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How a New Grocery Store Concept Reduces Waste and Increases Profits Two brothers created a zero-waste, packaging-free grocery store that operates in a smaller space and provides healthier food choices.

By Jason Daley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Think of your average supermarket -- it's a place of plenty, with piles of fresh vegetables bursting off the shelves, yard after yard of meats, cheeses, breads and every wholesome and unwholesome thing you could ever want to stuff in your face. But that illusion of abundance comes with an enormous cost.

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that grocery stores toss out $15 billion worth of fruits and vegetables each year, and that the average supermarket dumps $2,300 worth of out-of-date products each day. (In fact, the entire U.S. food system wastes 40 percent of the goods it produces.) Then there are the hundreds of boxes the food is shipped in; the tons of plastic bags, pasteboard and cellophane the food is wrapped in; plus the paper and plastic bags customers use to carry it home.

When you take a good, hard look, a grocery store starts to seem less like a modern cornucopia and more like a national shame. At least, that's what Christian and Joseph Lane see when they look at a conventional supermarket. The brothers from Austin, who run a software-consulting firm, were kicking around ideas for a second business when they were struck by the concept of a zero-waste, packaging-free grocery store.

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