Austin, Texas, was the birthplace of Whole Foods, the supermarket chain that brought organic food to the mainstream, but soon the city will be home to the first zero waste, package-free grocery store in the U.S.
With plans to open for business in East Austin later this year, the new store, in.gredients, will encourage customers to bring their own reusable containers to fill with local, organic groceries including grains, wine and beer, dairy and eco-friendly household cleaners.
For shoppers bringing in containers for the first time, they will be able to weigh and label containers with their tare weight, which will be deducted at the cash register. The store will also provide compostable containers for customers who don’t want to transport their own containers; shoppers will be encouraged to reuse the containers before eventually composting them.
In addition to its package-free groceries, in.gredients aims to be environmentally responsible by offering organic products whenever possible. To reduce the energy consumed to ship groceries from the farm to the shopper, the store will feature local products such as seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in Central Texas.
When locally-grown products are not available, the store will source items locally: For example, they will buy coffee beans grown abroad from a local roasting company.
“We’re prioritizing ‘reduce, reuse, then recycle’ and maximizing [local] farmer revenue,” said Christian Lane, partner of the Brothers Lane company behind the new store. “We want this to be a fun and insightful experience for everyone, and hope this can springboard new ideas about how we can make grocery shopping even more sustainable.”