2 New York City businesses going packaging-free in effort to reduce waste

Lauren Glassberg Image
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
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Lauren Glassberg reports on the package-free grocery stores.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Think about how much waste comes from a typical trip to the grocery store, including grocery bags, boxes and containers.

While some of it gets recycled, most ends up in the landfill. But two local businesses are hoping to change that.

At Katerina Bogatireva's grocery store, what you see is food. What you won't see is packaging. No labels, not boxes - just the food.

"For me personally at some point in my life I realized I produce a lot of trash and most of it is food packaging," said Bogatireva.

So in December she opened Precycle, where she sells produce, spices. oils, even soap, helping customers avoid filling landfills. And she works with purveyors that help her business reduce waste too. The tofu, for example, gets delivered in reusable buckets.

"I think its very important to reduce your disposable plastic use because we have a planet to pass on to future generations," she said. "If we continue the way we are consuming I think we'll be in trouble."

And if you forget a container you can buy one there in a variety of sizes. The hope is that you will reuse it.

Several blocks away at the Bushwick Food Co-op, Tamara Lim is shopping for her company, The Wally Shop, a zero waste delivery service.

"We're kind of like the 21st century milk man," she said. "We lend you our packaging, you use it up and then you can return it to a Wally Shop courier on a future delivery."

The Wally Shop also sources at Precycle and farmers markets. Items are divvied up at their warehouse and delivered to customers.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for you to make the sustainable choice so you don't have to compromise when you do buy your groceries," said Lim.

Deliveries come via bicycle because after all, that makes good environmental sense.


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