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Packaging-free shopping on the rise in Europe

The number of shops in Europe that sell in bulk is growing constantly. Aside from the well-established Italian Effecorta and Catalan Granel, in Vienna Lunzers Mass-Greisslerei is offering products in bulk to the Austrians, whereas in Germany a new shop called Unverpackt opened its doors a month ago in Kiel.

In Berlin, Biosphäre is a social, non-profit organic shop, which started offering cleaning products without packaging in 2013 and bulk food products this month – both with excellent results. During the usual learning period, paper bags are used to fill dry food products from large dispensers (“bulk bins”), though more and more customers are starting to purchase reusable cotton pouches and to bring their own containers to the shop. Thus the amount of disposable packaging is steadily decreasing.

The shop is located in Berlin’s Neukölln district, and the goods have two prices: the cheaper one reserved for customers with low incomes. All products in the shop are high quality and organic, and priority is given to the small producers in the region.

Hence it is a shop that generates sustainable jobs inside and outside the business, it has a low ecological footprint because most of the products have not travelled long distances, doesn’t leave waste behind and it is also a good opportunity for the locals to eat local and healthy food without having to pay more than in other shops. The concept for Biosphäre’s packaging-free food section was developed by the new company, unverpackt-einkaufen, (“shop unpackaged”), which aims to integrate packaging-free alternatives within existing grocery businesses in Germany.

During 2014 new shops selling in bulk will be opening in Berlin and elsewhere, stay tuned for the good news!

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