This Zero-Waste Supermarket is Redefining Grocery Shopping

Shopping for groceries will never be the same.

Sep 30, 2015
Original Unpacked supermarket gravity dispensers

Original Unpacked reduces waste by allowing customers to select the exact amount of food they need (valhalla)

You won’t  find Smucker’s Peanut Butter at Original Unverpackt. You also won’t stumble upon a Frosted Flakes cereal box, or a Pantene shampoo bottle - or even plastic bags to carry home your purchases. That’s because Original Unverpackt (Original Unpacked in English) is a no-packaging, no big-brand names, zero-waste supermarket - the first of its kind in Germany.

Inside of Original Unpacked supermarket Customers bring their own containers and bags since the supermarket is packaging-free (valhalla)

Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbovski are the creators of Original Unpacked. Just two girls tired of the absurd amount of disposable packaging and waste in the food industry, Wolf and Glimbovski dropped out of college to challenge the traditional grocery shopping experience.  Driven by the slogan, “let’s be real, try something impossible,” the duo started a crowdfunding campaign in May. After surpassing their original fundraising goal by more than half, Wolf and Glimbovski successfully opened their store in Berlin's Friedrichshain Kreuzberg district in September, 2015.

Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbowski, founders of Original Unpacked Sara Wolf and Milena Glimbowski started Original Unpacked to help people rethink their grocery shopping experience (Original Unverpackt)

Food at Original Unpacked is sold mostly in bulk from gravity dispensers that line the walls of the supermarket. Customers simply press the handle on the dispenser to purchase exactly how much they need, reducing unnecessary waste in their homes. The supermarket also carries mostly locally-sourced, organic products and customers are encouraged to bring their own containers from home (or they can purchase one from the store).

In addition to bulk items such as beans, pasta, and grains, Original Unpacked sells a wide range of produce, meat, and dairy items, as well as shampoos and cleaning products – also dispensed from refillable containers.

With an upscale, folksy vibe, postmodern design, and high hygienic standards, Original Unpacked is hoping to appeal to a wider crowd and become the prototype for zero-waste supermarkets, not only in Germany, but throughout the world.

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.

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