11 Bulk Stores Online: Shopping With The Planet In Mind
Looking to progress your zero waste journey by really bulking up your eco-friendly efforts?
Well, then…we guess it’s time to start buying in bulk.
Thanks to a new wave of bulk stores online, we can order our favorite food, zero waste cleaning, beauty and body care products in a way that’s better for our planet and better for our pockets…right from the comfort of our home.
Just like any shop, bulk food stores or bulk online stores sell a range of products. Where they stand out though is with their packaging (or lack thereof).
Online bulk stores minimize the jars, bottles, and wrappers by selling refills with returnable or compostable containers.
Naturally, that means they ship (almost) everything plastic free, too.
Whether you need hand lotion or restaurant-grade olive oil, you’ll find what you need and won’t have the packaging to show for it.
While this is a relatively new area of sustainable living, it’s just the beginning for eco friendly online bulk shopping —and we’re so here for it!
*This post contains affiliate links
EarthHero’s Bulk Shopping Online
While most of their bulk products will satisfy our bathroom and needs, they’ve also got some refillable items for the kitchen and the office, too.
You’ll see refillable hand soap, a variety of cleaners, cartridges for eco friendly pens (zero waste office supplies anyone?), as any container you might need to put your bulk liquids or powders in, you likely already have upcycled jars that will do the trick.
You can even buy hand sanitizer in bulk to really celebrate online bulk shopping in the new-normal.
EarthHero is one of our favorite bulk stores online for a few reasons.
Think of them as a sustainable version of Amazon that recognizes that our conventional ways—while convenient—are hurting our planet. Which is why they only work with companies that use organic, upcycled, renewable, and recycled materials.
Even better, the brands featured on their website have made a conscious effort to produce their products in a way that’s better for people and the planet, like using renewable energy and designing for longevity (not planned obsolescence).
We’d recommend taking a peep at their very impressive list of sustainability logos that make it easy to shop and understand a product’s impact.
EarthHero also offsets their shipping through a partnership with CarbonFund, making for even LESS waste associated with your order. They also only use compostable, recyclable, and/or recycled packaging.
And they’re a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corp.
2. SUN & SWELL FOODS
Sun & Swell Foods’ Bulk Food Online
Sun & Swell Foods is just about the best place to buy bulk food online.
Their online bulk grocery selection includes pantry staples (such as nuts, grains, dried fruits, baking supplies, coffee, tea, nut butter, coconut oil, and more) and pre-made healthy snacks.
Sourced largely from US farms, all foodstuffs are plant-based and organic, as well as free from added sugars, preservatives, and flavors.
They also select self-care, kitchen, and home products.
About Sun & Swell Foods
A Certified B Corp and member of 1% for the Planet, Sun & Swell Foods isn’t serving up plastic in any way.
All food is mailed in home compostable bags or glass jars.
If you don’t have an indoor compost bin or composting service near you, be sure to add a Compostable Bag Return Mailer to your first order so you can return up to 40 bags to be composted by Sun & Swell.
What’s more, your online bulk grocery shopping will be low-impact all the way to your door thanks to eco friendly packaging and an option to choose carbon offset shipping.
Available: Sun & Swell Foods
ZeroWasteStore’s Online Bulk Shopping
If the name doesn’t clue you in, we will: ZeroWasteStore offers some of the best online bulk shopping for, well, pretty much anything—except food.
Their massive array of zero waste products is sourced from other, strictly-vetted ethical brands.
Shop by category, interest, brand, or even value, such as products by BIPOC brands.
Plastic-free aside, ZeroWasteStore only stocks products that are cruelty-free, natural or organic, palm oil-free, and mostly vegan (with the exception of beeswax).
Because they recognize bulk shopping online is not alone impact-free, their packaging materials are either compostable, reusable, or recyclable, tape and packing peanuts included.
They’re a member of 1% for the Planet and ship everything carbon neutral.
4. THRIVE MARKET
Thrive Market’s Online Bulk Grocery
Thrive Market makes bulk food shopping online a breeze.
Whether you’re keto, vegan, paleo, or 70+ other diets and values or simply want to know what foods are sustainable, a few simple clicks and Thrive Market will tailor a selection of products from their 6000+ item range.
From that, you can custom create your box of 12-14 items from their huge selection.
Shop food, plastic free vitamins and supplements, home, beauty, bath, and body.
That includes items unique to bulk grocery stores online, such as frozen goods, sustainably sourced meat and seafood boxes, and wine.
If you think this service sounds expensive, think again. Thrive eliminates middlemen to offer everything at wholesale prices rather than retail ones. Boxes start for as little as $5!
About Thrive Market
They’ve raised almost $4 million for the cause and collected 300,000 signatures petitioning the USDA to implement online food stamps.
Every membership purchased also comes with one gifted to those in need.
Between ethical sourcing, zero waste warehouses, 100% recyclable and reusable packaging, maximizing box space, and carbon neutral ground shipping, there isn’t much Thrive hasn’t thoughtfully reduced their impact.
