Packaging-free groceries

By | August 14, 2012
I'm actually quite jarred by the image – it looks so sterile and alien. The typical (and usually also packaging-free) grocery stores in the middle east or africa are, by comparison, colorful and friendly – the kind of shopping environment that makes up for the lack of convenience of pre-packaged foods. Can't they retheme their concept to make it less sterile? Given that they are targeting a nieche market anyway, I don't think that's too much to ask!

That said, I do think it is high time this concept is reintroduced to western society. At the same time, I can see that due to higher waste quantities (less packaging = food goes foul faster = more waste – albeit of the rapidly biodegradable sort rather than the polyutherane sort), it's going to be harder to turn a profit.

/via +Scott Leighton 

The Country’s First Package-Free Grocery Store Opens Its Doors In Austin
Will consumers buy in?

11 thoughts on “Packaging-free groceries

  1. Paolo Scarabelli

    +Sophie Wrobel in Italy they also provide biodegradable plastic bags made of (i think) corn starch but they tear so easy that most people bring their own canvas shopping bags.
    They are starting to do the same in Indonesia, albeit very slowly and only in a few supermarkets. The local custom here is to give a plastic bag for every kind of product: one for fruit, one for veggies, one for frozen food, one for meat, one for fish, one for personal hygiene products, one for house cleaning, etc. I have no idea why.
    You'll even get a bag if you just buy a pack of candies.
    Multiply that by the number of inhabitants and you easily get a hundred million bags dumped daily in the environment.

  2. Linda Dean

    +Parker Boyce This is already a widespread notion. In several states you pay for plastic. Here in Oregon we are getting ready to do so also. In many stores you get a credit for bringing your own bags and at a local Co-op they have bags and boxes, but you pay for the bags. 

  3. Sophie Wrobel

    +Parker Boyce I almost forgot about that – in Europe, grocery stores charge for bags, so most people bring their own bags and baskets anyway. There's a small stack of plastic, thermo-bags, and cloth bags at the counter if you forget yours. There's also no space to let food pile up after it is scanned, so you have to pack it right away or put it back in your cart and go pack somewhere else.

    In short, already at where you're suggesting… and looking for the next step. 🙂

  4. John Bump

    +Parker Boyce — around here, several small chains, most notably vitamin cottage, already do exactly that: they supply no packaging to the customer save for whatever boxes they have left over from unpacking inbound shipments (and they charge like $0.50 for each of those.)  It provokes some hostility from unprepared customers but I shop there frequently.

  5. Parker Boyce

    I like this idea, but I'm not sure the greater populace is ready for such a radical transition to packaging and bagging with plastic bags to a store were you bring everything to take and store your food in. I think a good middle ground would be a store that didn't use plastic bags, where customers have to bring their own boxes, crates or bags to carry their food to their car in. You still have the packaging that people are already familiar with, but you cut down on the amount of plastic bags that end up getting thrown away/blown away considerably.

    Plastic bags are the greatest sin of the first world country IMO.


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