BUSHWICK, Brooklyn — When it comes to grocery shopping in New York City, one of the main topics of conversation is whether or not they should put a tax on plastic bags or eliminate them all together.
One grocery store in Brooklyn is taking it to the next level.
Shoppers don’t just need to bring their own bags, they need to bring their own containers too. That’s because the goal at Precycle is zero waste.
“Precycling means making purchase decisions that would avoid sending things to landfill or recycling,” Katerina Bogatireva said.
Bogatireva is betting everything on sustainable shopping. She opened Precycle, a bulk grocery store in Bushwick, last month after realizing just how much waste she was creating with her family.
“For example we eat a lot of rice and every time we eat rice it’s a lot of packaging,” she said.
Shoppers can bring their own bags and containers or buy them at the store. They weigh the empty containers and that price is subtracted from the final bill. Shoppers then choose their serving size for staples without the waste.
While some specialty items are more expensive, most prices are on par with a normal grocery store.
Lea Thali found about the store after making a New Year’s resolution to cut her carbon footprint.
“There’s so many staples that we buy that don’t need to be in a million layers of plastic and cardboard, so yeah I think zero waste is the way to go,” Thali said. “I work for the parks department and we do a lot of beach clean ups so I see just how much single use plastic ends up on our beaches.”
That’s exactly what Bogatireva hopes other shoppers will realize when they come to her store: that the way they shop has a larger impact on the environment.
“I think we have a responsibility to our future generations,” she said. “I’d like my son and his kids to enjoy the planet like I’ve had a chance to.”
And she’s hoping that starts at the grocery store.