The shelves of the Nude Foods Market are filled with reusable containers, everything from vegetable slices and pasta to vinegar, dried fruit, chocolate and coffee.
Founded by Boulder residents Rachel Irons, Verity Noble, Jimmy Udovich and Matt Arnold, this store is Boulder’s first zero-waste grocery store. It opened at the beginning of this month.
The group initially provided zero-waste food delivery services, and since then expanded its business to a full grocery store for in-person shopping, pick-up, or delivery by bicycle or electric car.
To a large extent, Noble sees this effort as a way to help Boulder become the sustainable city it strives to be.
“Boulder has acquired a truly environmentally friendly image, but there are no zero-waste shops here,” Noble said. “It feels like a very obvious place.”
In 2006, the Boulder City Council passed a zero waste solution and strategic plan, and set a waste transfer rate of 85% by 2025. City data indicate that the current waste transfer rate is 53%.
The city’s sustainability coordinator, Jamie Harkins, points out that not only is it important to sort waste correctly. Harkins said that the size of the urban waste stream must be reduced, and packaging waste will increase.
According to the city’s analysis, the amount of paper thrown away by Boulder residents each year is equivalent to 2,600 trees, plastic is equivalent to 37 million Lego bricks, and glass is equivalent to 74 truckloads of sand. Packaging waste accounts for 28% of the city’s total waste.
“We are very happy to see that so many people in our community are working hard to cope with this trend and build a round boulder, nothing can be wasted,” Harkins said.
This shop sells a variety of staple foods, plus some fresh produce, pre-made meals, household items, etc.
At Nude Foods, shoppers pay a deposit of $1.50 per can. The store reserves a portion to pay for cleaning costs, but if the cans are returned, they will receive a $1 discount per can when they are purchased in the future.
In addition to providing reusable packaging, Nude Foods also works with its suppliers to ensure that the goods sold in the store also reach the store with zero waste. Noble points out that as the store starts, this usually requires specific requirements from Nude Foods.
“This requires a lot of supplier education and customer education,” she said. “But many people are very excited about the idea of doing this.”
This shop also uses many second-hand items. These shelves were previously used in the alfalfa market. Bright orange bicycles that could be recycled are now adorning the top of the store’s cold storage space.
Every decision is made consciously, and Noble said the store is committed to being transparent about its purchases and situations where it cannot be as sustainable as it hopes. For example, it buys oats in a 50-pound paper bag, which can be recycled but cannot be reused in stores.
Junio recently discovered Nude Foods Market while shopping at the local farmer’s market, and spent an afternoon reading the shelves carefully and collecting groceries.
“I usually just try to minimize the impact of shopping. Because of my ability, I prefer not to go to large grocery stores as much as possible,” Junio said. “(Nude Foods) is very integrated into the community and I like that. I can buy many of the things I usually buy at the farmers’ market here, which is also very good.”
In fact, most of the grocery store’s products are sourced locally and purchased from various suppliers in the Greater Boulder area, such as Silver Canyon Coffee, Awakened Foods, Boulder Broth, Bolder Chips, etc.
From Irons’ perspective, opening a grocery store provides an opportunity. She thinks this is a way to influence the food system in a “bigger way.”
“A lot of the problems in our world boil down to the food system,” she said. “It affects every aspect of our lives, from our health to the environment, to our happiness and well-being.
“This is a huge point of contact for humans,” Irons added. “We always gather around food. By changing the food system, you can influence people’s lives in a very intimate way, the entire community and the planet.”
Nude Foods is located at 3233 Walnut St. and is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm. Please visit Nudefoodsmarket.com for more information.
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Post time: Nov-05-2021