I read about this a few years ago, I can’t remember where exactly, but I came across another article about it today that jogged my memory:
This is a fantastic project in Berlin founded by two women, Sara Wolf and Milena: a grocery store called Original Unverpackt, meaning Original Unpackaged. When I first read about this store the idea was to create an experimental store, both to raise awareness of the epidemic of packaging we’re all living in, and to test the idea and see if it would make sense in reality.
It looks like the experiment went well. They are still in business and have been successful enough to begin working on a franchise model, which is fantastic news. Please open a branch in NYC for me!!!
Here is a link to Original Unverpackt’s facebook page. It’s in German, but hey, that’s what Google Translate is for:
At the top of their facebook page I found a video about the first packaging-free grocery store to open in Munich. I’m not sure if the two are affiliated or not. Either way, looks like Germany is really getting the packaging-free lifestyle!
A store like this is a dream come true for someone like me. I’ve started bringing reusable produce bags when I go shopping, as well as the obvious reusable shopping bags, and it can feel a bit uncomfortable in an ordinary retail setting.
The idea of avoiding disposable plastic bags is still so alien to most people. Of course, I’m learning to toughen up about it, since my desire to reduce waste is a lot more important than avoiding occasional embarrassment. But I guess it’s just another example of how our mainstream cultural norms can be hard to escape, even when we recognize their destructive nature.
I’m also kicking myself a bit, because I was in Germany a few months ago, visiting a good friend in Frankfurt for a week. I had forgotten about Original Unverpackt and I wasn’t even in the right region, but I wish I had found a way to visit. Well, it’s only a matter of time (although not any time soon!) before I visit again, so I will be sure to get to Berlin next time!