What is it like to go food shopping at a package-free grocery store?

·3-min read

We’re all trying to live in ways that are a little less harmful to the environment. But that doesn’t mean it’s always practical.

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Founded by Katerina Bogatireva, Precycle in Brooklyn is a zero-waste, package-free grocery store that makes it easier to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. The supermarket works with local sustainable farmers and distributors so that customers always know where their food is coming from. And yes, because everything is package-free, patrons must bring their own reusable containers or purchase ones at the store.

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Watch as In The Know’s Poppy Shen visits Precycle to check out the one-of-a-kind shopping experience for herself.

“I’ve been trying to bring sustainability into my day-to-day life. But as a young professional living in NYC, I also care about practicality and affordability,” Poppy says. “So let’s experience firsthand what it is like to shop at a zero-waste grocery store.”

First, she weighs her reusable containers and labels them. Then she fills them up with the items on her checklist (rice, pasta, bread, veggies, etc.). When she checks out, the tare weight is deducted from the total price, and she only pays for her food.

Poppy notes the store has some beautiful displays of “glass jars, bins and containers. And separated by categories such as fruits, veggies, pasta, grains and spices.” Adding that, “It’s also really cool to be able to see the food for what it is, instead of all the packaging and marketing it comes with.”

The price tag is in line with Poppy’s budget, costing her $98 for one to two weeks of groceries. However, having to carry a bunch of full glass jars and containers on her way back home means she has to opt for a car service instead of the far more affordable subway.

Another downside (depending on your preference) is that Precycle doesn’t sell meat, frozen items or common prepackaged snacks, like Oreos or CHEETOS.

“My first zero-waste grocery shopping experience was definitely eye-opening. I think living in a big city and having a busy schedule, it’s easy for us to choose convenience over sustainability,” Poppy says. “But if we have the right tools and use the right methods, we can practice green living in a very affordable and practical way. And little things we do, like grocery shopping, can have a huge impact on our environment.”

For New Yorkers who are still avoiding in-person shopping or for those who live further from the store, Precycle is partnering with GoodGoods to provide next-day delivery in reusable containers beginning in April.

“The whole process is designed to be convenient and accessible to New Yorkers who want to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. We will deliver products to customers’ doors in an electric van and collect all used and empty containers for future reuse,” Bogatireva told In The Know. “So those who do not live close to the Precycle store can still enjoy our product selection in a waste-free format. The service initially will be available in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.”

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The post What is it like to go food shopping at a package-free grocery store? appeared first on In The Know.

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