The Clean Kilo: A Zero Waste Supermarket

Building a zero waste supermarket in Birmingham, England. 

The Problem

Almost all the food you buy at a supermarket comes in its own individual packaging. The only food you can typically find without packaging is in the produce section. This is problematic because most of the plastic we use is non-recyclable and can last for hundreds of years before decomposing. Plastic waste often ends up in our oceans where it is eaten by fish and other sea mammals. The plastic travels up the food chain until it ends up on our dinner plates. Consuming plastic has been linked with cancer and birth defects. The EPA approximates that for every ounce of PET produced -- the most common form of plastic --- one ounce of carbon dioxide is emitted. Other scientists argue that the EPA's estimate is conservative, and that it is more likely that the ratio is 5:1. Worldwide, we consume 100 million tons of plastic every year. Using the EPA's metric, this is commensurate with the emissions produced from 19 million vehicles. Reducing our use, and therefore need, of plastic, will go a long way to reduce our dependency on carbon.

The Solution

The Clean Kilo's goal is to build a supermarket in Birmingham that won't produce any plastic waste. At the supermarket, customers can buy food, drinks, toiletries, and cleaning products -- just about anything you could buy at a standard supermarket -- but all products will be dispensed into containers that you bring from home. Customers will be able to get products out of gravity dispensers, ski boot dispensers, spice jars, and out of stainless steel drums. With the Clean Kilo, there will be no more unnecessary packaging.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

The Green Kilo

This project was nominated by: