BROOKLYN, NY — As a child growing up in Latvia, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union, Katerina Bogatireva would bring a jar to her local market to have it filled with sour cream. Plastic bags were a luxury —and much admired.

As an adult living in America, Bogatireva, founder of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Precycle, now has a completely different angle on foods and the packaging they’re put in. The packaging part concerned her so much, she decided to go all in with Precycle, which has done away with plastic and other forms of nonrecyclable packaging.

Shoppers bring their own recyclable bags or bins or buy recyclable bags sold at the store. They fill them up and, when they’re ready to check out, the weight of the packaging is subtracted from the weight of their foods. (Customers who bring in their own bins or bags get them weighed upon arrival). It’s as simple as that. 

“Precycle exists to empower customers to reduce their environmental impact by reducing food and packaging waste,” Bogatireva said. “We believe that every customer has the right to know where their food originates and to be given the choice of reusable instead of disposable. In other words, full transparency.”

Precycle works with local farmers and distributors on a one-on-one basis. The grocer is determined, she said, to provide its customers with as much information and support as possible. 

“This is our passion: sharing resources, creating awareness and helping each other.”

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