Go Waste-Free with Saruga

by Erdira Wirengjurit
28th March 2019
Saruga’s packaging-free grocery store omits unnecessary plastic packaging and embraces a self-service concept and mindful shopping habit that favour the environment.

Tackling the problem of waste begins with our consumption habits, and the fact is, Jakarta ranks high in the list of waste production. The staggering 175,000 tons of waste generated every day by Jakartans mirrors a grave problem of over-consumption, among many other things. Therefore, it’s businesses like Saruga, a grocery store with a zero-packaging initiative, that humbles us to be mindful of our shopping habits.

“Saruga is practically a sembako store,” says Pak Adi, the owner and founder of this small store in Bintaro. Indeed, the store sells primary household needs such as rice, pantry staples, hygiene products, and even coffee beans – a majority of which comes from local brands and food producers in the country. But it sets itself apart by adopting a self-serve system on top of the zero-packaging concept. They are both meant to tap into our awareness on waste and, ultimately, on consumption.

The products are stored in bulks and to shop at Saruga, customers simply come with their own containers, like reusable bottles and jars, to store the products. This simple idea eliminates the use of one-time-use plastic and other futile packaging. Upon weighing the empty containers, one can proceed to shop their groceries alone, serving themselves how much or how little they may need a certain product before weighing it again for the net weight. “Shopping in regular supermarkets forces you to buy pre-weighted and pre-packaged items. When was the last time you’ve finished one kilogram of oatmeal before it’s gone bad or expired?” Pak Adi throws the fair question to make the point about self-service and over-consumption trends.

Developing a mindful shopping practice can yield relevant results towards tackling the waste problem that sadly permeates this city. With Saruga, it starts by omitting pointless packaging and understanding our consumption needs. Rest assured, this can enable our littlest effort into a relevant movement.