If one is to prepare a healthy meal at home, this requires a sickening amount of plastic and other package materials to go to waste. If one wishes to reduce emissions and other pollutants, one must explore the radical innovation of the grocery retail space.
Freshness is key, so major retailers here can, by law if necessary, from farm to table, put emissions and pollutants into check, while also ensuring freshness. As soon as items are verified as fresh, they are placed in a large metal or some other pneumatic container, that makes a space air tight, ensuring fresh produce throughout the journey. From the farm, we go to the retail space.
Here the shelves become automated with stock-assistive technology. All stockers must do is pour the item in and they are containerized individually by robotic positioning, in groups if need be, for resale within an airtight container, perhaps made of a sturdy glass, also pneumatically sealed.
Such containers will go with the customer to the checkout. On return of the retailed container, they can be deposited, after scanning one’s retail membership card, to award points for discount toward future purchases, to ensure customers return said containers for the retailer’s reuse or recycling.
Major retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Target in the United States, and Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s in the UK can lead the charge, and or by popular demand, in protest against these giants with governmental mandates. One might hope the sight of greater profits through package reduction might encourage these retailers to go forward, given proper designs from retail architects, materials scientists, retail-minded roboticists, and product lifecycle management practitioners.
Either way, something must be done about the sheer amount of waste generated by the retail sector. I hope that these ideas might offer a start toward a zero-waste, zero-emissions, and zero-pollutant direction.