The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Byrd’s Filling Station provides a plastic-free alternative to grocery shopping

Alexandra Chan
Jason Desouza, a Byrd’s Filling Station customer, scans a chip to mark his container. Customers weigh their container and mark it with a chip so they pay for the product’s weight during checkout. The store has three weighing stations with posters that show instructions on completing the process.

When most people think about single-use plastics, their mind goes to paper straws or plastic water bottles, but there is so much more than that. Every food that comes packaged is made of single-use plastic that never decomposes.

Byrd’s Filling Station is a grocery store in downtown San Mateo that strives to create a typical grocery store experience without packaging and plastics.

The store operates by having customers bring their own container or jar, which is then weighed on a scale to determine the tare weight. This weight is recorded on a Radio Frequency Identification tag. Afterward, customers can fill their containers with the desired products, label them, and proceed to checkout.

“They have a big poster with step-by-step instructions on how to shop with your containers, so they make it simple,” said Mahika Reddy, a customer at Byrd’s Filling Station.

Byrd’s sells various products, from produce and snacks to home goods and cosmetics. Some of their most popular ones are coffee, laundry detergent, peanut butter, almond butter, snacks, and toothpaste tablets.

According to Plastic Oceans, the world produces 380 million tons of plastic annually, and 50% of this total is single-use plastics. These plastics are not compostable so they will end up on this earth forever. Switching to this alternative lifestyle can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

“Think for a minute about every toothbrush you have ever used from infancy to your ripe old age. Think about your parents’ toothbrushes, your grandparents’ toothbrushes, every single one of them is still on this planet,” said Kathy Turner, the retail manager of Byrd’s Filling Station.

Some benefits of switching to shopping at a filling station include a reduction of single-use plastic consumption, cutting down on food waste by purchasing the exact amount you need, and making sustainable living affordable and easy.

“Another benefit is you can buy the quantity that you want, not a specific quantity. If you want to try a new shampoo, bring your empty shampoo bottle and take enough shampoo to wash your hair a couple of times to try it out. You don’t have to commit to 16 or 32-ounce bottles right off the bat,” Turner said.

Nikhil Nunna is a freshman at Carlmont High School and part of the green team and acknowledges the environmental benefits of sustainable practices like using reusable containers and bags.

“Sustainable initiatives like Byrd’s are much better for the environment than conventional grocery stores because they almost entirely cut down food packaging. By bringing your reusable containers and bags, you are significantly reducing your carbon footprint, which I believe we all need to work towards,” Nunna said.

They also hold community events such as a zero-waste meal prep event and a discussion about native gardening.

“The real goal is to keep a lot of this garbage out of landfills because we’re filling the world with plastic and trash faster than it can ever possibly be cleaned up,” Turner said.

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About the Contributors
Masha Rozenfeld, Staff Writer
Masha Rozenfeld is a junior at Carlmont and this is her second year with Scot Scoop. She wants to keep people informed through journalism and help people see both sides of a story. Other than journalism, Masha enjoys, playing soccer, traveling, and hanging out with her friends. Twitter: @masha_roze Instagram: @masha_roze
Alexandra Chan, Staff Writer
Alexandra Chan (Class of 2025) is a junior at Carlmont High School, and this is her second year in the journalism program. She has produced videos for ScotCenter and is excited to be a photojournalist for Scot Scoop this semester. Outside of school, you'll find her practicing with her ice skating team, doing yoga, and thrifting.

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