Packaging-free grocery delivery service launches in New York

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A screenshot of The Wally Shop website.

Cold, wet days in New York City call for delivery, and the crew of The Wally Shop was out in Union Square filling offers.

Richard, one of the company's shoppers, was picking up butternut squash, fresh bread, apples, red onions and more.  But  the shop offers something different with customers' orders, or really, a little bit less. Everything they deliver is free of disposable packaging.

"We're sort of like Fresh Direct and the milkman had a baby," said Sabrina Katz, the start-up's director of marketing and communication.

The Wally Shop will pick up your groceries and deliver them without the boxes, bags, plastic wrap, and other waste.

"We're really merging the ideas of convenience through a delivery service and sustainability through our all-reusable packaging," Katz said.

Food is sourced from local farmers markets, food co-ops, and Precycle, a package-free store in Bushwick, and is mostly organic and local. Produce, nuts and grains, oils, pasta, and pickles are among the current offerings, with plans to add more items soon.

The Wally Shop was founded by Tamara Lim, who formerly worked in Amazon's packaging and delivery division.

"Through that, she saw just how much wasteful packaging there was and she wanted to create a service that would allow people to return packaging instead of just throwing packaging away," Katz said.

The company doesn't charge a markup on any of the groceries but does tack on a 5-percent service fee and $5.99 delivery fee. The Wally Shop also collects a $1 deposit for the reusable totes, bags, and jars which is refunded when the items are returned.

To cut down on pollution, bicycle couriers deliver everything.

Since launching in October, the company has expanded to 12 ZIP codes in Brooklyn and is slowly building out its customer base.

It plans to offer delivery in Manhattan later this year and would like to expand beyond New York City to Boston, San Francisco, and elsewhere.