These zero-waste grocery stores in Singapore are all about refilling containers, bulk foods, BYO bags and going plastic-bag free...
Making an effort to stay plastic-free, live the low-waste life or support eco-friendly small businesses? The zero-waste grocery store scene has been growing in Singapore, and we’re fully on board. I’ve been on my own mission to buy groceries from suppliers that make it a point to reduce waste: that’s meant following pop-ups around the city armed with produce bags and jars to fill, and dashing off during my lunch break to refill massive containers with eco-friendly cleaning products. It’s worth it. If you’re interested in cutting down on waste from packaging and plastic bags, here are the grocery stores you need to know about…
Source Bulk Foods
An Australian zero-waste store,the Source Bulk Foods opened its store in Cluny Court this July. With over 50 stores around the world, including the U.K. and New Zealand, their ethos has always been sustainability. Encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags and containers, the store boasts more than 350 products. From pantry staples and packaging-free household products to ready-to-eat products (think, nutty protein balls) and locally-made kombucha, you’ll get them all. You can also shop at their e-store that wants to make sustainable living more accessible. Psst: We hear Source Bulk Foods is all set to open a few more stores around the island.
Source Bulk Foods, 501 Bukit Timah Road 01-05a Cluny Court, Singapore 259760
Founded in 2013, this Aussie owned supermarket offers more than just organic produces. Following the conventions of a regular grocery store but with sustainability in mind, you can make your own household cleaners, stock up on your skincare essentials with clean beauty products and get ethically sourced kitchenware – a total “green” makeover for your homes. Be sure to grab a cup of locally brewed kombucha on tap or have a hand at making your own ground nut butter by grinding them in a nut butter machine.
Scoop Wholefoods, 163 Tanglin Rd, #02-17/18 Tanglin Mall, Singapore 247933
Here’s something to celebrate: Unpackt – which launched in Ang Mo Kio earlier this year as the first bulk store in Singapore, just opened its doors at OUE Downtown Gallery so the CBD set can easily get in on the zero waste shopping scene. Yep, this means there’ll be a stash of reusable produce bags at work too from now on. We popped in on day two of business here and there’s everything from pasta to granola, loose leaf tea and spices, to olive oil, soy sauce and snacks such as dried veggie chips (which are currently fuelling the Honeycombers team). We’re also loving the range of bamboo toothbrushes and handmade soaps from The Clean Attempt, reusable wipes and bowl covers by Marley’s Monsters alongside cool cutlery sets and resuable bags. Founder Florence Tay tells us the new Downtown branch will host workshops including how to make beeswax wraps – so watch this space! But don’t forget the original AMK branch now has fresh organic produce from Quan Fa Farm – sold package free, of course.
Unpackt, 6 Jalan Kuras, Singapore 577724 and OUE Downtown Gallery, 6 Shenton Way, Level 3 (#03-05)
The Zero Ways
So, we’ve been following The Zero Ways at its popups around the city all the way from Tanglin Mall to Duxton Hill and So Gelam market in Kampong Glam. BYO produce bags and containers to fill with essentials from flour to pasta, spices, salt and flour – if you need more containers, there are always extra jars available for you to use. I’ve always been impressed by how affordable their products are – perks of going package-free! Alongside your kitchen staples, you can pick up beeswax wraps, storage jars and the super clever Sack-sy bag, which comes with handy pockets and produce bags – perfect for hitting the wet market. This lovely zero-waste popup grocer is currently crowdfunding to raise funds to open a store, so get on board if you’d like to help make this happen. Follow The Zero Ways on Facebook for details on upcoming popups around the city and what’s on offer…
The Zero Ways, stocked at various locations; also available online
One for the eco-conscious crowd in the West Eco.Le has made its home in a corner of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, and this small but beautiful bulk store is worth seeking out. Bring your own containers or use the second-hand ones provided to shop package-free. There’s everything from olive and coconut oil to tea, noodles, nuts and dried fruit – with loads of organic goodies in the mix. Eco.Le’s product list is constantly evolving, so check it regularly to see what’s available. Greenie Genie’s gorgeous handmade African baskets are available here too – pretty tempting to bring your loot home in one of these babies. And here’s a nice touch: there are free water refills for folks who BYO water bottle!
Eco.Le, 170 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Bukit Timah Shopping Center, Unit 03-56, Singapore 588179
The Social Space
If you follow us on Insta, you might have noticed we’re regulars at this gorgeous social enterprise concept, which includes a cafe, lifestyle boutique and a branch of The Nail Social too. The Social Space also came up with Singapore’s first refillery, where you can bring your own containers to fill with eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries. So here’s the plan: settle in for a great coffee or one of the famous smoothie bowls, and treat yourself to a mani if you’re in the mood. Then, try to beat my record for the most containers refilled here: 8kg of laundry detergent, castile soap, dishwashing liquid and handwash in one hit. Haven’t discovered how damn good this place is yet? Check out our full story on The Social Space.
The Social Space, 333 Kreta Ayer Rd, #01-14, Singapore 080333
The Green Collective
What started as an innovative popup featuring a handful of local brands championing sustainability in Singapore has evolved into a permanent store at Kinex – and thank goodness for that. I’ve been a regular here since the day it opened its doors (check out our full story on The Green Collective) and while this is a lifestyle store rather than a grocery, there is a refill station where you can BYO containers to fill with castile soap. And, of course, this is THE place to pick up reusables, from cutlery sets to takeaway coffee cups, bowl covers, bamboo straws and everything you need for one cool zero-waste kit.
The Green Collective, Kinex, 11 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 436950
This is one online grocery store making a difference: in an effort to reduce plastic bags, everything is delivered in reusable Ikea bags, customers are encouraged to buy in bulk and deliveries are consolidated to reduce car pollution. If you’re into organic, you’ll be impressed by the offering here, and there’s an excellent range of Indian products. Why the name? If you spend $150 and up, you receive a 20% discount. There’s also free delivery for all orders. Round of applause for all-round great service with a focus on sustainability.
TwentyOff, available online.
Avo & Co
I’ve been buying organic fruit and veg in Singapore for a long time, but just can’t stomach all the plastic packing it comes in at the supermarket any more, so made the switch to this fantastic little fruit and veg box delivery service. Yes some produce such as salad greens comes in plastic packaging, but as much as possible, your fruit and veg arrives unwrapped, or in a paper bag. Organic fruit and veg boxes have just been introduced too, so if certified organic is your thing, you won’t get the plastic guilts with Avo & Co. And the customer service? Top notch. The team goes above and beyond with fast, friendly service. And yes, the avocados here actually ripen properly – a minor miracle in Singapore!
Avo & Co, available online.