Available: Thrive Market
5. AZURE STANDARD
Azure Standard’s Online Bulk Grocery Shopping
Depending on where you live, you may not have a bulk grocery store near you.
We’re not all fortunate enough to have a Whole Foods or Natural Grocers round the corner.
Fortunately, Azure Standard exists!
With this bulk online grocery service, you can order nearly any food product you can imagine in bulk—grains, beans, eco friendly tea, snacks, apple cider vinegar, honey, flour, oil, frozen food, preserved food and the list goes on!
They also have a lot of bulk and refill options for kitchen and bathroom staples (like soap and zero waste baby wipes).
You can order your bulk foods to be delivered directly to you, or you can join a drop—where you’ll join other eco-conscious individuals to pick up a regular order (and minimize shipping emissions in the process).
About Azure Standard
Azure Standard essentially provides what all of us have been waiting for: “making it affordable to eat healthy.”
While bulk groceries are a new development (to match the demands of our plastic-free lives), Azure Standard actually started in 1971 when the Stelzer family took their wheat and cattle ranch out of the chemical cycle on which most other farms were getting hooked.
Azure’s core values reflect this decision, namely to inspire healthy and abundant living while embracing change. This also contributes to their strict product standards, which mean that nothing listed on their website contains artificial additives, preservatives, MSG, GMOs, or artificial colors or flavors.
Available: Azure Standard (US only)
6. MELIORA CLEANING PRODUCTS
Meliora’s Online Bulk Shopping
Plastic-free online shopping is the way to be and Meliora can help you achieve just that.
Their selection of eco friendly cleaning products includes laundry powder, dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, bath soap, and cleansing scrub.
We’ve bragged about their zero waste laundry detergent before, which is not only made with natural ingredients, but can also be refilled (refills are sent in a compostable paper bag)!
Absolutely everything either comes as a refill, in recyclable/compostable packaging, or in a reusable tin.
Meliora was kind of a serendipity during founder Kate’s Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. She started to make her own vegetable soap for laundry and realized that simple ingredients were just better. For people and the planet.
For the latter, they actually donate 2% of annual revenue to Women’s Voices for the Earth, an organization working to both amplify women’s voices while also championing environmental justice.
Whew! Makes you feel a bit better about putting that load of laundry on, now doesn’t it?
7. A DROP IN THE OCEAN
A Drop in the Ocean’s Bulk Shopping Online
Check out A Drop in the Ocean when you’re ready to refill your household essentials.
From laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner, you’ll find what you need to keep your house, clothes, and body clean—and do so in a way that will keep our planet clean, too.
A Drop in the Ocean is also a good place to source some of those hard-to-find products and DIY ingredients in bulk (here’s looking at you organic witch hazel extract, tooth powder, and dog shampoo).
When you’re ready for your refill, just choose the “refill” option and you’ll receive a return label to send back your empty container!
They make package free bulk online shopping so easy, you may feel like your efforts can’t be more than a drop in the ocean, but rest assured, making this seemingly simple change really matters.
About A Drop in the Ocean
How refreshing is it to see a brand that uses its business as a force for good?
Let’s start with the fact that A Drop In the Ocean plants ten trees for every purchase through their partnership with Trees for the Future (a total of 13,450 just last year). Their commitment to oceans is just as strong as their commitment to forests, and they donate 1% of sales to organizations like the Vermilion Sea Institute.
For all orders, they use only reused packing paper and reusable, recyclable, or compostable shipping materials. Aside from their online ordering services, this zero waste online shop has delivery service in Tacoma, Washington.
Available: A Drop in the Ocean
8. THE GOOD FILL
The Good Fill’s Bulk Shopping Online
The Good Fill is one of the few bulk stores to offer household staples that are somewhat unique in the world of shopping bulk online, like refillable stain remover, baking soda, and Epsom salt.
They also have more basic cleaners like laundry detergent and all-purpose cleaner, as well as a range of beauty care products like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and natural body wash.
If you’re buying a liquid from The Good Fill, it comes in a BPA-free plastic pouch (with 93% less plastic than a bottle) with a pre-paid postage envelope that allows you to ship it back so it can be sanitized and reused.
About The Good Fill
This package free store is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s why the hairstylist-turned-owner Megan started The Good Fill:
“I want to tackle the idea that we don’t have enough time, money, convenience or resources to change the habits that consumerism has trapped us in.”
By providing sustainable alternatives to commonly used (and disposed of) products, The Good Fill allows us to think more deeply about our purchases. It brings awareness to the time, energy, resources, and individual efforts that go into each product and packaging.
Everything is mailed in a compostable or recyclable paper bag. Or if you’re in Nashville looking for bulk stores near you, you’ll be happy to know that most products are made locally and can be purchased from their brick-and-mortar storefront. And you can even bring your own bottles.
Available: The Good Fill (US)
The Good Fill has featured in an article on body wash refills.
