No more plastic waste for these New Jersey grocers

As New Jersey businesses and shoppers prepare for the plastic bag ban to take effect on May 4, sustainable groceries have been packaging-free from the start. Plastic overuse is a global problem, with grocery stores wrapping fruits and vegetables in plastic wrap and polystyrene. To combat this, zero-waste grocery stores package their produce in self-service containers and bins that you can fill in your own reusable bags, containers, and jars. Sustainable stores are popping up all over the United States to fight plastic waste. These eight New Jersey zero-waste grocery stores won’t stop until they do.

A Guide to Zero Waste Grocery Stores in New Jersey

Greener Kinder Smarter, the “Know” Trash Store – Lawrence, NJ

More ecological Kinder smarter wants its customers to know they can ditch plastic for good. The store sells liquid and dry products by weight. You can bring your own jars or glass containers for produce or you can buy one from the store. Brown bags are available for dry goods. In addition to groceries, the store also offers cleaning and personal products.

Owned by Randie Cimino, the store opened after noticing the lack of waste-free grocery stores in its area. The store currently resides in the Trenton Farmers Market. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s soaps, olive oils, organic rice or pasta. Ultimately, the store’s goal is “to provide an easy and healthier shopping experience for you and our planet.”

Good Bottle – Montclair and Maplewood, NJ

As New Jersey’s premier refill store, good bottle pioneered zero waste grocery stores in New Jersey. The Good Bottle owner started the store for two reasons: her disdain for plastic waste and the chemicals in the products she used. It is important to bring your own clean containers to fill at the store. The steps for filling the bottles are simple: you weigh the empty bottle, fill it, weigh the packed bottle and finally label it and pay.

A unique aspect of this refill shop is their Good Bottle loop service. This service allows Good Bottle to buy back the bottles sold to those who have ordered online, so that they do not pile up with customers. Make sure the bottles still have the store label. You cannot resell them otherwise.

Zero to 180 – Morristown, NJ

Zero to 180 are champions of the zero waste movement as they try to help eliminate waste generation. The zero waste store sources quality bulk products, which is very important to them. Customers can purchase a variety of produce, from nuts, spices, coffee and teas, to pastas. Those who shop at the store can either bring their own containers or buy them at the store. Because Zero to 180 is passionate about eliminating waste, customers can donate five clean containers for other customers to use for free.

Simple Bare Necessities – Sparta, NJ

The founder of simple necessities is passionate about the Earth and passionate about eliminating unnecessary waste. Mikaela Molnar began its zero waste shopping journey in 2017. The store was born out of “necessities which are low waste and plastic free.

In addition to avoiding single-use plastics, Molnar also strives to make homemade products that are not only safe for the planet but also for our bodies. Customers support not only the creation of a cleaner environment, but also a woman-owned business. The store also has a comprehensive website, where you can order a variety of products ranging from cleansers to spices and organic chocolate bars. Those residing in Sussex County are also eligible for their fill and delivery service.

The Charging Market – Haddon, NJ

The charging market is a low-waste grocery store that seeks to eliminate single-use plastics. The market’s goal is for its customers to never buy another plastic container or bottle again. You can either bring your own glass container or purchase an aluminum or glass bottle from the store. If you want to dispose of plastic waste but don’t live near The Refill Market, the store also offers online delivery. Buyers can also participate in their bottle return program, which applies after your second order. After making your return, you will receive a coupon by email that you can apply to your next purchase. Make sure the containers you return have screw-top lids and are thoroughly washed.

The Refill Market also offers an in-house recycling service. Currently, you can recycle colored pencils with their packaging, empty writing instruments, used or empty oral hygiene products, razors, Brita filters and plastic bags.

Whole Earth Center – Princeton, NJ

Founded on Earth Day in 1970, the Center of the whole Earth has been supplying Princeton with organic food and environmentally friendly products for nearly 50 years. The Whole Earth Center offers a number of foods for purchase such as flours, nuts, and organic produce from farmers in New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and New York. The store also has a full vegetarian deli offering organic juices, salads, soups, sandwiches and other dishes. There is also a bakery specializing in breads, muffins, scones and cookies. There are a variety of wellness, cosmetic and household items sold. The Whole Earth Center is a BYO bag and container. For every container and jar you bring to the store to fill, the center will give you a penny. The store also sells pots and cloth bags.

Dry Goods Filling – Montclair, NJ

In an effort to eliminate single-use plastics and help the environment in any way possible, Filling of dry goods was born. Dry Good Refillery strives to be a one-stop-shop for all of your sustainable purchasing needs. The grocery store offers gourmet packages and plastic-free dry goods, dairy products, spices, produce and oils and vinegars. The store offers a number of teas, coffees, salts and sweets.

Like a woman-owned business, Dry Goods Refillery prioritizes female-founded chefs and product makers. The sustainable store also offers a Frequent Girl program. This program allows you to earn “Figs” which are points that can be redeemed for cash on future purchases. You earn a “fig” for every dollar spent.

Mercantile Sustainable Home – Summit, NJ

Janette Spiezio created Sustainable house Mercantile to provide his family and others with a way to live plastic-free and have a non-toxic lifestyle. This store offers a full line of zero-waste household items, food storage solutions, children’s products, and hair and body care, to name a few. Sustainable Haus Mercantile also manufactures a number of its own sustainable products directly at Summit, such as fabric items. They also offer affordable knife sharpening, repair and rental of dishes.

Interested in checking out these zero-waste grocery stores in New Jersey? Let us know!

Bryce K. Locke