Climate Protection in Berlin: Zero-waste Shopping
Berlin is stripping off. In the city’s first packaging-free supermarket, customers can expect not only the best quality organic products, but can also take a stand on environmental protection by doing away with annoying plastic at the same time.
Dealing with difficult to recycle plastics is one of the biggest challenges of our time. In Germany alone, more than 17 million tonnes of packaging end up in the rubbish each year. It is high time that we cast our eyes over our own consumption habits and consider alternatives to the options available up till now. Under the banner of ‘Zero Waste’, a movement is currently forming whose members have adjusted their personal lifestyles to produce as little rubbish as possible. In Berlin’s first dedicated supermarket without single-use packaging, the movement is flourishing. ‘Original Unverpackt’ (literally Original Unpackaged) is a point of contact for seasoned plastic objectors and newcomers and spectators alike.
Admittedly it is not the first of its kind. Packaging-free shops have existed for a few years now, and can be found in France, England and the US. The first German location for unpackaged groceries opened in February 2014 in Kiel. Nevertheless, Original Unverpackt in Berlin-Kreuzberg has drawn attention right from the beginning. Some were doubtful, but it appeared to fit almost seamlessly into the backdrop of requirements for the alternative scene. Indeed, the supermarket wasn’t only well received by this group. Interest in the reduction of consumer packaging is currently developing from a niche phenomenon into an urban trend.
Like in a chemist from a bygone era, labelled plastic tubes and glass containers are arranged in rows. Their free-flowing contents are delivered in bulk to the store, then decanted by customers themselves into containers that they bring with them and paid for by weight. If you don’t have a suitable container, you’ll be able to find the perfect receptacle in the wide selection available in the store. And as if to respond to the excess of products in other shops – and to the compactness of the retail space – the product range is impressive in its simplicity.
Nonetheless, almost 600 products can be purchased sustainably at this packaging-free supermarket. Alongside the basic necessities such as bread, eggs, nuts and fruit are also luxury foods like chocolate and wine. You can even find gin on tap, which you can decant into small – or large! – liquor receptacles. The conditions are perfect for muesli lovers in particular, as grain-for-grain you can create your perfect breakfast mix. Furthermore, where possible all products in the shop are locally sourced and organically grown.
Those who want to keep their home clean in a conscious way can find suitable products of the highest organic quality: eco dishwashing sponges and cloths made out of cotton, organic cleaning products (from Sodasan), and soaps and laundry soap nuts for an ecological clothes wash. No miracle cures have been (re)invented here to make conventionally packaged products redundant. The success of Original Unverpackt is based far more on the marketing of an authentic shopping experience with an emphasis on fun.
Care for the outside of the body has also been fully considered, and has its own section in the shop: organic soaps in a range of scents, toilet paper made of bamboo and wooden toothbrushes, as well as intimate items such as natural rubber condoms. Being both sexy and sustainable at the same time isn’t so difficult in Berlin-Kreuzberg.
Wiener Straße 16, 10999 Berlin
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 19:30
You want to support Original Unverpackt? Then come to Berlin and check them out and of course the city it self. In case you looking for a place to stay, we have 6 hotels in Berlin with perfect location for everyone.