Be Zero Philadelphia

Welcome to the Be Zero Philadelphia City Guide!

This guide shares the inside scoop on ways to reduce your trash and plastic footprint and to lead more simple and sustainable lifestyles in Philadelphia!

About Philadelphia:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, is notable for its rich history, on display at the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed) and other American Revolutionary sites.


Food / Drink / Goods


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Weaver’s Way is one of a plethora of food co-ops throughout the city. Featuring a hefty bulk section (points for bulk kombucha!), vegan hot bar selections, and tons of natural and local grocery items, this is a must-visit! It’s also the perfect excuse to explore Chestnut Hill, not that you need one.

 
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Right in Center City where your only food options are food trucks and convenience stores, Everything Fresh offers a (small) pocket of sunshine! Head to the back of the store for a boutique bulk section that covers all the basics, plus find all your necessities including local produce.

 

Let’s be real, South Street has the most character out of any Philadelphian fairway. There are tons of local restaurants (with vegan options - yay!), the famous Magic Gardens, and somewhere to check zero-waste shopping off your to-do list! Much like Everything Fresh, Essene is a small but vital eco-friendly addition to the neighborhood, with a bulk section, hot food bar, and a particularly robust selection of health and beauty products.

 
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Love a good old-fashioned Farmer’s Market? Philly is the right place to be; you’re never far from one, whether it’s right in the famous Rittenhouse Square, on South Street, in West Philadelphia (born and raised...), or basically everywhere else.

 

If you’re visiting Philly, RTM is likely in your sightseeing plans - and if not, now it is! This is your one-stop shop for locally grown produce, Amish specialties, and a delectable lunch break. And that’s not even the end of it - it has so many nooks and crannies that you just have to explore it for yourself. It’s not all zero-waste-friendly (which is why I gave it an honorable mentions), but you can do pretty well here and still be kind to the planet!


(A cautionary tale: There is a bulk store at the market, but you have to use the store’s disposable cellophane bags. And the employees scoop and weigh everything for you, so there’s no playing dumb.)

 

While it’s always best to reuse items you already have, this is a great way to buy some of those iconic zero waste items and support a local eco-friendly business all at the same time! You’ll find stainless steel containers, metal straws, , and more! It’s located right down the street from the Chestnut Hill location of Weaver’s Way!

 

coffee

All of these companies are happy to serve you in a personal cup/container, and a lot of them have real plates so you can enjoy your food in-house (you just have to ask!).  

Good Karma Café

Hub Bub

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Old City Coffee (can be found in Old City as well as Reading Terminal Market)

Saxby’s


Clothing


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Located down the street from Essene Market, Philly AIDS Thrift is an amazingly eclectic secondhand treasure trove. What donations they can’t accept are redistributed responsibly, and proceeds help fight against HIV/AIDS.

 

Buffalo Exchange isn’t unique to Philadelphia, but they are a great place to find quality secondhand clothing and shoes. Plus they don’t carry plastic bags and encourage customers to BYO.

 

Part boutique, part coffee shop, United by Blue is dedicated to cleaning our waterways. For every product sold, UBB removes a pound of trash from Earth’s oceans, rivers, and other bodies of water. To accomplish this goal, they host cleanups across the country. Score some quality pieces of clothing and get involved in the community!

 

Transportation


In 2015, Philly launched Indego - its very own bike share program. Indego’s footprint has been rapidly expanding, and offers a great, green way to commute, tour the city, or just get some exercise in while getting from point A to point B. And with miles and miles of bike lanes, Philly is a bike-friendly city! The monthly membership is also a great deal if you plan on taking more than a couple trips in a month! (Just be sure to wear your helmet!)

 
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Septa (SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) is the butt of many (often well-deserved) jokes. But it’s fleet of busses, subways, and regional trains are a fantastic option if biking isn’t ideal.

 

This city guide is curated by our Ambassador Kristin Schrier 

Learn more about our Ambassador's and community here