Your guide to shopping waste-free in Austin

Bust out your glass jars, we’re going to the refillery.

Glass jars of laundry powder on a shelf.

Refilleries like Slow North allow customers to bring in their own containers to reduce waste.

Photo by @slownorth

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Austinites pride themselves on keeping the city sustainable, as Austin has maintained a record of being one of the greenest cities in the US.

A new study from WalletHub ranked Austin No. 23 most eco-friendly city in the country, and the most sustainable city in the state by 21 places. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement — the average American generates 36 pounds more waste in December than in other months of the year.

Most locals already have a stockpile of reusable bags, cups, and straws, but here are a few other tips and tricks to keeping Austin green.

Pssst... stay tuned for our upcoming guide to sustainable gift-giving in town.

♻️ Buy in bulk or packaging-free when you can

From food to self-care and cleaning supplies, many items can be found in refilleries, or stores with bulk purchasing options, that eliminate the need for a new container each time you return for more. Pro-tip: Most locations allow you to bring your own containers.

  • H-E-B and Central Market | Multiple locations | The bulk bar at your local H-E-B or Central Market is an untapped resource of spices, candy, tea, snacks, coffee, and goodies at your fingertips.
  • Luxe Refill | 5501 N. Lamar Blvd. | Cleaning products, laundry detergent, skincare, baby shampoo, pet supplies, deodorant, makeup, and first aid supplies can all be found in reusable containers inside the store and online.
  • Slow North | 2700 W. Anderson Ln. | Slow North’s refill station allows customers to stock up on loose incense, dried flowers, body care, essential oil blends, laundry powder, and more by the ounce.
  • Trashless | Online | If adding another store to your rotation makes you queasy, Trashless will deliver package-free groceries and household goods right to your door.

♻️ Utilize the Austin Reuse Directory

It’s easy to find businesses to buy, sell, donate, recycle, repair, or rent items through the Austin Reuse Directory — which will populate a map of viable options based on your needs. Acting sustainably has never been easier for Austinites.

Not only does donating your used goods help you by cleaning out your home, it helps keep those items in circulation. You can donate almost everything — clothes, dishes, linens, books, toys, and more — and Austin Habitat for Humanity will even come pick up donations from your home. If you’re not quite ready to part with your things, consider taking them to be repaired or learn to repair them yourself with a Fix-It clinic through the city.

What are your favorite sustainability hacks? Tell us so we can share the love.

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