Original Unpacked- Germany’s packaging free supermarket
Shopping for oneself can be quite difficult. Often prepackaged goods can be way too much for just one person, or perhaps it’s a product you don’t normally use but you may need for a specific recipe. With Original Unpacked (Original Unverpackt) you won’t need to, this is Germany’s answer to sustainable shopping.
The concept was formed by Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski and their true idea was ‘precycling’- to avoid recycling by reducing the resources used in the first place. Their dream was to replace gleaming boxed packaging with bulk binned styled options in order to allow the control over purchased quantities thus reducing waste. They also wanted to do this in a minimalist and beautiful manner, they had no intention of making their store look like one of those co-op style hippie shopping spots, they wanted it to look beautiful.
Shoppers are required to bring their own containers, or they are able to buy or lease containers or use the recycled paper bags and beeswax paper provided. Here they can buy the exact quantities they need- this not only reduces packaging waste, but also food waste. This entirely removes waste from the supply chain sparing valuable resources by eliminating disposable packaging. For some goods such as cereal, coffee, flour etc this seems relatively straight forward, however, this store will also be stocking goods such as shampoo, dish soap and laundry soaps. Instead of toothpaste in a tube they will be selling toothpaste tablets or powder.
Though this is a fantastic and sustainable business model, it also requires the consumer to take on more responsibility. The convenience of packaged goods will no longer exist and it will be on the customer to ensure they have a supply of jars and reusable containers to carry to the store. Despite saying that, this idea needs to start somewhere.
Will it work? London’s Unpackaged went out of business, however it will be reopening again this year. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments section.