For the Conscious Consumer

The district is a community committed to environmental progress, integrating sustainable practices into planning, design and operations as part of the Penn culture.
Want to support local landmarks with similar environmental aspirations? #ShopPenn has the stories, stats, and ways to buy into the sustainability initiatives sweeping across campus. For all those making a concerted effort to reduce your own impact, read on to discover five 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.
1
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 (pre-pandemic) to combat plastics pollution and collect trash from local waterways. [They also sell DIY Cleanup Kits so you can opt to act in your own neighborhood preservation.]  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
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.

3
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).

4
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.

5
dine
Dine
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Snacks
Address

3604 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Wawa takes being a good steward of the environment very seriously and continues to implement new ways to make living on our planet more sustainable. Steps they take to protect our environment include longstanding practices such as strong store-level recycling programs that saw 18,683 tons of cans, plastics, and bottles recycled in 2019. Wawa also collected and reused 10,857 tons of coffee grounds for compost to reduce waste to landfills. This commitment also includes taking steps to understand and lessen Wawa’s impact and working with business partners to explore environmentally-friendly solutions that make sense for all our communities. Just last year, Wawa launched a new plant-based Sizzli Breakfast Sandwich made with Beyond Meat, a product line offering a plant-based protein option to customers who want to eat less or no meat and more plants.

As you make your way shopping and dining around the district, take in all the sights and sounds of nature that our campus arboretum has to offer.  With visits to the centrally-located, sprawling Blanche P. Levy Park (aka College Green) the rain garden at Shoemaker Green, or the Kaskey Park Biopond, you’ll quickly realize that the spectacular landscapes of our carefully curated urban setting are unmatched and worth celebrating. 

United By Blue

Amazon@Penn

Just Salad

HipCityVeg

Wawa