Zero Waste Grocery Stores Thrive In France

Alice Bigorgne at her Day By Day zero waste grocery store in Lille, FranceAlice Bigorgne, owner of a Day By Day zero waste grocery store in France

Zero waste grocery stores are popping up in France. Day By Day, a company whose mission is to make food shopping more environmentally responsible, has just opened its 4th zero waste market in Lille. The others are located in Versailles, Meudon-la-Forêt and Fontenay-le-Fleury.

Inspired by Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home, Alice Bigorgne decided to give up her career in marketing and open a Day By Day store in her hometown of Lille in northern France. At Day By Day, all 450 products are sold loose. You have to bring your own containers or use those donated by other shoppers for re-use. You can buy precisely the quantity of food that you want. “If you need only a single spoonful of coffee or two cinnamon sticks, I’ll sell it to you,” Bigorgne says.

Without packaging, Bigorgne can sell her products for far less money than the fancy super market down the street. She says her items are of the highest quality but sell for as much as 40% less than pre-packaged foods. We often do not realize how much the packaging costs us as consumers. And of course, disposing of all that packaging has significant social costs as well. Some of it gets recycled but too much ends up in land fills.

Shopping at a Day By Day store is a throwback to the way our grandparents shopped for food, back before everything we eat or drink came in boxes, bags or bottles. It also eliminates the environmental nightmare created by all the plastic bags we use to carry our stuff home from the market these days.

Day By Day reminds us how much the “convenience” economy really costs us as individuals and as a society. In America, some grocery chains like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s focus on offering customers nutritious food without a lot of additives. We as consumers could advocate that they also expand their selection of items sold in bulk, without packaging.

Could an idea that began in France find its way across the Atlantic to affect how we shop for groceries in the US? It could if you read this article and share it with your friends. Let’s make “zero waste” the new standard for how we shop for food for our own families.

Source: Tree Hugger. Photo Credit: Day By Day

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