Low Waste Bulk Grocer in San Francisco

Zero Waste

I’ve been wanting to visit a package-free, bulk grocery store for the past few years that helps those who long for a zero-waste life. I thought, “I’ll definitely go there when I go to San Francisco this time! So, I was so excited when I happened to find it while I was walking around the hotel😆

The Idea of “Low Waste”

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly.
We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

Anne Marie Bonneau

The name of the bulk grocery store that I happened to meet while taking a walk is “Replenish Grocers“.

Exterior view of “Replenish Grocers”

I started worrying about garbage because of a simple question I asked myself while repeating my very ordinary daily life.
Every time I go to the supermarket, carry heavy luggage, and cook, a large amount of garbage is generated. I refill a lot of packages in another garbage bag and go to the garbage dump.
It’s such a normal, ordinary day, but for some reason, one day, I suddenly had this thought.

Why do we have to spend money and effort to buy trash and then throw it away as soon as we buy it, and then spend more effort to get it to the garbage dump? It’s not good for the environment either.”

So what can I change?
— I started to gather some information and learned about package free stores and bulk stores. But I didn’t know what to start with and I didn’t do anything for a few years.
Finally, I decided to start with what I could do, even if it was just a small step, and took action in October 2021.

Why did I decide to “take one step at a time, starting with what I can do”?
It all started when I went to the Zero Waste Center in Kamikatsu-Town, Tokushima Prefecture, and had an experience similar to “zero waste life” at the Hotel Why attached to the center.

Zero Waste Life is simply “difficult”.
I thought that I wouldn’t be able to rearrange it into my lifestyle without making a full commitment to a considerable amount of stoicism. Moreover, instead of producing no garbage, I would have to wash more dishes, but which is worse for the environment? The more I start thinking about it, the more I feel like I need to study it seriously.

So, before I got stuck in a ditch, I switched my mind to making some progress.
And I thought, “I don’t have to aim for zero-waste”.

That’s why I really sympathized with the idea of Replenish Grocers, the store I happened to meet this time, “Low waste : Reduce the amount of garbage discharged”.

What They Stock

There are many kinds of pasta, grains (rice, wheat, corn, etc.), spices, coffee beans, dried fruits, granola, oatmeal, nuts, chocolates, cooking oil, etc., all sold in bulk.
In addition, there were various dishwashing detergents, laundry detergents, soaps, etc. in bulk.
You can find out more about their selection on their website.

There are also many containers of various sizes and forms that can be re-used.

Our Small Steps

Portable fork and spoon

I would be very happy if this shop was near my home.
My “low waste life” will be improved at once.

However, I have decided that I just start with what I can do.
During our one month stay at the hotel in the U.S., we have discharged a lot of garbage from spoons and forks. Due to the effects of the current pandemic, all the glass cups and cutlery provided in the hotel room were disposable.
From such a reflection, we bought this “portable fork & spoon” for us.

Another small step, but I’m happy to increase a new lifestyle habit environmentally firendly.