Barcelona was a Zero Waste dream! Bulk shops selling pasta, soap, nut butters, WINE, detergents, and dried fruits, plastic free bakeries, waste sorting bins, and independent produce shops – it was all there.
Over the course of the week we were in Barcelona I visited a handful of bulk stores and other mention-worthy shops selling sustainable goods. I also learned about city programs promoting sustainability, brunched at a zero waste restaurant and I want to share it all here. It wasn’t the purpose of my time in Barcelona to visit everything zero waste related, I don’t even think I could have, but I did see a lot! I wanted to keep our trip stress free, so instead of trying to cram it all in a week, I visited the places that were recommended to me by friends, some I knew from Instagram, and a few other places I came across by pure coincidence.
This was the first zero waste store I walked into in Barcelona and was mesmerized at first sight. It’s located on a busy street in the hip Gracia neighborhood, but you might walk right past it if you aren’t looking for it. To my delight, there were quite a few customers doing their shopping, so much so that I had to wait a few minutes in line to pay. But I didn’t mind at all, that just means more zero waste shoppers! They encourage the use of your own reusable bags and containers, offering a 3% discount for doing so. They also made a point to deduct the tare weight of my bag, which I thought was a very kind gesture as it’s not always the case in the USA. They sold pasta, dried fruits and nuts, many types of granola and muesli, nut butters, teas, spices, flours, and many more bulk items.
Address: Carrer de Astúries, 26 – 08012 – Barcelona
This Co-op was located very near Gra de Gracia. Although it’s not a plastic free, zero waste store, they sell many bulk items including detergent, nuts, and dates. Unlike the zero waste shops I visited, you can find organic and local fruits and vegetables at El Cau.
Address: Torrent de l’Olla, 51 08012 Barcelona
This is one of the bulk shops I came across simply by coincidence. I had previously done my shopping at Gra de Gracia, so I didn’t need to buy anything, but I still went in to see what kind of products they offered, and because, why not?! They had pasta, peanut butter, dried fruits, spices, and so much more. Unlike Gra de Gracia’s dim and sophisticated interior, this store was bright and cheerful. Check out their calendar to ask about the sustainable living workshops offered.
It’s also worth noting there is a Granel Sitges location. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the store in my short time in Sitges because of the holy week holiday closures.
Casa Ramona was another lovely surprise encounter. We were in the neighborhood planning on visiting Yes Future, which was not yet open, when I spotted a sign that grabbed my attention. We walked in to find a charming plastic free store with many bulk food options. We bought bulk pasta soup (fideo) and a dehydrated soup for the camping trip we were planning but didn’t end up doing. When paying, we asked the owner about Ramona, who was she? Ramona was his grandmother, and he named the store after her in honor of the simpler life she led in a small town, decades ago. I just loved that. If you visit Casa Ramona don’t forget to bring your own bags and containers to receive a 5% discount.
Address: Carrer Tamarit 134, Barcelona
This store had it ALL. Its minimal, bright interior housed bulk food, bulk wine, bulk liquid and dry detergents, zero waste tools, pasture raised eggs, and much more. Yes Future has been quite popular, appearing in several articles, and it’s clear to see why. Besides having an extensive bulk selection, they worked hard to provide local and organic products that truly align with their sustainable mission.
Fernando and I happened to be walking back to our Airbnb from having visited the house where my grandmother was born when we walked past two guys on bikes and a sign that said Barcelona Zero Waste. I just had to talk to them! It turns out Barcelona has a zero waste program aimed at educating residents on how and why to reduce their waste. Meeting them and learning about this program was a highlight of my day!
Learn more about the program here: barcelona.cat/residuzero
One of the primary reasons why Barcelona makes it easy to be zero waste is their extensive recycling program – including organic waste! Everywhere I went in the city I saw the big colored bins where residents are to empty out their glass, cardboard, plastic containers, and organic waste. I was mostly envious of the organic waste bin, which makes composting such an easy task for apartment dwellers. Unfortunately though, when talking to friends and family living in Barcelona, I learned that many people don’t sort the trash as well as they could, which results in cross contamination and unnecessary waste going into the landfill.
We met up with our friends Rocio of Zero Waste Kitchen and Francois of Origo Bakery on a rainy Saturday at this cute cafe selling sustainably delicious food. We each shared the poached eggs and avocado toast paired with a delicious almond milk coffee. Alba, the owner, briefly shared with me about their zero waste efforts and challenges. Operating a zero waste restaurant is no easy task. Working with vendors, finding ingredients, and properly disposing of waste takes time and effort, but it’s very much appreciated. If you’re in Barcelona, make sure to visit this place, not only to support a zero waste business, but also because it’s so good!
Barcelona not only has world class architecture and rich a history, it’s also an urban zero waste mecca. This city has become one of my favorites, and yes, its zero waste friendliness definitely has something to do with that!