This zero waste grocery store hopes to make a difference

Originally published at: This zero waste grocery store hopes to make a difference | Boing Boing


I love bulk food sections in supermarkets. Not only less wasteful, but usually a lot cheaper. I especially miss the bulk section at Rainbow in San Francisco

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That can get complicated for InstaCart and the like.

I have been thinking about the amount of plastic grocery shopping produces a lot recently. Today I thought about starting a twitter shaming campaign that would call out grocery stores and/or food companies on their overuse of plastic. Something along the lines of…
“Hey Safeway, my family loves these peanut butter filled pretzels. We can go through a whole container in a single day! Too bad the plastic container they come in will be around for another 10,000 years.”

But I don’t have a twitter account, so I’ll let any like minded twitter users use my idea.

Further north, there is a full aisle of bulk products at Co-Opportunity in Santa Monica and Culver City. The Culver City store is much larger and I believe there are a lot more selections in the bulk aisle there.

I remember bulk bins at the Venice Co Op and I just couldn’t keep shopping there - too many grain bugs, moths etc.

It’s tricky that they launched this exactly at the point when hardly anybody goes to a store to get staple items like flour or dry pulses anymore. I buy fresh veg once a week (and bring my own re-usable bags for them) but all the dry goods stuff you could see in that video I get delivered to my door. Creating abundant waste unfortunately.
I feel as if they launched the concept for a reality they wanted to be true, as opposed to the reality most of us live in post pandemic. If you really sat down and looked at how cut down packaging waste for a typical consumer I think more efficient measures could be larger containers, new forms of biodegradable packaging, some kind of deposit and re-use scheme for glass jars etc. Trying to re-launch and outdated form of retail distribution I don’t think will have much impact.

Huh? Grocery stores around here are as busy as ever. I still see flour and such in everyone’s carts. Grocery delivery is a luxury that a few people in cities have and can afford, not the norm.


Yeah. I don’t know anybody who shops online for groceries. Like, literally not one person. And these zero waste stores have been around for at least a decade in several countries around Europe (Germany and Finland I know for sure because a friend of mine who only shops at those has lived in those countries, but I suspect it’s most of them. And I would be very surprised if California hadn’t had them for decades as well)

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Co-ops in the two us cities I’ve lived in over the last 50 years, one in the Midwest and one on the East Coast, have had bulk items for sale as long as I can remember. I don’t think it’s that much of a new concept, but I would like to see it more widespread.


I think the difference is that these stores exclusively have bulk items and a bring your own container policy, and that they are explicitly trying to reduce plastic waste rather than marketing bulk items as the economical choice?

Well, it’s not a grocery, but a longstanding indy video rental (!) here has branched out into coffee and, most recently, a small laundromat as businesses are leaving our small town like rats off of a ship. I was wondering about this article’s concept as more growth for them…

As we’ve shifted much of our kitchen and storage to industrial/restaurant style things (volrath pans/delis and cambros for storage etc) my eye wanders to the cleaning section. Wouldn’t it be great to tote in my big (empty) laundry detergent bottle and belly up to the bar for a fill of soap? Or dish detergent. Or rinse aid. Perhaps shipping from “your favorite restaurant supply on the web” might be what stings you in the end, but I think one could profit from not too much floorspace. Aaand, even though we buy the super-size containers it seems like they’re always going into that big blue bin on the curb.

I wonder what a 55 gal drum of Tide costs?

I’m the exact opposite. I get my veggies delivered from a CSA, and buy my dry goods at the co-op.
Almost everything comes from the bulk section.


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