Typically when you buy stuff, you also buy the packaging. And then you have to pay to dispose of the packaging or take it to the recycling center. Years ago, my former business partner noticed that she was buying cereal in a box, which then had a plastic liner. She'd put the box out with her curbside recycling and then buy another box. It was costing her about an extra $1 per box vs buying similar cereal in just a bag. "Why am I paying a dollar a week to trade a box back and forth with Kellogg?" she wondered. Now imagine the plastic bag disappears too.
Here's a store that is committed to zero waste and zero packaging. It's in the U.K. but you can buy a lot of product in bulk in the US. And some companies are experimenting with selling personal care products like creams and shampoos like bars of soap. Here's a recipe for making your own solid bar of shampoo.
'Zero-waste' stores put consumers on frontline in fight against packaging - Engineering News