I now keep a page for waste-free shopping in the Sydney area. You’ll find it over here.
When I first moved to Sydney from Vancouver, I felt lost without my carefully cultivated go-to shops for refill and bulk goods. Luckily, the trend for unpackaged foods is catching on, and if you live in Sydney, there are now a decent number of shops where you can refill your nuts, grains, seeds, beans, spices, baking supplies, superfoods and many other edibles. Don’t forget personal and home care products – many of the shops below cater to the Zero Waste lifestyle more fully by offering a small selection of packaging free cleaners, soaps and shampoos.
The Source Bulk Foods started in Byron Bay and has expanded to over 20 locations and counting. They offer 400 bulk reasons to visit, including food, home and laundry.
Various locations in Eastern Suburbs and Inner West, the Sutherland shire, and Canberra.
This fast growing chain began as a market stall and now offers four storefront locations in NSW and ACT + continuing market appearances. In Sydney, try Bondi Junction, Newtown, or Cronulla.
You’ll find (most) staples, including basic and speciality flours, grains and cereals, dried fruit, spices nuts, snack foods, oils and vinegars as well as more obscure ingredients that are a challenge to find unpackaged. I’m talking hemp hearts, chia seeds, spices rice pasta, vegan chocolate, bee pollen, and ahem, maple syrup. Also try their unpackaged soaps for home, body and laundry.
Bondi Beach, Mona Vale, and Mosman
Another bulk food chain. They really do focus on foods – the only personal care item I found at the new Bondi shop was epsom salts. The stores are well-organized, with plenty of ingredients to inspire.
113 Enmore Road Enmore, Newtown
This cozy co-op has been in existence longer than I have, and offers a small selection of personal care and household cleaners. This is where I first met and fell in love with the humble coconut husk dish scrubby.
University of Sydney Food Co-op
Level 2 Wentworth Building, Corner of City Road and Butlin Avenue, Darlington
I haven’t visited this co-op, but it sounds pretty perfect for those looking for organic and ethical foods, grains, spices and more in the Redfern area.
The Health Emporium
263-265 Bondi Road, Bondi
The Health Emporium is a health food store with a small, but good bulk section that focuses on mainstay nuts and grains. They have a small selection of soaps for home and laundry.
2/19 Victoria Avenue. Castle Hill, NSW
This place look awesome. They carry whole foods and the elusive bulk oils (jojoba, argan, rosehip, etc.).
Manly Food Co-op
21B Whistler Street, Manly
Picture a waste-free, bulk, not for profit supermarket in one of Sydney’s loveliest beach suburbs. It totally exists, it’s the Manly Co-op.
Sam the Butcher
129 Bondi Road Bondi, NSW, 2026
Olive oil and preserved lemons on offer, as well as a range of biodynamic meats. Olive oil is refilled by volume (apparently this works out to the same as by weight), so just bring a container with one or the other listed.
Cha Cha Kombucha
Various markets (Bondi, Double Bay, EQ Village Markets)
You can return your Kombucha bottle for refill to their market stall, or refill around town at places like the Fruitologist on Bondi Road, where it flows from the tap. If you want to try making your own, $10 will get you your very own SCOBY (message Cha Cha a few days prior to arrange).
Perfect Potion is a chain with a focus on aromatherapy. The goods are mostly packaged, but there is a small selection of body care ingredients like clays, cacao butter and beeswax that can be bought in your own container.
Various locations in Eastern Suburbs and Inner West.
While not necessarily a mecca of packaging-free goods, Dr. Earth is a place to find items like beeswax food covers and bamboo toothbrushes. Their Newtown store has a tiny bulk refill area for laundry powder if I recall correctly.
Toby and Rosie
Various Sydney markets
I met Toby at the Bondi Farmers Market, where he sells a variety of soaps (including shampoo bars), scrubs, and oils. He will refill essential oils upon request. Send him a note a few days prior to arrange with him. So far this is the only essential oil refill option I’ve found.
Flame Tree Co-op
1/374 Lawrence Hargrave Dr., Thirroul, NSW
You’ll find healthy, organic food with as little waste as possible at the Flame Tree Co-op. If you, like I did, stumble upon this place without your arsenal of refill containers – rejoice – for they have a pile of clean, donated jars to use, free of charge.
Bulk food, home and laundry supplies, as well as local food organic produce.
This not an exhaustive list, simply the places I know about. If you know of someplace good in Sydney, post in the comments below!