Time — the resource none of us can seem to get enough of. So it makes sense that grocery delivery would be a service many would appreciate — these services could potentially cut out an hour or two of errands every single week.
Unfortunately, most grocery delivery services come in layers and layers of wasteful packaging — most store-based programs deliver your groceries in single-use plastic bags.
This is the main reason that I haven’t taken the plunge into grocery delivery.
So when The Rounds‘ reached out telling me about their zero waste grocery delivery service, I was intrigued.
Note that this post was sponsored. As always I only partner with brands meeting strict sustainability criteria, and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
What is Zero Waste Grocery Delivery?
Zero waste grocery delivery combines the convenience of delivery to your doorstep but without sacrificing the sustainability of shopping at a package-free store.
Typically there’s a tradeoff between convenience and sustainability. I am a big fan of thrifting clothes, for example, but it’s certainly not as time efficient as buying something new.
Similarly, low waste grocery shopping typically involves going (likely a bit out of your way) to go to a zero waste store. Don’t get me wrong: these stores are AWESOME! They’re just typically not convenient enough to go to every week and make it a habit for most people.
So zero waste grocery delivery is a sustainable solution that I (and I think many of you) can get behind!
About The Rounds: Zero Waste Delivery
The Rounds is a closed loop two-way logistics network. They deliver your essentials and groceries in refillable containers in a reusable tote bag. Once you’ve used your products, they will pick up the empties for you (mostly via e-bike!). Then they clean the containers so they can be reused.
What zero waste groceries and products are available at The Rounds?
When ordering from The Rounds, you’ll find grocery items such as:
- Breads & bakery items: freshly baked bread and pastries sourced from local businesses
- Fresh produce from local farms
- Snacks and sweets: candy, cookies, granola, and chocolate
- Dry goods: pasta, rice & other grains, beans, oats, and more
- Baking ingredients: sugar, flour, mixes, and add-ons
- Other pantry staples: Salt & seasonings, sauces, oils, vinegars, condiments, and sauces
- Beverages: Tea, coffee, sparkling water and other specialty drinks
As well as household products, like:
- Cleaning products: sponges, sprays, dishwasher pods, and more
- Personal care: toilet paper, deodorants, hair care, hand soap, oral care, period care
- Beauty: bath & body, skincare
- Baby: diapers, formula & baby food
- Pet: supplies and pet food
You can even order services as part of a membership with The Rounds, like:
- Compost pickup
- Recycling & e-waste pickup
- CO2 canister exchanges
- And donation pick-ups
Where can you get zero waste delivery with The Rounds?
The Rounds is a Philadelphia-based company that currently serves Philly, Miami, Washington D.C., and Atlanta.
But they will be expanding across the US soon, as part of their mission to make zero waste the new norm.
If your city is not on this list, you can still click “Get Started” on their site, enter in your zip code and get notified when your city is added!
How Does Zero Waste Grocery Delivery Work?
Good question! Here’s how the process worked with The Rounds for me.
- Click Get Started, entering in your basic details and zip code. If they serve your zip code, then you can keep going!
- Select the products you’d like from the choices.
- Receive your delivery and use (or eat!) your products
- Check online for your upcoming scheduled deliveries. You can always edit your delivery, removing and/or adding products. You can also skip a week if you don’t need anything that week or you’re out of town.
- Put your empties on your doorstep the day of delivery and they’ll get picked up for free! Also put out anything for the services you ordered, like a compost pick-up or CO2 canister exchange.
What Zero Waste Grocery Delivery Cost?
The Rounds charges $10 per month at the time of publishing. With weekly delivery, that comes out to an average of $2.50 per delivery most months, which is a great price.
AmazonFresh reportedly charges $10 per delivery (if under $50) or $7 for orders above $50. And those orders definitely don’t arrive low waste!
If you’d like to save when trying out with The Rounds, you can use the code CONSCIOUSLIFE to get 1 month free and $10 off your first order.
