By Fredrica Syren:
As more and more people jump on the zero waste movement bandwagon, more businesses see the potential financial benefits of giving consumers what they want — more with less waste. Sweden, already in the forefront when it comes to being one of the most green and eco-friendly countries, opens its first zero waste grocery store in Malmö.
The store, called Gram, is a new type of “zero waste” grocery store, so there is no packaging, just produce from local farms and makers, as well as store-cupboard essentials from around the world. Shoppers can either fill their own containers (jars, boxes, bags, etc.) from the dispensers, or use the paper bags provided.
Sweden has been slow in offering food in bulk in grocery stores like those in the U.S., where it has become more common. One of the reasons cited is that it would not be hygienic; however, Gram is reassuring shoppers that their dispensers are made from food grade, BPA-free plastic. Most of the food is stored and dispensed from sealed “gravity silos,” so no hands touch the food. It’s a very hygienic and safe system.
Gram was born at a time of a crucial need to reduce the waste created daily. Even in a green country like Sweden, household trash amounts to c. 466 kgs per person per year.
The U.S. also features zero waste stores. So far, they can be found in Denver and Brooklyn. Denver’s Zero Market, in order to create a more convenient way to live zero-waste and help the community prevent and divert as much trash from the landfills as possible, sells organic, plastic-free, bulk and local food with no waste. In New York, Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tosses has opened a pop-up zero-waste store called Package Free in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, from May until July. The goal here is to provide the tools that shoppers need for trash-free living.
In a world where temperatures are rising due to global warming, and there is plastic polluting our oceans and landscapes, we all must take any steps toward reducing our waste, being kinder to the planet, and reducing our carbon footprint. By shopping without unnecessary packaging, you can take one of those small steps.