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Germany Introduces a Dramatic New Type of Supermarket
Although America might be decades away from creating stores like this, but Germany has introduces its first waste free market. When they say “waste free” what they really mean is “packaging free”. This means no disposable cups, no shrink wrap, no plastic bags, and no tetrapacks. Foods are sold in bulk and can be put into storage containers that you bring yourself.
The ultimate goal of this store in Berlin is to completely overhaul the way customers shop for groceries. You won’t find those seemingly endless shelves filled with boxes and plastic bags filled with advertisements and/or promises. You can take your products home with no packaging to dispose of, nor leftover food because the package that was bought was too big to be used right away. Packaging for food items account for more than 16 million tons of trash every year.
The store, called Original Unpacked, wants shopping to be beautiful again. Besides there being no packaging, the store owners say that they very carefully select, as well as test, every single product or item they sell. Almost all of their produce comes from local growers, so this not only benefits the local economy, but it cuts down on the uncertainty of these products. You can get the same great tasting tomatoes, for example, week after week.
Store owners say the prices are quite cost effective and there is a large selection of both organic as well as conventionally grown products. Read more about choosing between organic and conventional eating.
How exactly does this work? It’s quite simple, actually. Foods are arranged attractively in bulk type bins to make choosing easy. Customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable shopping bags and containers to take their products home. The store does offer containers for sale, including recycled paper bags, should you forget to bring your own.
Besides displaying products in bulk type bines, others are placed in dispensaries. There are electric filling stations for beverages, such as apple juice, and all foods are clearly marked with information labels that show the place of origin of the food product along with all the nutritional information you need.
The company who owns this store states that they believe the current concept of how we buy groceries is not sustainable and that unpackaged shopping not only has great benefits for the consumer, but environmentally as well, which benefits society as a whole.
But will it work? Will consumers be willing to give up their “convenience” shopping?
Although Original Unpacked says it’s not yet a big competitor to the retail grocery industry, they believe that their concept will catch on, perhaps all over Germany, and, maybe one day, to the entire world.
The overall concept of this store was developed over about one year by several German women and then crowdfunded by the German firm StartNext.
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Will this concept succeed? We can only hope so. It is a very exciting and intriguing idea but it’s basically up to consumers whether this store will succeed or fail. The ultimate success of this store means that consumers will have to be burdened with storing jugs, mason jars, as well as reusable bags to take to every supermarket excursion. This is an ingenious way to eliminate the staggering amounts of prepackaged waste, but will consumers shoulder the burden of supplying their own containers? Only time will tell, friends.