To continue saving after your first month, you can also participate in The Rounds’ Refer a Friend program to save $30 per friend you refer.
My Experience With The Rounds’ Zero Waste Grocery Delivery
Product Selection & Quality
During my trial with The Rounds, I purchased organic dry red lentils, balsamic vinegar, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, brown basmati rice, canola oil and dry roasted edamame.
Each item arrived as expected, and was high quality. Since I don’t actually live near one of The Rounds’ location spots (I was able to place an order by working with them directly), I didn’t order anything fresh and just stuck to pantry items.
But when they come to my area, I would be super excited to order some freshly-baked bread and pastries, as well as locally-sourced produce. The bread sourced for the Philadelphia area looked *delish* from the photos on their site!
The Rounds has a solid selection, and is comparable to other zero waste grocery online stores I’ve seen in the past. I wouldn’t be able to get all of my groceries through The Rounds since they don’t have refrigerated or frozen items or all produce items. But I would still use this service to help reduce my reliance on packaging, and extend the time between grocery runs.
And when my CSA (community supported agriculture) box delivers in the summer, I think I’d really be able to stretch out my grocery runs!
Packaging & Labeling
The specific items I ordered all came in glass jars or bottles. They do have some canned items as well. And products like almond milk come in original packaging.
The refillable products in glass containers came with very minimal labeling, and I appreciated that additional touch to reduce waste. (There’s nothing more annoying than scrubbing off a stubborn sticky label for 15 minutes on a jar to reuse it!)
This means that some products don’t have the name of what they are on the glass jar, but they do have a small QR sticker. You can use that QR code to pull up information about the product and the ingredients of the item online at any time.
One potential risk, though, of not having labels is that you might forget what things are if you ordered similar-looking items. (Like confusing baking powder with baking soda.) So that’s something to keep in mind when you order — it might be worth thinking of a temporary label or organization system where you’ll remember which one is which. Or, you could pour in the contents to your own reusable labeled containers.
My experience wasn’t exactly like the typical experience with the drop-off and pick-up since I’m not near one of their locations and this was a trial run, but I’m happy with the products I received and from what I saw online, the prices are quite fair for your basics, especially since a few of the products I ordered were organic.
Is Zero Waste Grocery Delivery For You?
The Rounds is everything I’ve been waiting for when it comes to groceries and other household product delivery.
Reusable packaging, great product selection, local options, green transport (a lot of the pick-ups are by ebike), and a streamlined user experience on their website.
And the fact that they also do services like compost pickup is an unexpected bonus I would definitely use.
If you want to reduce your reliance on packaging and want convenient access to organic, eco-minded, locally-sourced, and quality products dropped off at your doorstep, then The Rounds is for you.
At the time of publishing, The Rounds’ zero waste grocery delivery service is available in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Miami, and Philadelphia.
Of course, if The Rounds is not available in your area yet, then you won’t be able to join quite yet. But again, still fill out the Get Started form so you get notified when The Rounds expands to you.
And you may also not be able to participate if you don’t have a doorstep and you’re not home at the time of the deliveries. This was a problem that I experienced with a lot of delivery services, living on the third floor of my apartment complex.
Final Verdict on The Rounds:
If you’ve been wanting to shop sustainably and low-waste but don’t have zero waste stores near you, or just love / need the convenience of grocery delivery, then The Rounds is a great zero waste grocery delivery option for you. I am really excited about this idea and the implementation.
They’re off to a great start and I hope that once they grow, The Rounds will continue to expand their offerings, because it would be amazing to one day get 100% of your groceries in this way, including refrigerated items like tofu and coconut yogurt. (Though I can imagine that the logistics of that would be way more complicated since perishable food delivery is even complicated for companies that don’t consider their waste!)
And if you are going to try it out, don’t forget to enter the code CONSCIOUSLIFE to get your first month free, plus $10 off your first order!
If you’re interested in participating, but don’t live in an area The Rounds serves yet, fill out your email and zip code to join their waitlist.