The 411 on Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

The prepackaged legumes in aisle six? No more. The bags of flour in the baking section? Unavailable. And the quintessential “Paper or plastic?” question posed to you at the checkout counter? Forget about it.

Welcome to the zero-waste grocery store.

In order to mitigate waste and promote environmental sustainability, zero-waste grocery stores adopt a minimalist approach toward bags, packaging, and wrappers. Take Brooklyn’s soon-to-be The Fillery, for instance.

Upon its grand opening, The Fillery’s customers will have the opportunity to participate in a three-step consumer experience unique to zero-waste grocery stores. First, the type of storage unit will be determined and supplied by consumers. Next, a taring station will inform customers of the weight of their selected storage units. After that, consumers will retrieve the precise amount of groceries that their hearts (or recipes) desire.

From a culinary standpoint, it’s cool that zero-waste grocery shoppers can customize the quantity of goods purchased to the precise amount of ingredients called for in particular recipes. We’ve all been there when the recipe we’ve selected calls for only a tablespoon or two of some obscure ingredient, and once we arrive at the grocery store, the only option is a prepackaged bulk version!

Consumers’ abilities to tailor their purchases to their cooking needs truly differentiates zero-waste grocery stores from their conventional counterparts. In addition to mitigating food waste, zero-waste grocery stores also empower consumers to adopt more eco-conscious habits. For example, The Fillery’s founder felt called to act after witnessing the sheer magnitude of materials utilized and discarded improperly; in particular, the scope of plastic pollution struck a cord with this founder.

While zero-waste grocery stores may appear trendy at first glance, these vendors may have the capacity to reverse the ubiquitous waste of food, plastic, and storage domestically and abroad. Below you’ll find a few strategies for supporting zero-waste grocery stores:

Three Strategies for Supporting Zero-Waste Grocery Stores:

1. While scheduling a trip domestically or internationally, check out Bepakt’s  compilation of zero-waste vendors, and plan a visit once you arrive to your vacation destination.

2. Carry part of the zero-waste grocery store experience with you to a conventional grocery store by bringing your own bags to transport your groceries home. You’ll be doing your part to sustain the environment and mitigate plastic pollution.

3. Educate yourself about the epic proportions of food waste. Not sure where to begin? Check out “NEW SERIES! Food Waste Hacks #1: Carrots,” “Food Waste Hacks #2: Broccoli,”  and “Food Waste Hacks #3: Oranges” for hassle-free tips regarding proper food storage and inventive uses for multiple components of an ingredient.

Have you ever heard about or shopped at a zero-waste grocery store? 

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,


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5 thoughts on “The 411 on Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

  1. Elizabeth

    Wow! I wish I could drive to Brooklyn right now! This is targeting two of the largest sources of trash- packaging and food waste. It is amazing to see this environmental and food justice issue acknowledged by a retailer. Thanks for sharing Katie!

  2. devotionswolf

    No I have never eaten or shopped in a Zero waste store.  I am curious if you have. Do you know if there is a zero waste store the Natick, Ma.area?

    1. I haven’t shopped at a zero-waste grocery store either, and I don’t believe that there are zero-waste grocery stores in Massachusetts yet. I hope that this changes soon though! Thank you for commenting!

  3. Ellie

    Wow, you never cease to amaze me! Until this blog, I have never ever heard about this idea. It sounds so exciting, plus the environment needs more people who care, as you do. Katie, you have been on the cutting edge since you started Project Lunchbox. Congratulations to a young woman who never quits.
    Thank you Katie.

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