There are plenty of reasons to love living in Ann Arbor. We have some amazing educational opportunities, spectacular local businesses and, of course, an incredible sense of community. But today, we’re specifically talking about our reputation as an eco-friendly city!
A2 keeps sustainability in mind. In fact, we’ve been named one of America’s greenest cities for years due to our many parks, sustainability practices, recycling program and more.
To celebrate our eco-friendly town, we rounded up some of our favorite local businesses that are passionate about the environment. Whether you’re just passing through or are a full-time Ann Arborite, check out some of the most sustainable places to patronize in the city!
This Ann Arbor shop has been operating in town for more than four decades. Currently located in Kerrytown Market & Shops, 16 Hands is a destination for original, finely crafted objects of uncommon quality and character, including jewelry and accessories, unique gifts, and items for the home, office and garden. When it comes to sustainability, 16 Hands doesn’t skimp. They are avid recyclers and have been the recipient of Washtenaw County’s Waste Not Award several times. Most of their gift-wrapping papers are made using recycled or sustainable materials and many of the artists they represent work with reclaimed materials.
Is there anything better than a locally curated tea blend from Arbor Teas? Black, green, white, oolong, pu-erh, rooibos, herbal, decaf and more — they have a loose leaf tea blend for every occasion. And if you’re new to the tea world, they also sell a variety of brewing equipment so that you can make the perfect cup whenever you want. But they aren’t just passionate about tea; they care about the environment, too! In 2010, they became the first tea company in the United States to deliver a full line of organic loose teas in 100%, backyard compostable packaging—including the labels, adhesive and body of the bag.
Argus Farm Stop is basically a year-round farmers’ market with two locations around the Ann Arbor area. Their mission is to grow the local agricultural community by providing a place where local farms can sell their produce and other goods to consumers year-round. This not only helps support our local producers, businesses and farmers, but it also helps reduce Ann Arbor’s overall carbon footprint! Instead of having produce shipped from across the country, we can enjoy food that was made and grown right here. In addition to their markets, Argus Farm Stop provides training to others looking to start this type of store—including Chelsea’s own Agricole Farm Stop—so that Southeast Michigan can become a thriving, sustainable paradise for farmers and produce lovers alike.
BYOC (which stands for “bring your own container“) is a brand-new, mobile refill station on East Liberty Street. Full of amazing, eco-friendly household cleaning and personal care products, this is a fantastic destination for sustainability lovers throughout the city! All you have to do is bring your empty containers to BYOC and fill them up to your hearts content with dish soap, hand soap, shampoo bars, lotion bars and more. Then, feel free to peruse their other sustainable offerings, including hand brushes, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable “paper” towels, and bars of locally made soap.
Founded in 2002, Canopy Landscapes is a locally owned landscaping company that does it all. They’ll help you design your dream landscape; provide proper installation of hardscapes and softscapes; and help you continue to maintain it for as long as you need! They also offer horticulture services, holiday lighting services and snow removal. Throughout it all, Canopy Landscapes also manages to be as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible, helping preserve the local environment through permeable pavers, swales, wood mulch and more. Click here to read all the different sustainable landscaping services they currently offer!
Owned and operated by the same team behind Ann Arbor’s The Lunch Room Café & Bakery, Detroit Street Filling Station is housed in the historic building that was once the home of The Staebler Family Oil Company. Today, they’re churning out plant-based eats that make everyone, regardless of diet, love vegan cuisine! But in addition to tasty grub, they are also doing their part for the environment through reusable takeaway lunch boxes, seasonable menus, recycling and so much more.
Ann Arbor’s Fresh Forage fills the community’s need for both convenience and health, featuring “fast-casual” healthy food that everyone will love. The team’s ingredients are sourced from their own family farms and other local farms, and several are sustainably foraged from Michigan’s deep woods. Using 100% compostable materials, they prepare these meals rapidly so the busy people of Ann Arbor can fuel up on the go.
This farm-to-table restaurant (which was named one of the top 10 Eco-Conscious Restaurants in the U.S. by Culture Trip) offers seasonal and daily rotating menus that are filled with farm–fresh ingredients and local, sustainable products. Because the menu can change daily, you’ll get something new and innovative every time you stop by. But you can rest assured these flavorful dishes will satisfy your every craving.
Joob is a brand-new activewear company headquartered in Ann Arbor, selling sustainable clothing and promoting fair trade initiatives. They invest 1% of their revenues in local environmental initiatives through Huron River Watershed Council while another portion of their revenue goes towards carbon reducing projects, working tirelessly to be climate neutral and zero waste. When you shop at Joob, you’re not only buying some cool activewear to don in your adventures, but you’re also supporting the environment. Click here to read all about their current sustainability plans (and to start shopping online)!
The next time you find yourself in need of a ride, give Michigan Green Cars a call! This rideshare company, which uses eco-friendly cars, operates all across southeast Michigan—including Ann Arbor. Their fleet of 150 cars saves more than 1,200,000 gallons of fuel per year traveling the same distance as their competition. They are also able to reduce their pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by 70% every year, all by using hybrid vehicles. Their app is available for Apple and Android products, which you can use to book cars in the Detroit metro area. You can also book a car using their website!
People’s Food Co-Op has been an Ann Arbor staple for almost 50 years, offering a wide range of all-natural and organic foods from a variety of local farmers and food producers. Here, you can buy bulk lentils, flour, peanut butter, honey and so much more to help save on packaging and fuel and support the Ann Arbor community.
Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Print-Tech Inc. provides the best in printing, digital imaging, mailing and distribution services throughout southeast Michigan. Here, they strive to reduce their energy consumption, pollution and waste by establishing efficient and green business practices. They not only offer a large selection of recycled content paper, but they also use low-volatile organic compounds; are 100% computer-to-plate (which eliminates the need for chemical processing); recycle all solvent, inks and oils; recycle all cardboard and paper products; use alcohol-free press solutions; and so much more. Click here to read about everything Print Tech does to be as sustainable as possible!
Using the highest quality seafood based on seasonal availability and sustainability, Taste Kitchen prides themselves on being an eco-friendly Ann Arbor business. Their service, a blend of French and New American, is tailored to be “as refreshing as the cuisine,“ offering exquisite dishes, wine and more.
The Mail Shoppe is a 100% locally owned, UPS authorized shipping outlet where you can ship items all over the world while also supporting the Ann Arbor community. Because they are a small business, that allows them to ship more sustainably, by reusing boxes, bubble wrap and packing peanuts. And when they can’t reuse something, they recycle it—including boxes, paper products, shipping supplies and more.
Locations All Across Ann Arbor
If you’re new to Ann Arbor and have never heard of Zingerman’s, we promise you’ll be seeing them everywhere soon. While they started as a small neighborhood grocery store in 1982, they are now a city-wide operation with everything from restaurants to a creamery to a coffee roastery to a mail order service that ships world-class foods all over the planet. But while they may be a massive operation these days, they haven’t lost their love for Ann Arbor and the environment. Planet Zingerman’s is a group of Zingerman’s employees that work together on sustainability issues and environmental initiatives for their community of businesses. This has allowed them to continue to do better for the environment every year, from changing up their ingredient sources to managing their waste differently and offering more responsible packaging. To read all about their environmental plans, click here!
Happy Earth Day!
One of the best ways to reduce your waste and live more sustainably is to shop local! So be sure to list your favorite A2 stops—vocally sustainable or not—in the comments below.