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French Couple Opens Zero Waste Store on East 80th Street

Manhattan’s latest zero waste store opened this past Saturday at 239 East 80th Street, between Second and Third avenues (replacing a shade and curtain store). La Petite Épicerie offers Upper East Siders an eco-friendly market where they can buy bulk goods by filling up their own jars, eliminating wasteful packaging.

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Started by Cyrielle Rausch, a native of France, it marries environmental awareness with a French ambience and charm. Rausch’s husband, Jonathan Meot (also from France), is helping to get the business off and running. He told ESF the name is meant to evoke the aesthetic of a French épicerie, which is a small neighborhood grocery store.

The zero waste concept, which has been slow to take hold in the U. S., is popular and commonplace in France, Meot said. Customers bring their own jars to fill, with any quantity they want, or they can buy empty jars from the store.

“This concept resonates with us, zero waste and plastic-free” he said. “It’s quite popular in France. Buying in bulk is better for the environment. It’s a win-win for the customer and for the environment. This is how we envision it.”

La Petite Épicerie, which has about 500 square feet of floor space, sells three types of products: Dry food such as pasta, grains, coffee, teas and spices; body care products like shampoo and lotion; and household cleaning products. The food items are almost all organic, GMO-free, vegan and cruelty-free, Meot said. And the personal care and cleaning products are chosen with the same healthy non-toxic philosophy.

“Our body care products are all natural, chemical-free, vegan, cruelty-free and they have very few ingredients,” he said.

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The couple moved to New York two years ago when Meot, who works in finance, was transferred to the city from London. They now live in East Harlem. They met in Paris in 2015 when they worked together for the French Ministry of the Environment (now the Ministry of Ecological Transition).

“This is a concept that’s been important to us for quite some time,” Meot said, referring to their work for the French government focusing on environmental protection.

While almost all of the store’s products are sold in bulk in customers’ own containers, there are small selections of packaged items, including a few products from France such as cookies, jams and condiments.

The store doesn’t yet have a website but Meot said they are working on that and it should be up in a few months.

So far, reaction from customers has been very positive. “A lot of people are coming in and they’re very excited about the concept, they’re happy to have this kind of store in the neighborhood. I would dare to call the first day a good day,” Meot said.

Social media buzz also suggests locals are excited about the market, logging several rave reviews in the hours after it opened.

“….thought I’d plug this amazing shop that just moved into the UES this week! On 80th between 2nd and 3rd is a new zero waste shop with tons of local products, very fair prices, and the owners are amazing! Spices, cleaning products, body products, food items, they have so much!” one woman wrote on Facebook.

And on Google reviews, another fan wrote “Amazing! The UES now has a zero waste store! Bring your containers and come by! So exciting.”

La Petite Épicerie is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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  1. t-bo March 4, 2024

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