London supermarket tests BYO container concept
- The U.K. chain Planet Organic is installing self-serve bulk-food dispensers that consumers can use with their refillable containers, according to Mental Floss. The grocer is partnering with sustainable packaging company Unpackaged to offer this new service.
- To use their container, consumers weigh it and attach a label with its empty weight. They can then fill it with any other bulk item before weighing it again to print the price tag for their goods.
- Planet Organic is offering cereals, legumes, grains, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, and even some cleaning products in bulk as part of this program.
Grocery stores that encourage consumers to reduce waste are popular in Europe, with stores like Unverpackt in Berlin, which doesn't offer bags or containers. The concept is also catching on stateside, such as the Fillery in Brooklyn, NY.
It's not just independently owned stores that are offering this service. East Coast chain, MOM's Organic Markets, already encourages shoppers to bring their bottles and tubs to cut down on waste.
Bringing reusable packaging to grocery stores may not be much of a stretch for some consumers, especially in cities that already have bans or fees attached to single-use plastic bags. While the debate rages on whether banning plastic bags is effective, it is clear that, even as recycling improves for grocery packaging, encouraging consumers to switch to reusable containers would serve to further reduce waste.
Some grocers report the use of reusable bags is on the rise, but there are no firm numbers available to indicate just how many shoppers consistently remember to bring them to the grocery store.
One potential problem for the BYO container cause has already been well documented for grocery tote bags: their penchant for being breeding grounds for bacteria. On the upside, it's more likely consumers will toss a plastic tub or glass jar into the dishwasher than remember to use an antibacterial wipe on the inside of a reusable bag.
Follow Cody Boteler on Twitter