As reusable bags move from eco-chic trend to everyday shopping accessory, one grocery store is taking the idea to a new level. A business called In.gredients in Austin, TX is being called the nation’s first “zero waste” grocery store. They’re eliminating food packaging altogether.
“Nearly all the food we buy in the grocery store is packaged, leaving us no choice but to continue buying packaged food that’s not always reusable or recyclable,” In.gredients co-founder Christian Lane said in a press release. “Our goal is to reduce waste and promote health by ditching packaged and overly processed food altogether — revolutionizing grocery shopping as we know it.”
Shoppers who visit In.gredients will find seasonal, organic and local foods in the kind of dry bulk bins usually reserved for specialty items. The store encourages shoppers to bring their own reusable containers, but In.gredients will also offer compostable packaging.
According to GOOD.is, “Americans add 570 million pounds of food packaging to their landfills each day … 27 percent of food brought into U.S. kitchens ends up getting tossed out.” The model proposed by In.gredients hopes to change this. The store’s founders believe that if shoppers have to measure their own food into their own containers, they’ll be less likely to impulse-buy or purchase greater quantities than they need. In addition to the emphasis on reusable packaging and local foods, In.gredients will host on-site community events such as cooking classes, gardening seminars and other activities to promote healthy choices.
“We care about the health of our customers and our local food economy,” Lane said. “We want this to be a fun and insightful experience for everyone, and hope this can springboard new ideas about how we can make grocery shopping even more sustainable.”