A place where they actually insist you bring your own container. Where you won’t find plastic bags of any kind, and most products sport words like ‘organic’ or ‘local’ or ‘fairtrade’. A place where you can get bulk raisins, package-free granola bars, unwrapped cheese, and shower gel and balsamic vinegar on tap!
The store is Unpackaged. It was started by Catherine Conway in 2006, and just I can’t believe it has been around for nearly 4 years without me hearing about it. Too bad it’s in London, or I’d be there in a flash.
No doubt, being a boutique, it’s not the cheapest option out there, but how nice to shop in a store that has already done the work for you? No wondering if those apples were flown halfway around the world (Unpackaged doesn’t sell products that are air freighted). No worrying if the non-organic products involve a less than ethical production history (Unpackaged verifies the sustainability of their local suppliers regardless of technical certification). No worrying if you’re going to have to battle the deli counter person to skip the plastic wrap (they don’t even have plastic wrap).
The Unpackaged website sums it all up quite well:
“Whilst some packaging is necessary in our modern industrialised food chain, unnecessary packaging is a waste:
Cost: Unnecessary packaging increases the price of the goods you buy. It means you are charged twice; first when you buy over packaged goods and then through your council tax to dispose of your rubbish.
Waste: Unnecessary packaging is a waste of resources at every level: to produce, store and transport, remove and to dispose of.
Pollution: The two main methods of disposing of this packaging – landfill and incineration – are major pollutants for humans and the environment and release greenhouse gases.”
I tell you one thing. If ever go to London, I’m going to make a trip to this great little shop. If for nothing else than to buy some bulk snacks and tell Catherine Conway, “I think you’re awesome”.