Tuesday, July 5, 2011

in.gredients the nation's first zero-waste, package-free grocery store!

Our Story

We're Brothers Lane - i.e. Christian, Joseph, and Patrick Lane, three brothers who have a knack for innovation + business sense and a passion for promoting sustainable living - plus Chris and Brian, who don’t have Lane blood but share the same passions.

For years we've been finding ways to live more sustainably. After realizing that waste is actually just a human invention, we’ve each started home gardens; we compost, recycle, and more importantly re-use as much as possible, weeding out unnecessary waste. We’ve been able to reduce over half the waste our households generate, with only one major hurdle: groceries.

While we reuse food containers / packaging all the time, we still have to buy more food packaging at the store because it’s unavoidable. While we can use reusable bags for produce and carrying things, we can’t (legally or in a way that’s socially acceptable) get cereal out of cereal boxes or household cleaners out of bottles to take home. Because of this, a majority of the waste and recycling streaming through our homes is unnecessary, since we could have brought our own containers to the store to fill them. Of the 1.4 billion pounds of waste landfilled per day in the US, 560 million pounds is packaging - most of which is used just once, before another package is bought.

These alarming statistics upset us enough to set out to change things ourselves. Our project revolutionizes grocery shopping as we know it. Our goal is to reduce waste by ditching packaging altogether - creating the nation’s first zero-waste, package-free grocery store! The community-oriented store (named “in.gredients”) will (a) sell local, organic groceries, (b) host community events like cooking lessons, concerts, and garden days, (c) feature local artwork, and (d) promote sustainability. Most importantly, we’ll allow customers to fill reusable containers (even ones brought from home!) with their groceries, making waste reduction easy, fun, and convenient! Think of it as Groceries 2.0.

The Impact

in.gredients will be a collaborative effort between business, community, and consumers with the goal of eliminating food-related waste while supporting local businesses and farmers (after all, they usually keep just 15% of their food’s grocery store revenue). We hope the concept promotes opportunities for folks to learn the benefits of eating well, ways to reduce waste at home, and how easy it can be to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

We'll host:
Community garden nights
Cooking classes by local chefs
Gardening classes by local farmers
Homebrewing classes by local brewers
Classes on waste reduction in the home
Classes on rainwater collection / wastewater capturing

And offer package-free groceries like:
Baking supplies
Household cleaners

We hope to open in.gredients later this year if we gain enough support. The industry needs the fundamental shift we’ll demonstrate with our business model, so we can’t wait any longer! If we don't raise enough, we'll continue buying packaged goods from the supermarket while we return to the drawing board - so please, help us out!

What We Need & What You Get

We need $15,000 to get in.gredients up and running by the fall. That number covers some what-we-need-to-start-up costs:

1. Rainwater collectors
2. Wastewater capturing devices
3. Materials to build our community garden
4. Our signs
5. Construction, turning our building into a store
6. Paint for artists to make things pretty
7. Bins for our local groceries

All other funding for this project is coming from our pockets and contributions from friends and family.

We want to make donating fun for everyone - so we've come up with some fun perks our supporters. Check 'em out!

Other Ways You Can Help

If you like what you're hearing, share us with your friends! Our big-picture-goal is telling the industry "this is groceries done right." While in.gredients will teach us many things, we hope it also serves as a learning model for the supermarket industry - letting folks know there IS another way to do things.

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