amNY: 3 NYC food businesses that are all about reducing waste
By Cemile Kavountzis, for AMNewYork
Zero waste is not a throwaway idea for these food businesses.
Four years ago Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his vision for New York City to become a zero-waste city by 2030. For customers looking to embody the reduce, reuse, recycle ethos beyond their own home, here’s a look at how three local brands are taking the lead in zero-waste practices.
1. Grocery store: Precycle
For Katerina Bogatireva, the idea to open a zero-waste grocery store grew out of a personal desire to create less garbage in her own household, an undertaking which proved very challenging.
“You end up going to one store for this, another store for that,” she says.
At her Bushwick grocery store Precycle, the environmentally conscious can enjoy the convenience of one-stop shopping without guilt. Since opening four months ago, she’s already had customers stop in from other states and countries.
The shop is nearly package-free — apart from a few items like deodorant and toothbrushes that come wrapped in compostable materials — and stocks fabric bags and jars from a local glass company that Bogatireva picks up herself. As much as possible, she also works with vendors who reuse containers, such as an upstate New York company that takes back honey buckets, supporting a burgeoning, circular economy which utilizes resources to their fullest capacity.
“I like working with people who are willing to go the extra mile,” Bogatireva says.
Inside, everything has been meticulously considered. Bogatireva, who once ran a wearable art gallery, has arranged the space with a relaxed, open feel, wide pathways and some greenery. There are shoots for bulk items; old-fashioned deli-style jars for preserves; and farmer’s market-like wooden bushels for produce.
“Some stores are so cluttered you get anxiety in them, especially if you have a stroller,” Bogatireva says.
Precycle is getting company; Sarah Metz, who runs a small online shop specializing in bulk food items called The Fillery out of Brooklyn, is looking for space to open a brick-and-mortar store dedicated to zero waste.