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Austin, Texas-based in.gredients hopes to revolutionize grocery shopping by using packaging only when absolutely necessary. We talked to other natural products retailers that are driving the movement forward with innovative sustainability practices.
Many natural products stores make sustainability integral to their missions, but in.gredients is taking trimming waste to a whole new level. Set to open its doors in Austin, Texas, in October, in.gredients aims to be the U.S.'s first package-free, zero-waste grocery store.
The concept is simple: Shoppers tote containers from home; weigh them at the store; slap on labels displaying the container weights; fill them with oil, grains, spices, etc.; bring purchases to the checkout, where tare weight is deducted; opt to donate a percentage of their sale to one of the store's charities; and pay. If customers bring in those same cleaned-out containers another time, they won't have to weigh them again.
In.gredients plans to carry produce, grains, nuts, dairy, dried fruits, spices, loose-leaf tea, coffee, beer, wine, baking ingredients, and even some household cleaners and personal care products. All items will be either organic or natural (when organic isn’t available), locally grown or sourced, and package free or package light.
“Some foods require minimal packaging for food-safety purposes—a good example is meat,” said co-founder Brian Nunnery. “When minimal packaging is necessary, we'll ensure that it is compostable, highly reusable and/or recyclable.” The store will carry items grown or produced outside of Texas as infrequently as possible, Nunnery added.