Everything you need to know to start a zero-waste and eco-friendly San Francisco lifestyle

You’re buying eco-friendly brands, switching to reusable water bottles and using public transport where you can, but feel like you could do more for the world your kids will inherit? With a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle, you could shrink your carbon footprint, enjoy healthy food nearby, and save money. Read on for how just a couple of changes will help you and your family live a more eco-friendly life in San Francisco.

What Is a Zero-Waste Store?

Zero-waste is the idea that all consumables can be reused or recycled, with landfills becoming a thing of the past. San Francisco was the first U.S. city to declare a long-term goal of zero waste, starting with a recycling and compost program in 2002. After six years, the city smashed its goal of diverting 75% of material from landfill, with 80% of San Francisco’s waste either recycled or becoming compost.  Although this is a great start, many organizations believe the future is ending our reliance on single-use plastics altogether.

An easy way to reduce your own family’s use of plastic?  Visit one of the many zero-waste stores in San Francisco, which offer a simpler and greener way to shop. Fill up your jars, bottles and boxes with food or cleaning products, use, return and close the loop!

Zero-Waste Refill Stations around San Francisco

Fillgood: Fillgood in Berkley is a modern twist on the old idea of doorstep milk delivery. Sign up to have bath and cleaning products delivered to your door in reusable bottles, jars and jugs. When you’re done, leave the empty containers out to be picked up, where they are refilled and redelivered. Delivery is available across the Bay Area or check out the brick-and-mortar store in Berkeley.

1579A Solano Ave.
Online: fillgood.com

Byrd’s Filling Station: This San Mateo store was founded by a mom who wanted to find an easy way to cut down on her family’s waste. Byrd’s Filling Station is her answer to the problem: a one-stop shop, where you can get your bath, cleaning and food products without all the plastic packaging used in traditional grocery stores. Bring containers to refill on anything from sunscreen to cereal or buy a reusable container while you’re there.

219 S. San Mateo Dr.
San Mateo
Online: byrdsfillingstation.com

Re-Up Refills Shop: Re-Up Refills in Oakland offers a range of kitchen, bath and food products at its shop, where you can buy your consumables in bulk. All food items are organic and all cleaning products are non-toxic. Re-Up Refills is open every day, with new products frequently hitting the shelves. Alongside the bulk refill products, the store also sells products made from eco-friendly materials, like wooden scrubbing brushes and reusable coffee filters.

6025 College Ave.
Online: reuprefills.org

Rainbow Groceries Cooperative: Rainbow Grocery Co-Op has been open in the Mission District since 1975, selling affordable vegetarian food products. Rainbow Grocery has a large bulk goods department, where you can buy your food using reusable containers to cut down on wasteful packaging.

With 800 different foods to choose from, this is one of San Francisco’s best places to shop without single-use plastic.

1745 Folsom St.
San Francisco
Online: rainbow.coop

Family-Friendly Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Studies show that switching to a plant-based diet can have a huge impact on an individual’s carbon footprint. Going meatless saves water and carbon emissions—that one pound of beef requires anywhere between 2000 and 8,000 gallons of water to produce, compared to 302 gallons for a pound of tofu. Even giving up meat one night a week can help. If you’re not sure where to start, make it easy by visiting one of these delicious vegan restaurants in San Francisco.

Greens Restaurant: Boasting fabulous views of the San Francisco Bay and a delicious menu, Greens is San Francisco’s most famous vegetarian restaurant. Picky kids (and adults) are welcome, as the restaurant prides itself on pleasing all palates. Try the brunch, which is full of kid-favorite dishes like pancakes, a fruit and yogurt bowl and a PB & J sundae.

2 Marina Blvd.
San Francisco
Online: greensrestaurant.com

Nourish Cafe: Nourish Cafe is a neighborhood restaurant offering meat-less sandwiches, smoothies and bowls. Kids will love one of the freshly-made smoothies, burgers or wraps on the menu. Nourish has two locations, at 6th Avenue in the Richmond District and Hyde Street in Lower Nob Hill.

Various Locations
Online: nourishcafesf.com

Wildseed: This sleek plant-based restaurant serves up veggie versions of popular dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, burgers and pizza, so there’s something for everyone on the menu. Wildseed works with a registered dietician to create a nutritious menu, so you can feel good about taking the family out for dinner.

2000 Union St.
San Francisco
Online: wildseedsf.com

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