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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Tare: a zero-waste, sustainable and organic grocery store in LA

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Los Angeles-based Tare is a package- and single-use plastic-free grocery store that promotes organic, zero-waste and sustainable living.

What do Tesco, Asda, Walmart, Target and other such supermarkets have in common? A seemingly unending range of products? Sure. But they also have another thing in common. If you guessed plastic bags, you are correct. While shopping at these supermarkets, many come back with single-use plastic bags.

Imagine going to a supermarket and not getting your groceries packed in a plastic bag. We all know the price of this convenience is extremely costly to the environment. A survey conducted by Greenpeace in 2018, covering 10 supermarkets, states that these markets were selling 1.1 billion tonnes of single-use plastics to their consumers. This figure comprises data collected from only 10 supermarkets, which seems enormous. But the global plastic epidemic is gigantic compared to that.

The cries of this crisis haven’t been ignored. Many initiatives have been taken to curb plastic use. Be it: a governmental ban of single-use plastic, NGO initiatives to clean up plastic waste from beaches, or recycling programs by companies. Several businesses have adopted anti-plastic initiatives in place.

One such business is Tare, a grocery store in Highland Park, Los Angeles. It is taking on the fight against the plastic pandemic. Tare is a single-use plastic-free, package-free and non-GMO-product grocery store situated at the heart of Hollywood. If there is one thing we know about big cities, it is their love for convenience and, as mentioned, with plastic packaging comes comfort. Despite this demand, this recently opened grocery store has sustained and continues to profit.

zero waste grocery store
Photo: Tare Grocery/Instagram

So, how is Tare functioning without single-use plastic? By offering glass jars, reusable grocery bags and other refillable containers. This means its customers make a one-time purchase of these carriers and use it forever. Moreover, for those who can’t afford to take away containers or bags, the grocery store provides 100% recycled paper bags for free.

Tare is on a “mission to make sustainability the new standard”. It carries over 400 varieties of paroducts. Whether it is spices, nuts, beauty products, kombucha, oils, or vegan foods, the store has it all. Furthermore, the store carries non-GMO, organic, clean and high-quality products.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an average American discards around 225g of trash every single day, and grocery stores’ packaging contributes significantly to that number. Tare aims to reduce this waste and close the loop of the packaging cycle.

Read how dumpster diver Matt Homewood recovers supermarket food waste.

The idea of carrying glass jars and other containers into a store can be intimidating. However, the business operation structure of Tare is very simple. The customers choose their products and fill their jars or containers with them. Having container packaging when it comes to weighed products can be confusing. Therefore, the grocery store practices fair and transparent pricing. For example, when buying a kilo of almonds, your jar is weighed beforehand, and that weight is deducted from the almonds’.

 

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A post shared by tare (@taregrocery)

Another exemplary business model of this grocery store is not selling individual jars of condiments. For instance, products like peanut butter and almond oil are stored in one big container. So, a customer would bring their own jar and transfer these products into it.

Even though Tare has a selection of many assorted goods, it does not sell fresh produce like vegetables and meat. The store does, however, sell tofu, vegan cheese, and other refrigerated products, as well as a wide selection of vegan beauty products.

Moreover, it offers a great refill and recycle program. Tare customers can bring their old glass jars or empty makeup containers to the store. The store will then thoroughly sanitise and rebrand them for resale purposes, and pay around $2 per container.

These encouraging initiatives go a long way in the fight against plastic. Tare’s business mantra is to provide sustainable and zero-waste services to its customers, in a bid to help preserve the environment.

Read about UK supermarket Asda’s sustainable store.