Buyk Grocery Delivery Company throws bags of fresh produce in Logan Square, Irking Neighbors

LOGAN SQUARE — A grocery delivery company that recently opened a store on Logan Square’s Milwaukee Avenue is taking heat from neighbors for throwing away unopened bags of fresh produce and other groceries.

Buyk, a New York-based startup that offers express grocery delivery by bike, opened several stores in Chicago late last year, including one at 2774 N. Milwaukee Ave., as part of a expansion plan backed by venture capital.

But as Buyk expands its footprint in Chicago, some Logan Square residents are concerned about the company’s food disposal policy.

Megan Milich lives in a condo building that shares an alley with Buyk. While taking out his trash last week, Milich saw Buyk employees throw away “industrial-sized” trash bags full of still-wrapped groceries, including unopened yogurt that hadn’t expired, he said. she declared. She put the bags on top of the dumpster, hoping to save them from the landfill and get the goods to someone in need.

Then, earlier this week, Milich found a few more bags in the dumpster filled with high-quality fresh produce, including apples, radishes, potatoes, onions and squash, she said. .

Milich said she was outraged that the delivery company was rejecting what seemed like perfectly good and healthy food, especially given the number of food-insecure Chicagoans and the number of organizations providing free food to people. neighbors in need.

“There are so many people out there who need food, and it really broke my heart to see a company throw away such good, quality food,” she said.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
New York-based grocery delivery company Buyk recently opened a Chicago store in the Six Corners area at 4819 W. Irving Park Road

Buyk launched in New York in September. By early January, the company had 28 stores there and seven in Chicago, and plans to open 14 more by spring.

A customer orders food on the company’s app and a bike courier delivers the order in 5-15 minutes with no delivery charge. Company stores are not open to the public but are stocked with food products from local and national suppliers.

Asked about Buyk’s policy on food waste, CEO James Walker said his company partners with “several food banks and charities” to minimize food waste.

But Walker said those donations don’t always pan out.

“Each partner has limits on pick-up days and frequency, donation limits per occasion, and product types accepted,” Walker said in a statement. “From time to time there may be instances where a partner is unable to accept the goods.”

Walker said Buyk is also cutting back on fresh produce to minimize waste.

When it became clear that the food from the Logan Square store was headed to the landfill, Milich took the groceries home. She posted in the Buy Nothing Facebook group in Logan Square, asking her neighbors to help her distribute groceries to people in need of food.

Milich said she was surprised by the overwhelming response.

Several neighbors picked up produce; some wanted to help and others needed food themselves, such as a woman and her two children, Millich said.

Milich said she and other neighbors hope to connect Buyk to local food pantries so any unused food goes to people in need — not the landfill.

“It filled my heart that people needed food,” she said. “Not an apple was wasted.”

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every penny we earn funds neighborhoods across Chicago.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Thank you for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), newsroom run by reporters. Every penny we make funds Chicago neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s Alright: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” Here:

Comments are closed.