9. THE WALLY SHOP
The Wally Shop’s Bulk Food Shopping Online
Join the #ReusablesRevolution with Wally.
The Wally Shop has a vision to provide everything—from food to pet supplies to beauty products—in reusable packaging.
They’ve got a range of “responsibly-made, Trader Joe’s price-competitive” bulk food online and household products with plans to add more categories and brands over time.
Simply pay a deposit for the packaging and then get it back when it’s returned with the next order.
The first time we covered The Wally Shop, they were only shipping to limited east coast locations. Suffice it to say we’re egg-static to see they now have nationwide shipping available. No matter where you live, you should have access to healthy and sustainable grocery options.
About The Wally Shop
The Wally Shop is a platform that connects shoppers to their favorite brands (waste-free!) and it started in the most unexpected place: Amazon.
While founder Tamara was working with Amazon, she became aware of the correlation between the rise of online shopping and plastic-waste. She wanted to provide an alternative so that shoppers could get the same convenience, selection, and value, as the online behemoth, but do so in a sustainable way.
Sustainability is thus the top priority, but giving back is also important for The Wally Shop. They’re providing free shipping to vulnerable seniors, healthcare, and emergency service workers.
Available: The Wally Shop
10. EQUAL EXCHANGE
Equal Exchange’s Online Bulk Grocery Shopping
For those of us who need a cup o’ joe (or two) to start the day, you’ll find a friend in Equal Exchange.
They use the power of online bulk grocery shopping to satisfy our caffeine addictions, which combines two of our favorite things ever. Eco-conscious-coffee? Sign us up!
At a minimum, their coffee blends come in 5 pound bags. You can also opt for a pack of two (ten pounds total) and save on both cost and shipping.
They also have some of our other guilty (and not so guilty) pleasures: tea, ethical chocolate, baking items, fruits and nuts, all available in bulk and/or at discounted prices. If you need a big bulk purchase (i.e. for an event or a cafe), you can buy wholesale, too.
While their packaging is not zero waste or bulk in the sense that they can be refilled, the large quantities they supply vastly cut back on the amount of overall packaging, both for the product itself and the packaging used to ship multiple smaller items.
About Equal Exchange
In 1986, Equal Exchange took on one of the world’s biggest problems: fixing a broken food system. They started by purchasing fair trade coffee from Nicaragua and have since expanded their network of worker co-operatives that allow them to contribute to a more equitable, democratic, and sustainable world.
They’re now an entirely worker-owned co-op that partners with farmers, fair trade organizations, and interfaith groups.
Most of their products are organic and/or fair trade, and they try to use responsible packaging ideally (either compostable or recyclable) while still preserving the aroma and flavor of the products (meaning that the bulk coffee bags, unfortunately, have to be thrown away).
Available: Equal Exchange
11. SAFFI FOODS
Saffi Foods’ Online Bulk Grocery
For the foodie in all of us, Saffi Foods has an extremely impressive selection of cooking ingredients used in Michelin Star restaurants.
They’ve got vinegars and cold-pressed extra virgin oils that will make any meal spectacular (because what good are bulk ingredients without the right oils?).
You’ll find organic and sustainably sourced ingredients in the online bulk grocery offerings from Saffi Foods. Meaning they’re raw, unpasteurized, and made without preservatives. Perfect for serving up on your eco friendly dinnerware.
Even better, these oils and vinegars come in reusable or upcycled packaging sourced from partner restaurants that donate old glass bottles (which are properly sanitized).
About Saffi Foods
With a deep appreciation for all the ingredients Mother Nature provides, Saffi Farms wants to give back by protecting our environment—which is why they’re committed to provide zero waste packaging options.
They work with farms around the globe, and their Chilean, Spanish, and Mexican oil and vinegar is commonly used by James Beard awarded chefs across the United States.
Saffi Farms works directly with farms to ensure transparency for each of their products (you can take a tour of one if you like).
For shoppers, each product page will tell you where the ingredients are grown (which changes depending on the season), in addition to helpful cooking points like taste notes, suggested pairings, and the smoke point of the oil.
Available: Saffi Foods
FINAL THOUGHTS ON BULK SHOPPING Online
Not to sound like an infomercial, but…are you tired of buying your favorite foods, household products, and beauty care items in excessive packaging?
Then let us quote one of our favorite sustainable shopping tips.
Don’t sulk, buy in bulk!
Our concerns (and that of thousands of individuals like us) about disposable packaging have been heard. In recent years, we’ve seen a burgeoning rise in zero waste online stores and general ethical online shops and it’s become easier to get our favorite products sans plastic.
Speaking of concerns, don’t be afraid to voice yours!
If you’re in love with a product but would prefer to use your own plastic free food storage container, let the brand or store know or ask for alternatives.
Consumer demand is what’s driving this movement; let’s keep the momentum going!
Speaking of momentum, pass this article along to the bulk of your friends, especially if they’re curious about online bulk grocery shopping.