Who doesn’t want to save the environment? But as I learned in my no-plastics challenge, it’s extremely hard to cut down on single-use plastics. They’re everywhere: in every aisle of the grocery store, at restaurants, convenience stores, clothing stores, and in Amazon packaging. While you can find environmentally friendly workarounds like reusable produce bags and Mason jars for bulk goods, you have to remember to bring them when you’re going shopping, which is harder than it sounds.
Enter Ashwin Ramdas, founder of Infinity Goods, who hopes to nudge our good intentions into reality.
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The Denver-based Infinity Goods plans to operate as a noble middleman, buying in bulk from farmers’ markets, grocery stores and local food manufacturers, packaging the goods in reusable containers, and delivering them to your doorstep for a small fee. Drivers make one route per day to minimize carbon emissions. When you’re done, Infinity Goods picks up the containers, runs them through a commercial dishwasher, refills them, and sends them back out on their merry way. Think old-fashioned milkman, but with a lengthy list of products ranging from apples (organic and conventional) and almonds to tortilla chips and tofu — which is a “huge culprit for plastic packaging,” says Ramdas. He anticipated the plant-based protein to be one of the hardest items to get, but found a source in Colorado Sun Tofu.
Since Infinity Goods is still in beta-testing, I can’t vouch for it. But the idea appeals to me, not only for the time-savings it represents — no more running from store to store, empty jars in hand — but for its goal to keep 40,000 pieces of packaging out of the waste stream within two years. I’m not the only one to approve: Infinity Goods was chosen as one of 24 global finalists in this year’s National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures’ Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge, with the winner to be announced later this year.
A mechanical engineer by training, the 26-year-old Ramdas says he got the idea for Infinity Goods last winter after a conversation with a friend who’s passionate about turtles but wasn’t willing to change his shopping habits to cut down on the plastics that harm them. “My lightbulb moment was really the difficulty that’s preventing people from making this change,” Ramdas says.
Infinity Goods just might be my lightbulb moment.