New Yorkers looking to further reduce the amount of waste they produce should stuff their coats full of reusable bags and head over to Precycle. Located in Bushwick, Precycle is one of the first no-waste and package-free grocery stores on the east coast (in NYC, there is also The Fillery, currently building out their space in Bushwick as well).
Here's how it works: Customers bring their own jars or bags to the store (or they can buy them on-site). They weigh their receptacles up front, and fill up the jars with oats, honey, olive oil, and anything else they need. When they're ready to check out, the store subtracts the weight of the empty jar, so that people are just paying for the weight of items they want—no extra package required.
Owner Katerina Bogatireva, who grew up in Latvia, says the idea came to her when she wanted to change the amount of trash she produced at home in Brooklyn. "To shop in bulk... though not impossible, it’s quite difficult in New York City," Bogatireva tells Gothamist. "The farmers market is great but you maybe can’t make it every Saturday, so you have to go to multiple stores to get what you need. And I realized that I wanted to come up with a store that would be kind of easier for people to shop without the packaging."
The store's selection is limited (it's also not a huge space), but there's plenty to choose from, including fresh produce, nuts, pasta, beans, pickles, kimchi, and more. Bogatireva works with the likes of GrowNYC and Lancaster Farm Fresh to stock produce from suppliers that also share Precycle's mission of sustainability. With the exception of occasionally adding in-demand goods, such as citrus, avocados, and bananas, Bogatireva says she generally keeps produce in season.
Bogatireva happily notes that the store hasn't wasted any food in the short time it's been open (about two months now)—though she says she did have to ask her mom to help her with pickling a few things, including beets and turnips.
Precycle is located at 321 Starr St., at Cypress Avenue, in Bushwick, Brooklyn.