When we think of our everyday lives and the impact they have on the environment, most of us probably don't consider the groceries we buy. But it’s a new year with new opportunities to decrease waste in our day to day adventures. To help us kickstart our sustainable grocery shopping journey, we talked to our friends at re_grocery, an organic, refillable grocery store located in Highland Park, Los Angeles. They shared their inspiration for creating a sustainable grocery store and gave tips on what to expect when shopping waste-free for the first time. Read on for more.
Tell us about re_ grocery – How did it come to be? What inspired you to create a refill-based grocery store?
We are both passionate about low-waste living, but were finding it so difficult to accomplish day-to-day, particularly when it came to grocery shopping. We were frustrated with the lack of truly sustainable options and felt there was a real opportunity to create a whole store full of all the refillable products you could ever dream of! Our vision is a holistic grocery experience that removes the need for plastic packaging altogether. We want to make it easy and affordable to shop sustainably. We worked on re_ in the evenings while still at our day jobs and then officially opened our first store in Highland Park, Los Angeles on Earth Day 2020. Our mission from the beginning has been to make an impact that is greater than the two of us. We’ve had a lot of people visit that are totally new to this style of shopping and are excited and enthusiastic to make it part of their lives. It’s really inspiring to see people embrace a simpler life—reconnecting with each other, with food, and with the planet.
It’s 2022! For those who have set intentions on being more sustainable this year and beyond, what advice can you give to folks transitioning into more sustainable shopping practices?
It’s about little steps, little changes in your behavior. You might not be perfect, but it’s the intention and the actions that add up. Start with something simple. Be mindful of what you’re throwing in the trash. Every week, try to eliminate one of those things. Bring your reusable mug, don’t forget a reusable bag, eat-in instead of taking out. Need some salsa for a gathering? Drop in the local taqueria with a jar and have them fill it up for you. Before you know it, it really becomes a lifestyle and you couldn’t imagine going back.
If someone is shopping at re_ for the first time, what are some key things they should know? Any beginner tips & tricks?
You can bring your own empty, clean and dry containers from home to refill! Cloth and silicone bags also work. Skip the grocery list by writing the item on the side of each jar with a wax pencil. The first thing to do in store is weigh your containers and tag them. This is so you only pay for what’s inside. Didn’t bring your own container? No worries–we have 100% post-consumer recycled paper bags or a range of glass jars/bottles for purchase. Next, fill your picks into bags or containers, making sure to write the product name or code. Hot tip: It’s much easier to write on the bags *before* you fill! Last, take your selection to the register to purchase.
We also just launched a new website, so if you don’t have time to shop in store, you can order everything online for pick up or next-day Los Angeles delivery.
We at Bathing Culture are so inspired by re_ and all our wholesale partners that are making sustainability more accessible. What’s something that’s inspiring you all lately?
We are endlessly inspired by all the independent brands we love, like Bathing Culture, that not only use the best quality ingredients available, but also champion sustainability. We love finding kindred spirits in brands that are open to trying new formats, like refillable products, and brands that really consider the environmental impacts of the packaging they’re using. They are going to be the brands that matter for generations to come.
Where can folks find re_ and learn more?
You can visit us in store on York Blvd in Highland Park, Los Angeles and we’re working on opening more stores around Los Angeles soon! You can also find us online at regrocery.co.