Original Unpackaged: A New Package-Free Shopping Experience

A future of shopping with no packaging is near...at least in Berlin
June 16, 2014 Updated: June 16, 2014

OK. We all know plastic is bad for us, for the planet… our children’s future. But it’s everywhere—total invasion.

Yes, I carry my own canvas bag when I go shopping, I drink water from my new stainless steel canteen flask, I carry my lunch in reusable Tupperware.

But it’s clearly not enough. My kitchen’s trash bin gets fuller and fuller of wrapping paper, plastic film, polystyrene trays and what about all those plastic grocery bags?

Consumers' goods packaging creates everlasting waste
Consumer’s packaging may be used only once, but it truly lives for ever, polluting our environment.
New alternatives are being found, such as shopping with no packaging.

Well, I need not worry for much longer. A new supermarket revolution is on its way—first stop Berlin. (Yes, the Germans are way ahead of us with anything to do with recycling).

Original and Unpackaged (Original Unverpackt) is a new concept or let’s say a revival of shopping without packaging.

Founders Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski’s vision is to redesign Germany’s shopping experience by setting up a nationwide packaging-free supermarket chain.

Their successful crowdfunding campaign on the German’s Start Next site means they are ready to go ahead with their plan.

Sara and Milena share their vision on their crowdfunding blog:

“When out shopping we find a lot of super colorful items with super colorful packaging. What we tend to forget is that this packaging is only waste at the end of the day.”

“16 million tons of packaging end up as waste every year in Germany alone”

“We need a shopping revolution. We need to move away from wasteful single-use packaging, and instead make zero-waste and unpackaged food available for everyone.”

“This project is there to send a signal to the food industry that different ways of operating are possible. And we as customers finally are able to buy things the way we really want to. We believe that the current way of shopping is not sustainable.”

Original Unverpackt, The New Original Unpackaged Shopping Experience
Original Unpackaged (Original Unverpackt) is a new concept store opening soon in Berlin.
All products will be sold without packaging with a focus on regional produce.

How does it work?  Most products will be dispensed in bulk. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers or borrow some from the store or use recycled paper bags.

Brands will be carefully selected and local or regional produce will be first choice.

There will be organic but also more affordable produce so as to open the doors to consumers on any budget.

Franchise options to their business model will be available.

This idea is not new in Europe. A store in London of a similar name ‘Unpackaged’ closed down last year.

But there is hope that the soon-to-be-opened Original Unpackaged Berlin store will keep open for years to come.