SAN DIEGO, Ca. (CBS) — More plastic-free, zero-waste grocery stores are popping up.
At “The Mighty Bin” market in San Diego, California, customers can buy many traditional groceries, but they won’t find any of them in pre-packaged plastic. Isabelle DeMillan opened the zero-waste, plastic free grocery store as an option for environmentally conscious consumers like her.
“I tried really hard to go to grocery stores and find things not in packaging as well as non-toxic products and it was such a mission to find,” DeMillan says.
At her store there are dry goods like spices, nuts and teas along with household cleaners that are stored in large bins and glass dispensers. Most customers bring their own re-usable packaging to scoop or pour out the products which are then weighed at check out.
If shoppers don’t bring their own packaging, they can buy containers from the store. There are also refrigerated pre-packaged meals in glass jars available.
There are stores like “The Mighty Bin” across the country, but it’s still very niche.
“I think you could see more coming up in certain geographic areas where you have high urban density and you have a consumer who’s willing to go through a greater degree of inconvenience for that,” Corey Chafin, a food industry consultant at Kearney said.
Chafin believes the biggest hurdle zero-waste, plastic-free grocery stores face is changing consumer behavior. “Though you may intend to shop in a certain way, in practice you’re going to go with what is most price effective and what’s convenient for you.” Chafin said.
DeMillan believes the concept can catch.
“It’s just going to be a learning curve, but once you get a hang of it, people have told me they really enjoy this way of shopping,” she says.
DeMillan hopes individual habits lead to collective change.