When running into the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner, you may or may not be thinking of all the waste that goes into grocery stores. From individual wrappers to plastic bags and plastic packaging, your plastic use can really add up before you even walk out the door. And the numbers don’t lie.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that containers and packaging make up 23 percent of landfill waste. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American creates around four pounds of trash every day, most of which is related to our food habits.
And all that trash? It’s having serious consequences for our planet. There are around 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the world’s oceans and an estimated 700 marine species are being threatened with extinction as a result of this waste.
But what if there was a type of grocery store that had no plastic packaging, advocated for customers to bring their own bag and offered loose items package free? Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Zero-waste stores have been cropping up worldwide over the last few years, from England to Australia, as more and more awareness is drawn to our plastic pollution crisis.
So, if you’re looking for a zero-waste grocery store next time you travel, here are just some of our favorites!
1. The Bulk Market in London, United Kingdom
The Bulk Market was created by Ingrid Caldironi after she adopted a zero-waste lifestyle and quickly learned that it is quite difficult to maintain, considering traditional grocery stores and supermarkets are all full of plastic.
The Bulk Market offers over 300 products, all stored in glass jars and bulk dispensers. At the store, one can get everything from pasta, legumes, and fresh bread, to bamboo toothbrushes and toilet paper wrapped in paper, not plastic.
To learn more about the Bulk Market, click here.
2. Nude Food in Cape Town, South Africa
Nude Foods is the South Africa capital’s first plastic-free grocery store, that allows customers to either use their own containers from home or their in-store eco-friendly packaging. Customers will find “non-GMO, healthy and affordable wholefoods and earth-friendly body and home products – all sold by weight.”
To learn more about Nude Foods, click here.
3. Earth.Love.Food in Devon, England
The Earth.Food.Love grocery store was created by Richard and Nicola Eckersley, who were inspired to start the project after their visit to Unperfekthaus, a zero waste shop in Germany. After returning to the UK, the couple opened their own sustainable store. They decided to do so in a place where the shop would make a difference to the city’s local community – that is how they ended up in Devon.
The store sells up to 200 products, each and every one of them pesticide-free, ethically-sourced, and packaging-free. The store’s owners are also dedicated to educating others on the topic of zero-waste living and have already created their own guide to “Setting up your Own Zero-Waste Shop.” Their end goal is to be the inspiration for as many people as possible, and they hope to see many more businesses similar to theirs pop up all around the world.
To learn more about Earth.Food.Love, click here.
4. Original Unverpackt in Berlin, Germany
Original Unverpackt, Germany’s first zero-waste grocery store, doesn’t offer plastic bags or sell anything that comes in a disposable container, instead offering grains in bulk bins and offering beverage stations where customers can fill up reusable bottles.
For more information on Original Unverpackt, click here.
5. The Fillery in Brooklyn, New York
Inspired by emerging zero-waste supermarket chains in Europe, Sara Metz had the idea to open up a zero-waste shop in her own community of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. She named it The Fillery, with the mission of “[improving] the health of our community […] and the environment by offering alternatives to the plastic entombed, chemical-laden options which are ubiquitous in both pantries and landfills worldwide.”
To learn more about The Fillery, click here.
How You Can Help
If there isn’t a zero-waste grocery store in your city, help one come to life! Speak with your local community members and see how a zero-waste store could start. And you certainly don’t need a zero-waste store to start making changes in your own life. Knowing the damage that our plastic habit is wreaking on the planet and marine life, we all have the responsibility to stop this.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
Whether you cut one piece of plastic out of your daily routine or choose to go entirely plastic-free, we can all make a huge difference. To learn more about how you can reduce your plastic use, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.
Lead Image Source: Earth.Love.Food