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Some market entrepreneurs see a solution in the biggest store change imaginable: designing waste out of grocery stores altogether by creating what are known as zero-waste grocery stores. Over the last decade, some retailers also started rethinking their waste footprint and designed stores that encourage customers to bring their own containers. The Refill Shoppe in Ventura California is one such store. The self-described “eco-conscious” shop sells bath, body and household liquids in bulk. In the food category some retailers, including The Filling Station In New York, have dedicated their entire store to selling just a few items in bulk. The Filling Station sells olive oil, vinegar, salt and beer that customers purchase using refillable containers.
While this refill model, which emphasizes reducing packaging waste, has worked for specialty shops, larger grocery stores are trying to figure out how to successfully apply this model to a zero-waste design. At the grocery retail level, a commitment to zero waste means aggressively reducing food and/or packaging waste.