Zero-Waste Shopping in San Diego

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Explore zero-waste options for groceries, clothing, home goods, and more, so every purchase you make echoes a commitment to a greener, cleaner future.

San Diego is a city most known for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, but beneath that charming exterior lies a newfound commitment to sustainability. So much so that the City of San Diego plans to divert all solid waste from going into the landfill by 2040 through its Zero Waste Plan. The community is following suit with a new breed of retail spaces emerging – zero-waste stores. These establishments aren't just about selling products; they're about embracing a lifestyle centered on reducing waste, minimizing environmental impact, and building a community. 

 Zero-waste can be an intimidating term, but it doesn’t have to be. One of my goals with the store is to make sustainable shopping the new standard of grocery shopping. I want to help people understand that anyone can shop this way and how critical it is that we do.

– Maria Herrera of Origins Grocer

San Diego’s first zero-waste grocery store, The Mighty Bin, has been a North Park staple since 2022. In April 2024, a change of ownership took place, rebranding the establishment to Origins Grocer. 

“I chose the name Origins Grocer because a big part of what we are trying to do is to go back to the origins of how we used to shop back in the day. If we go back over 100 years ago, before the plastic and packaging revolution, people used to go to their local grocer to buy in bulk,” says new owner Maria Herrera. “Zero-waste can be an intimidating term, but it doesn’t have to be. One of my goals with the store is to make sustainable shopping the new standard of grocery shopping. I want to help people understand that anyone can shop this way and how critical it is that we do.”

In this roundup, we explore zero-waste shopping options, where every purchase echoes a commitment to a greener, cleaner future.

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woman standing in refill store
Maria Herrera, new owner of Origins Grocer, in North Park (formerly the Mighty Bin), wants us to get back to our shopping origins, before plastic packaging. – Photo by Randi Baird

Groceries and Food

  • Local Scoop: Filling pantries not landfills, this Encinitas shop offers a package-free grocery shopping solution for North County residents. 
  • Origins Grocer (formally known as The Mighty Bin): This bulk grocery store in North Park sells package-free foods, household cleaning supplies, and personal care products.
  • People's Food Market: Package-free foods sourced from hundreds of local farmers abound at this Ocean Beach store. They carry natural foods and wellness products that are sustainably sourced, cruelty-free, and environmentally safe.
  • Too Good to Go: This mobile app lists daily surplus items from local San Diego grocery stores and restaurants. Customers can then buy these items at a third of the usual retail cost, starting at $4 for a Surprise Bag.

Cleaning and Household Supplies

  • Earthwell Refill: At this family-owned business in Kensington, you can bring in empty bottles and containers to fill with shampoo, conditioner, soaps, household cleaners, and more. You will also find products like natural deodorants, steel safety razors, and reusable feminine products. Read our article Refill to Reduce.
  • The Nada Shop: Founded in the heart of Encinitas, this online retailer offers shoppers household and body care products that are plastic-free, reusable, and refillable. 
  • Origins Grocer: See above. 
  • Refill Pantry SD: This San Diego shop and refillery provides plastic-free, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced products for you and your home. They sell both bulk household cleaning products and personal care products.
  • Refinement House: This pop-up and farmers market favorite offers bulk home cleaning and personal care supplies, and other household items for a low-waste home. 
  • People's Food Market: See above.

Beauty and Wellness

  • Reap + Sow: The green beauty, well-being apothecary and eco-boutique makes living a healthy, eco-conscious life easy, because they’ve done the work for you. You will find 450+ brands for personal care, zero-waste bulk refill, crystals, teas, plants, and more.
  • Scisters Salon: San Diego’s first zero-waste salon is in La Mesa and offers beauty products in bulk and diverts beauty waste — hair clippings help clean up oil spills, foil and color tubes are melted down to make new products, and leftover color is turned into clean energy.
shelves of products inside store
The Scisters Salon & Apothecary in La Mesa is San Diego’s first zero-waste salon. They even send hair clippings to soak up oil spills! – Courtesy of The Scisters Salon & Apothecary

Clothing

  • Positive Phee Clothing Swap Event: Upcycling and sustainable-fashion stylist Sophie Hague aka Positive Phee hosts in-person clothing swap and styling events across San Diego County.
three women at clothing swap with shopping bags
Sophie Hague (aka Positive Phee) hosts clothing swap events across San Diego County, like this one Emily, Fio, and Erika are enjoying. – Courtesy of Positive Phee Clothing Swap

Baby Goods

  • Destination Baby Co.: Providing parents an effortless travel experience, this operation rents out cribs, highchairs, car seats, and bouncers to those traveling to the San Diego County area.

Did we miss a zero-waste business or do you know about a new one? Please contact us to make any additions or updates.


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Kelli Schry
Kelli Schry
Born and raised in San Diego, Kelli Schry has more than 15 years of experience in public relations, writing, and content development. Her work has been featured in People Magazine, USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money, the Washington Post, and more. Her passions include travel, food and wine, animals, and conservation. When she isn’t writing, she can be found exploring sunny San Diego with her husband and two kids.
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