Japan is sadly known for the incredible amount of plastic packaging and single-use plastic that are consumed on a daily basis in supermarkets and conbinis, from individually wrapped cookies to over-packaged fruits. Eco-friendly and zero waste goods have started being more popular in Japan in most recent years, but it is still hard to find zero waste options at your local supermarket, even in Tokyo, and specialized shops are still quite rare around town.
Where to Shop Zero Waste in Japan
We have gathered together a list of some brick-and-mortar shops as well as online stores where you can browse for alternatives to start reducing your plastic consumption or buy in bulk.
Bio C’ Bon
Bio C’ Bon is a French organic supermarket that has successfully been exported to Japan in 2016. As the name suggests Bio C’ Bon focuses on bio and organic products and even if it’s not a zero waste shop at its core, you can buy over 70 products in bulk, such as nuts, dried fruits, chocolate, cacao nibs, cereals, and granola with paper bags or bring your own container.
Sano Miso (main branch located in Koto ward) is a miso specialty store that offers 60 different kinds of miso paste, sold by weight. If you are overwhelmed by the choice, a miso sommelier will help you find the one that suits your taste and your recipes best. Bring your own container and they will kindly fill it up with your desired amount of miso paste.
Bulk Foods Market
Bulk Food Market has three branches located in Kanagawa prefecture. Jars, bottles, and paper bags can be purchased at the shop, but customers are highly encouraged to bring their own containers to fill up. Bulk Food Market offers dried fruit, nuts, olive oil, and honey. You can also pick your favorite nuts and make your customed nut butter on the spot – fresh and healthy!
Nue is a small shop located on the Chuo line near Kokubunji station. Apart from nuts and dried fruits, the peculiarity of Nua is that this shop also offers different kinds of pasta and whole grains, dry lentils, chickpeas and soybeans, cookies and chocolate, tea, and herbs. Everything is sold by weight in pretty jars you can buy there if you don’t have your own container.
Zero Waste Online Shopping
If you want to do some online shopping but you don’t want to compromise on quality and eco-friendliness you can try Eleminist and Minimal Living Tokyo.
Eleminist’s concept as an ethical and minimalist lifestyle web magazine is to introduce the most recent news on the topics of sustainability from overseas to a Japanese audience in various fields including food, beauty, and society with the objective of promoting a more minimalist lifestyle. Eleminist has also launched an online “eleminist shop” in line with their mission of being a “Guide for a sustainable lifestyle”. The online shop includes a variety of categories to browse from, from kitchen utensils to clothes, books, and even pet goods.
Minimal Living Tokyo
Minimal Living Tokyo started from the consciousness of two friends, Saina and Eri who, overwhelmed by the abuse of single-use plastics in Tokyo, decided to try to live more simply and in a more sustainable way in Japan and developed their own brand. You can find a wide or range of goods to kickstart your zero waste lifestyle with kitchen, bathroom, self-care, hair, and oral hygiene products. Of course, they also ship completely plastic-free using recycled materials.
Finally, if you are interested in DIY zero-waste alternatives, follow Ran Nomura (@zerowaste.japan) on Instagram, and check out her amazing content for tips and tricks to live almost waste-free in Japan.
Start Living Zero Waste in Japan Today!
Starting a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be perfect from the first day. Make small changes, don’t think about what new “zero waste” things you need, but rethink all the ones you already have and use!
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