags or reusable plastic pouches. The latter comes with a pre-paid envelope so you can send the pouches back for reuse. Standout examples include dishwasher powder and bulk hairspray! Simply decant the products into your own containers. Ships from Nashville, Tennessee.
-Meliora Cleaning Products: Kate and Mike make rigorously tested and rigorously certified natural cleaning products out of their Chicago warehouse space; we use their laundry detergent and cleaning spray religiously. To buy in bulk, choose the “refill” option for their laundry detergent, which comes in a paper bag that you can reuse or recycle, or their all-purpose cleaning spray refill, which makes 18 bottles worth of their powerhouse spray. I’m also a big fan of their plastic-free stain stick and unpackaged bar soaps. Orders come packed in paper and sealed with paper tape; ships from Chicago.
-Plaine Products: Plaine makes environmentally-friendly bath and beauty products in refillable metal bottles; when yours are empty, you can send them back to be washed and reused. They currently offer refillable shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, body lotion (which I use every day and love for its mint-rosemary scent), and face wash and moisturizer.
-The Refill Revolution: My friend Britt at Refill Revolution has a huge selection of bulk products - you choose the container, and you can either keep it or send it back to her for a refill. Find bulk beauty products, bulk cleaning supplies, bulk essential oils, bulk DIY ingredients, and bulk gallons. Of particular note: bulk Meow Meow Tweet deodorant, bulk lavender essential oil, and bulk coconut oil. Ships from Colorado.
-The Refill Shoppe: The Refill Shoppe sells refillable cleaning and beauty supplies. Pick what you want, add a scent if you’d like, choose a size and package, and they’ll ship your bulk products right to you with an envelope for returning the packaging for reuse or recycling. You can find their full list of refillable products here. Ships from California.
This directory will live permanently in the sidebar at right, under the name “Online Bulk.” I’ll continue to update it there as I learn of more resources; I hope this can be helpful over and over again.
PS. The “Essentials” page up top is back, by popular demand (so many kind emails!). I’ve been re-vamping it to be more useful and to focus on highlighting smaller makers. Keep checking back for more.