Recently the new supermarket Unpacked opened its doors in the heart of Berlin Kreuzberg. Now you might ask why this is newsworthy since new supermarkets open in Berlin on a daily basis. However, Unpacked is different because everything you buy here comes without packaging. No plastic or aluminum containers for vegetables, meat, cheese, toothpaste or shampoo. Unlike in other supermarkets every product is in big glass containers from which you can fill it into your own containers. This gives you as a customer a lot of flexibility as it allows you to take only the amount of a product you really need. For every product you can bring your own containers, or rent them directly from the store, and thus only have to pay for the products themselves and not the packaging. The aim of the concept from Unpacked is the avoidance of packaging waste, especially from plastic packaging which is only used once and made up 2,7 million tons of Germany’s packaging waste in 20101. Plastic bags and packaging have a very bad impact on natural ecosystems, which is why the European Union plans on banning free plastic bags from supermarkets. The idea of a supermarket that does not require packaging at all is therefore well thought through and corresponds with the aims of EU policy makers. Lastly we want to suggest doing a little self experiment: Next time you go shopping, pay attention to how much plastic you buy in addition to the actual products. You will be surprised how much petroleum based packaging you will purchase, without ever using it again.
For more information on the ‚Original Unverpackt‘ (Originally Unpacked) supermarket visit their website at original-unverpackt.de. If you fancy visiting the supermarket you can find them at Wiener Straße 16 in 10999 Berlin.
Pictures by Jendrik Schröder und Katharina Massmann