We’re accustomed to seeing food in bulk at souqs throughout the Middle East, but shoppers always leave with a legion of plastic bags to carry their goods. There is an alternative though, and Berlin’s first waste-free supermarket, the Original Unverpackt, shows how it’s done.
Like us, friends Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski were sick and tired of throwing away a pile of packaging every time they visited the grocery store. So tired of the packaging waste (16 million tons produced each year in Germany), the duo decided to do something about it.
Their idea involves a grocery store stocked with the bare minimum of high quality bulk goods that people pack into containers they bring from home. And since we’re so unaccustomed to this kind of forward thinking these days, the pair came up with an idea to provide reusable containers for those who don’t remember to bring their own containers.
While conceptually similar to small co-ops that are increasingly common, Original Unverpackt will be scaled up so that it could potentially compete with some of Germany’s largest grocery store chains.
The pair launched a crowd funding campaign to fund their zero waste supermarket in Germany, and people are so excited about the idea, Wolf and Glimbovski doubled their asking goal of €45,000. Their success suggests not only that consumers are supportive, but also that they should have little trouble growing the initiative beyond the first store that is slated to open this summer in Berlin.
While the produce and dry goods offered will be of the highest quality, Wolf and Glimbovski were careful to ensure that even lower income people can afford to shop at their store. As such, they have provided a combination of low, medium and high end goods.
“Everyone should be able to afford to help the environment in the way they can,” they said.
Do you think that it would be feasible to bring stores like this to the Middle East? Tell us in the comments.
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