Celebrating Zero-Waste Produce at Berlin’s Package-Free Grocery
Doing away excess food packaging is an important step to reducing our carbon footprint, but can a bring-your-own-bag philosophy translate into a larger movement when it comes to buying vegetables? Enter Original Unverpackt, a new supermarket in Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg neighborhood where you can buy everything from coffee to cream – as long as you’ve got something to put it in. As a “pre-cycling” institution, Original Unverpackt (aka Original Unpackaged, or OU, as the locals affectionately refer to it) seeks to eliminate food waste by offering local products to consumers directly, thereby eliminating the dependency on wasteful packaging or costly transport from afar. The concept, created by owners Milena Glimbovski and Sara Wolf, may sound revolutionary, but it’s essentially a throwback to no less than sixty years ago, when food was sold directly from farm to grocery basket, before the convenience of modern living dictated how groceries operated and how farmers packaged their products for sale. The universality of zero-waste ethos might explain the wild success of the duo’s crowd-funded crusade, which began after they read Bea Johnsons’ Zero Waste manifesto Zero Waste Home. On any given day, Berliners of all types wander through the aisles with whatever vessels they might have handy.