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The Source Bulk Foods
Photograph: The Source Bulk Foods

The best stores for zero-waste grocery shopping in Singapore

Say no to plastic! Singapore's heading towards a zero-waste and plastic-free way of life, starting from grocery shopping

By Delfina Utomo
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Grocery shopping (and shopping in general!) in Singapore is synonymous with plastic bags and accruing single-use plastic waste, but it doesn't always have to be. Many places in Singapore have started charging for plastic bags and the zero-waste movement is growing slowly but surely. Make a resolution to cut down on your use of plastic and try shopping for groceries at these eco-friendly spots instead.

RECOMMENDED: Eco-friendly products you can buy in Singapore and The Green Collective's Agatha Lee lends some tips on sustainable shopping

Tips for shopping at a zero-waste store

Glass jars for plastic-free, zero-waste food storage
Photograph: Shutterstock

Prep starts before the shopping trip

Before your zero-waste shopping experience, put aside glass jars and reusable containers for your visit. You can invest in silicone baggies for your produce (and then later transfer them to your storage jars) but the main goal is to save a dollar or two, then settle for what you already have. A useful tip would be to write the weight of the empty container on it so you don't waste time doing the math at the grocery store.  

vegetables, grocery, shopping
Photograph: Unsplash/Thomas Le

Make a list

Plan ahead by making a grocery list on what you need. That way, you can also prepare how many baggies or containers you need to bring to avoid getting single-use plastic when you're out. A shopping list is also a sneaky way of taking stock of what you have (or don't) at home.

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IKEA
Photograph: IKEA

Bring your own bag

And the easiest part of grocery shopping – bring your own reusable bag to the store. Some people dump everything into a backpack or squeeze it into their handbags but weathered pros would come prepared with cloth bags, net bags or a fashionable Baggu bag. Want to get more reusable bags? We have some suggestions.

Where to shop

The Source Bulk Foods
Photograph: The Source Bulk Foods

The Source Bulk Foods

Shopping River Valley

Australia’s largest zero-waste retailer has two outlets in Singapore at Great World City and Cluny Court – and one set to open in Raffles Place. Bring your own containers and get in on the green movement as you purchase unpackaged everyday items like flour, grains, detergent, and kombucha on tap. Feeling parched after all that shopping? Bring your own bottle and refill it for free at the water tap in-store. If you want to save time cooking and baking, The Source also stocks jars of pre-mixed ingredients for dishes like lentil soup, brownies and more. All you have to do is mix, add water and cook. Easy peasy.

Scoop Wholefoods
Scoop Wholefoods Singapore Facebook

Scoop Wholefoods

Shopping Grocery stores Orchard

Direct from Australia, Scoop Wholefoods opened its first international store in Singapore this year. It specialises in retailing organic and natural products in bulk, allowing customers to buy only as much as they need, thus minimising food waste. Scoop offers a range of organic cold-pressed oils and vinegar, multiple varieties of roasted nuts and organic chocolates, and a section dedicated to fermentation which carries kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and beetroot kvass.

Customers are also encouraged to get hands-on, with a unique machine that allows you to churn your own nut butter (from $6/250g), boxes of loose-leaf teas for you to mix your own tea blends, and even a DIY section that allows you to make your own floor cleaners, soap bars and lip balms. 

Fresh organic kombucha is also available on tap ($9.75/200ml), direct from local brand Fizzicle. The brand espouses plastic-free living, selling stainless steel tiffin tins, reusable bags and bamboo drinking straws in-store to encourage their shoppers to do the same. 

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Eco.le

Shopping Grocery stores Bukit Timah

A play on the French word for school, Eco.Le is a small zero-waste store doing its part in the plastic-free movement and hoping that more will learn about this lifestyle and follow suit. Like the rest on the list, it offers bulk foods and lifestyle products to help to reduce packaging and waste. The stocklist is constantly evolving and changing – you can check before heading over on its website

NTUC FairPrice Xtra VivoCity
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

FairPrice Xtra VivoCity

Shopping Grocery stores Habourfront

At 90,000 sq ft (that's over two football fields), the VivoCity outlet is the biggest FairPrice Xtra hypermarket in Singapore. It stocks over 35,000 products and features many interactive stations. Though not entirely plastic-free, there are two carts in the middle of the supermarket floor with bulk goods like grains, oats, nuts and even freshly churned nut butter. Bring your own bags and jars to fill at these stations and contribute to the zero-waste movement.

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Two Sisters Pantry
Photograph: Facebook/Two Sisters Pantry

Two Sisters Pantry

Shopping Grocery stores Marine Parade

Two Sisters Pantry may be a small grocery store in Roxy Square but it has a good selection of high-quality organic food products mainly imported from New Zealand and Australia. If you're looking for food that promotes health and well-being, Two Sisters Pantry is a store for people who care about what they consume. There is also a bulk goods section in the store where you only pick what you need and pay for its weight. 

Unpackt
Photograph: Delfina Utomo

Unpackt

Shopping Grocery stores Ang Mo Kio

Singapore's first zero-waste grocery store sells a variety of bulk goods which run the gamut from olive oil and cane sugar to soap, nuts and baked apple chips. All items sold in the store are packaged-free, meaning you've got to come prepared with your own containers or tubs, measure out the amount you want and pay according to weight – it's a green step forward towards a more sustainable lifestyle. If you're working in the city, there is also an outlet in OUE Downtown that you can also drop by during lunch. 

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The Social Space
Photograph: Facebook/The Social Space

The Social Space

Shopping Grocery stores Chinatown

The Social Space wears many hats. It's a cafe, a florist, an eco-friendly lifestyle store, a nail salon and also houses The Refillery. The section is decked out with at least ten dispensers, each ranging from 15 to 20 litres. Items on sale include shampoo, eco-friendly dishwashing and laundry liquids so if you're stocking up on household cleaning products, here's where to go. 

The Zero Ways
Photograph: The Zero Ways

The Zero Ways

Shopping Grocery stores Raffles Place

Run by a group of passionate individuals who believe in the zero waste and plastic-free movement The Zero Ways is still largely a pop-up store, having made appearances at some of the major flea markets in Singapore. Currently, the company are trying to raise enough funds to set up a physical store. 

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