The shop, located on 321 Starr Street in Bushwick, is set to open Thursday, December 6, and combines the sustainable practices of a farmers market with old-school bulk purchasing. To help reduce the carbon footprint even more, the grocer is sourcing its products from farmers throughout the Northeast to cut down on the mileage the food has to travel before reaching store shelves.
"The demand for new plastic production and plastic waste that finds its way into our environment is largely influenced by the constant use of plastic in our daily lives," said Precycle founder Katerina Bogatireva. "So if consumers can be encouraged to make 'no-plastic packages' a regular choice, half of the battle is won. This is what Precycle aspires to do."
Growing up in Riga, Latvia, plastic wasn't easily available and Bogatireva would bring jars to the market. After moving to New York, she quickly adapted to the easy disposal culture but also became concerned about the amount of plastic she used. She challenged herself to avoid as much waste as possible, slowly replacing disposable items with reusable materials and thereby formed the idea for a packaging-free grocery store.
Shoppers can find everything they need at Precycle: fresh produce, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, flours, pasta, fresh breads and bakery items from L'imprimerie, and even a variety of household and beauty products are sold in refillable format. Bogatireva is also currently researching bulk dog and cat food suppliers.
Customers can bring their own containers or purchase them from the store, which offers a selection of jars, re-useable cotton bags or recycled paper bags. Containers brought by shoppers will be weighed upon arrival and after they've been filled, so that customers only pay for the amount they buy.
As Precycle grows, Bogatireva and the team hope to expand the store's assortment and, eventually, open additional Precycle stores in other neighborhoods.