Nation's First Zero-Waste Grocery Store Closes in Heart of Texas

Heartbroken, but still hopeful is how you could describe the statement from In.gredients, the nation's first zero-waste grocery store. The message announced the store's closing on April 27 with its final porch session, bringing this particular experiment on a different way to do grocery shopping to an end.

The Austin, Texas, grocer opened in 2012 with a completely package-free business model, though they shifted in 2014 to allow some packaging while still focusing on zero waste, local foods, and building community. The local grocery store was popular for its events like yoga, live music on the front porch, block parties, and classes and workshops.

In a statement, the store said, "To be honest, we're heartbroken. But don't lose heart. For over five years, we have diverted waste from landfills, supported local growers and artisans, brought people together and helped Cherrywood live a little bit healthier. Each and every one of you has been a part of that."

In.gredients did more than simply offer bulk items. They sourced organic produce from local farmers and a wide selection of prepared foods from local businesses, encouraged customers to bring in reusable bags and containers, and lived the slogan "farmer's market offerings with grocery store hours."

The store offered the community a place to gather, with a beer garden out front (along with an actual garden) where you could have local beer or a cold brew coffee and chat with your neighbors while the kids participated in a crafts class or other fun activity.

The closing may be discouraging to some, but In.gredients had hopeful words for supporters of the zero waste movement.

"The zero waste movement is still GROWING. Since we came on the scene as the nation's first zero waste grocery store, many more have sprung up all over the country. We must all continue to choose and demand local, sustainably sourced, ethically manufactured and responsibly (un)packaged products. It's not possible for this country, or this planet, to continue with business as usual for long. The fight continues - we must work hard to create a better future, together."

The owners were also optimistic about the future, noting, "We can't say for certain what comes next for our little slice of heaven on Manor Road, but we're excited for the possibilities."

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