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A person pulling the lever on a dispenser filled with lentils.
Photograph: Polina Tankilevitch

The best zero-waste stores in Melbourne to help you ditch the plastic

Shrink your carbon footprint by ditching single-use packaging for good

Written by
Ashleigh Hastings
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Helping the environment can feel like an overwhelming prospect, but there are lots of things we as individuals can do to help out. Swapping out traditional plastic-wrapped groceries and consumer items for zero-waste alternatives is a fantastic way to start.

From filling up your pantry with basics like flour and oils to stocking up on local wines for the weekend, there’s a zero-waste way to get the job done. Just remember to bring your own container to these stores (or buy one of theirs) and picture all the plastic you’re saving from the landfill.

After more ways to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle? Get a greener wardrobe with these sustainable Melbourne fashion brands, and green-ify your routine with these Aussie beauty and personal care products.

Melbourne's best zero-waste stores to shop

The Source Bulk Foods
  • Shopping
  • Prahran

Since its humble beginnings back in 2012, the Source has grown into Australia’s largest specialised bulk food retailer. These days, they’ve got locations from Balaclava to Brunswick and Malvern to Moonee Ponds. So no matter where you live in Melbourne, there’s probably a store near you.

Inside you’ll find all the bulk foods basics as well as sweet treats like chocolate cherry bites and roast almond nougat. You’ll also be greeted with an impressive array of cleaning products - all without the usual wasteful packaging, of course!

ReWine
  • Restaurants
  • Australian
  • Brunswick East
  • price 1 of 4

Searching for the perfect drop without the waste? Rewine might be right up your alley. This bar slash bottleshop encourages you to bring back your wine bottles for a refill, and you’ll even get a cheeky discount when you do! Rewine’s bottles are made from recycled glass from the South Australian Recycling scheme and they take half as much energy to make as a regular bottle.

Swing by its locations in Brunswick East, Fitzroy or at the Queen Victoria Market for a tipple and a zero-waste bottle to take home. You’ll be able to choose from a well-balanced offering sourced from around Australia, with varietals and blends to suit different tastes.

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CERES Grocery and Bakery
  • Things to do
  • Brunswick East

Nestled within Melbourne’s bustling inner north is the CERES Community Environment Park, featuring an urban farm, environmental education centre, a book store and a grocery selling locally grown produce and bulk foods. On the bakery side of things, organic pastries and sweet treats abound.

Packaging is kept to a minimum, allowing the produce grown next door at the Honey Lane Farm to speak for itself. Bring your own reusable produce bags or containers for a full zero-waste experience.

  • Shopping
  • Grocers
  • Ashburton

There’s no single-use packaging in sight at Fitzroy’s Gram Sustainable. Australian-sourced goods are a priority for Gram, which offers a wide range of pantry staples as well as cleaning products and a range of reusable home products. 

Indulge your senses with a range of custom tea blends including Persian apple earl grey and rooibos chai. Rose bath salts and massage oils are another two standout offerings. All the bulk products are priced by weight and you can either bring your own container or pick up a reusable option in-store.

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  • Restaurants
  • Collingwood
  • price 1 of 4

Bring your own Tupperware, bags and jars to this gem on Collingwood’s Smith Street, because eco-friendliness is the name of the game at this co-op. Friends of the Earth has been running for more than 20 years and with a range like this, it’s no wonder it attracts customers from all over Melbourne. Even better, all the produce is either biodynamic or organic, so your body will thank you.

  • Shopping
  • Grocers

This one woman, one van enterprise brings a plastic-free supermarket to you! Precycle Pantry is the brainchild of Caro Felton, whose desire for a more convenient sustainable shopping option inspired its mobile van format. Felton started out traversing the inner west, but demand has led her to expand Precycle’s services to more than 30 suburbs across Melbourne.

The van holds pantry staples like spices, nuts and muesli, as well as cleaning and personal care products. Bring your own containers or grab one of its reusable options while you’re there. You can get your hands on Precycle Pantry’s waste-free goodies by ordering online, booking a home visit or heading to one of its market appearances. You can find its market schedule here.

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Terra Madre
  • Shopping
  • Northcote

Terra Madre is a pillar of the Northcote grocery scene and it's recently opened up a Brunswick location, too. Specialising in affordable organic groceries and produce, Terra Madre offers a huge range of fruit, veggies, bulk essentials and health foods. You’ll also find options catering to pretty much any dietary requirement.

The two stores use a combination of biodegradable packaging and bulk food systems to minimise waste. Terra Madre has even worked with suppliers to ensure much of its organic produce is delivered in reusable crates rather than boxes.

  • Shopping
  • Grocers
  • Fairfield

Just down the road from Fairfield station sits the Hub Bulk and Bare Food Store. Encouraging a bring-your-own container model, The Hub sells all its foods and liquids free from packaging. It’s not just food on offer; you can also choose from a host of sustainable cleaning brushes, stationery and gifts. The stainless steel bento snack box and the Joco reusable cups are a highlight.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Collingwood

As Collingwood’s first sustainable wine dispensary, Glou offers an everchanging range of 16 locally made wines, perfect for an inquisitive palate. The dispensary model means Glou’s wines are stored in 30-litre kegs in-store, allowing you to choose how much you want to take home in a reusable bottle.

Sizes range from half a litre to two litres, and the lack of waste isn’t the only perk… the model also results in around a 30 per cent discount compared to an average wine store. If the mood strikes, you can also sit down to enjoy a glass in the cellar door-style store.

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