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Bulk Bin Bliss: Does L.A. Need a Packaging-Free Grocer?

Austin recently opened a store where there isn't a single item sold in packaging. Do we need a grocer like this too? (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
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Angelenos are outwardly concerned with being eco-friendly. (Well, unless you consider the heinous amount of driving we do on a daily basis.) We tote around reusable bags, meticulously separate recyclables for our bins, and proudly drive around the newest plug-in Priuses. Hey, we even bring reusable bottles to our overpriced Golden Bridge yoga classes sometimes! But the thing we haven't mastered yet -- at least not to the level of a new grocery store in Austin -- is eliminating the need for packaging altogether.

Ingredients, a green grocer based in the progressive Texas capitol, has completely eliminated the need for wrappers and packaging in their shop, encouraging customers to bring in their own containers to carry home their purchases.

Says Clean Plates:

"The country’s first zero-waste, package-free grocery store, in.gredients, opened for business in August and has been a great success. In the spirit of a farmers market for groceries, in.gredients reminds people to reduce and reuse, not only recycle. Customers bring their own containers to stock up on the goods, paying by weight (minus that of containers) for everything from leeks and laundry detergent to brownies and beer. The products include many gluten-free and vegan options, and all have a few guiding principles in common: they’re local, GMO-free (genetically modified organisms), GE-free (genetically engineered) non-processed and all-natural. Plus there’s the option to grab a healthy lunch at the deli counter."
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Though we have plenty of bulk bins at establishments like Whole Foods, Atwater Crossing, and Erewhon, no Angeleno grocer has taken it to this level. But it certainly does seem like a good idea. Pair this with the innovative edible packaging we wrote about last week, and we might be able to make a significant dent in the waste our city produces.

Now about those auto emissions...

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