For the Conscious Consumer

Want to support local landmarks with similar social and environmental aspirations? #ShopPenn has the stories, stats, and ways to buy in to the ReThink Your Footprint campaign sweeping across campus.
The district is a community committed to environmental progress, integrating sustainable practices into planning, design and operations as part of the Penn culture. As you make a concerted effort to reduce your own impact, read on to discover six University-curated retailers and restaurants authentically invested in transforming this side of the Schuylkill into a more sustainable place to shop, dine, play, and stay.
Facebook Share Twitter Share Email Share
1
Learn More shop
Apparel
Breakfast
Address

3421 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

In an era where environmentally responsible brands are shifting from niche category to driving force, few live and breathe the movement quite like United by Blue. A certified B-corp (with the report card to prove it), the coffeehouse and clothier hosts regular community cleanups to combat plastics pollution and collect trash from local waterways. And that’s just the beginning. Beyond the pledge to remove a pound of debris for every product sold, United by Blue creates outdoor goods as sustainable as they are stylish. Recycled polyester, organic cotton, and natural wool get a second lease on life in Apparel, and in the café, you’ll find compostable cups and utensils. When you set foot in their store, look down: the striking maple floors were repurposed from a nearby 100-year old home in PA. While you wait for your latte to brew, check out the live-edge poplar on the bar. Green design – right down to the energy-efficient LED lighting up above – has never looked so good.

2
Learn More shop
Specialty
Address

3601 Walnut Street
2nd Floor of the Penn Bookstore
Philadelphia, PA 19104

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” doesn’t only extend into fashion and food – the mantra also has deep inroads into technology. For those interested in cutting down on e-waste, Penn Computer Connection (located on the second floor of the Penn Bookstore) is your new BFF. Not only is the computer retail outlet willing to take used rechargeable batteries, printer inks, and toners off your hands, they will also arrange for safe disposal and recycling through established programs in conjunction with the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (to name one). If you’ve got something a little bigger to drop off – say, an older laptop, smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player – take advantage of the ever-popular technology trade-in program and get a cash value credit for a future Computer Connection purchase.  

3
Learn More shop
Shop
Specialty
Address

3800 Locust Walk
Class of 1920 Commons
Philadelphia, PA 19104

No box left behind – that’s the idea behind Amazon’s Give Back Box Program. Not only does the e-commerce giant help students more easily ship and pick up packages on campus, but it also allows conscious consumers to support purpose in addition to profit. As the preference for online shopping has ramped up, so has the demand for corrugated shipping boxes. With the Give Back Box program, consumers have the option to pack their empty Amazon boxes with household items they no longer need, print a free shipping label from givebackbox.com, swing by a USPS or UPS store, and easily donate the items to a local charity – while also ensuring boxes are reused prior to being recycled. Gently used and generously gifted household items, clothing, and shoes have the power to significantly improve others’ lives. And they support efforts to reduce the estimated 11 million tons of clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, drapery, and other textiles that end up in U.S. landfills every year. Win, win.

4
Learn More dine
Dine
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Address

3728 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

There’s more to this fast-casual favorite than meets the eye. For starters, they don’t sell “just” salad. Their seasonally driven menu also includes wraps, warm bowls, toast boxes, soups, and smoothies. Each location favors local ingredients (check the farm board!) and places a serious emphasis on properly sourced protein, so your extra oomph comes from non-GMO, free-range, grass-fed beef, sustainable seafood, antibiotic-free chicken, and organic tofu. Thanks to an ingenious program that diverts 75,000 pounds of plastic waste every year, Just Salad is leading the charge towards a more sustainable food future in more ways than one. How have they been able to make such an impact? Enter the reusable bowl. Customers are given the option to buy a $1 BPA-free bowl and lid, fill it to the brim, and bring back for a discount on their next salad (in the form of two free toppings). More taste, less waste. Sound good to you, too?

5
Learn More dine
Dine
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Address

214 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Take a stroll down 40th Street between 11AM and 2PM, and odds are good you’ll spot another lunchtime staple, HipCityVeg. Here’s what may not be as noticeable: HipCityVeg’s year-round dedication to sustainability. With People, Planet, and Purpose in mind, this vegan hotspot offers a completely plant-based menu, uses locally-sourced ingredients, and composts all possible food scraps. For a quick primer, compost is a gardener’s secret weapon. The soil conditioner and fertilizer involves a combination of strategic rescues from the waste bin, patience, and time. Ultimately, compost promotes microbes that support plant growth – and the fantastic flavors taking center stage in the latest creations at HipCityVeg. Wondering about their packaging? That’s environmentally friendly, too. Everything from cutlery to cups, plates, and take-out containers is backed by the Biodegradable Products Institute and is made without petroleum, from corn and sugar by-products. For a sustainable alternative to plastic bottles, they’ve also got Boxed Water, whose boxes are made of 75% renewable materials and whose water is 100% delicious.

6
Learn More dine
Dine
Breakfast
Lunch
Snacks
Address

Ground floor of Wharton’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104

It feels fitting to wrap up this local purchasing tour with one of Penn’s greenest gems. A crowd-pleaser for coffee and lunch, Joe’s Café was awarded LEED Gold certification for its commercial interior renovation, but its sustainability mission extends to all aspects of its operation. A couple of fast facts: Joe’s recycles and composts half of its waste (including utensils and fryer oil), uses seasonal food and beverages from within 150 miles, and sticks to hormone and antibiotic-free meat and dairy along with certified humane eggs. Food waste goes to Wilmington Organic Recycling Facility, any fish brought in falls under Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines, and One Village Coffee (a fair trade and USDA organic certified B-Corp) supplies a special blend to support your short-term desire for caffeine and long-term vision of health for farmers and the earth. If you’re looking to align yourself with purposeful brands, rethink your footprint, and cast a real-time vote for the kind of world you want to live in – there’s no better place than Penn. 

39.9530897, -75.1931865
39.9533929, -75.1952334
39.9524534, -75.1993625
39.951057, -75.1984762
39.95357236732, -75.20290501275
39.9517874, -75.1963042