I want to walk into a store and buy everything I need without contributing to any single-use plastic, paper or glass waste. Think about it: in the olden days people brought baskets, sacks, jars and bottles to the general store and filled them up with the items they needed. Then the Kellogg company invented sealed paper packaging in 1914 which later morphed into the sealed plastic packaging that dominates our marketplace today and our planet and landfills have never been the same.
Despite the ease of prepackaging, packaging-free and bulk shopping is actually making a come back. My local health food co-op Co-opportunity, for instance, offers several rows of bulk items: grains, flour, beans, cookies, dried fruit, candies, teas, coffee, soap, spices - you name it. They even sell affordable glass jars for storage. You could honestly buy all the food you need to live on at this store without ever having to buy something that comes in a box or a can.
If you're like me though and you are still dreaming of a grocery store that houses ZERO prepackaging waste, then that dream may finally come true. A collaborative group of business owners, community members and consumers in Austin, Texas is planning to open in.gredients in late summer, 2012. In.gredients will be the first packaging-free grocery store in the United States. If it does well, I could see a whole slew of such stores popping up around the globe. A few years ago, this would have been no more than a dream. Consumers, however, have become much more knowledgeable and concerned about the consequences of their purchases and that wisdom is going to drive grocery shopping to become a greener, less-wasteful industry. I believe! I believe!