The First 'Zero-Waste' Grocery Store In London Has Opened

Bulk Market's products are all plastic and package-free.

Reducing waste isn't exactly a sexy topic, but when you consider how much plastic and packaging we throw away each day, it's pretty hard to ignore. The average American produces 4.4. pounds of trash every single day. In 2013, the EPA estimated that Americans generated about 254 million tons of garbage. That's a lot and it's a problem. One photographer named Antoine saved his trash for four years to show you just how much of a problem it really is. 

As much as people try to raise awareness about these issues, others can't be bothered to alter their lifestyle. So, some entrepreneurs are trying to make it easier. For example, "no-trash guru" Lauren Singer, who you may know as the woman who was able to fit three years of her trash in a single mason jar, started a pop-up store called Package Free earlier this year. The store aims to be a one-stop destination for people to transition to a low-waste lifestyle. Like the name implies, all of the products are free of packaging. 

Now, a store in London has just opened with the same mission. Bulk Market is the first package-free pop up shop in London. The grocery store opened its doors in Dalston in East London a few weeks ago and is officially a plastic-free zone. 



Customers bring their own jars, reusable containers, or totes and fill them up with the products. Prices are based on weight. As a result, there's no packaging necessary and no waste created. 

"The idea came from my own needs. I wanted to support the right businesses and be able to shop without creating any waste, but there wasn't anything like that in London," Bulk Market owner Ingrid Caldironi told The Independent. "I always thought waste was a natural output of modern living, but it turns out to be poor design. Things aren't designed in a circular economy mind-set yet." 

The store carries everything from pasta, to tea, to dog food.

All of Bulk Market's products are brandless. Caldironi produces some of the products herself, but also sources them from local social entrepreneurs, co-operatives and community farms. She gets her cakes from Luminary Bakery, which employs women who have had a social and economic disadvantage in life. All the places Caldironi sources from are under a 50-mile radius from her shop. This helps to reduce the negative impacts of packaging and transportation. 

The pop-up shop was crowdfunded, but Caldironi's goal is to open up a permanent location that can make an even larger impact. 

"I want to help people understand that it's not difficult to be sustainable," Caldironi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at her store. ""When people change their behaviours, and they start demanding something different, then companies will need to change." 

It's efforts like hers that make reducing waste easier for consumers by making shopping for zero-products simple, efficient, and effortless. 

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