Orignial Unverpackt founder, Milena Glimbovski
Getting off my train at Paddington Station, it was only two stops on the tube to the lovely leafy area of Maida Vale in London where I was heading to The Dry Goods Store for a Zero Waste event.
The Dry Goods Store opened its doors in July 2013 by the lovely Yasmeen, with shelves stacked with a great range of natural organic products. They have lots of loose un-packaged foodstuffs which can be purchased (in your reusable cotton produce bags of course!) in whatever quantities work for you. Not only that, but they are always doing fun things in store with tastings, pop ups and demos.
For this particular Zero Waste event, I was delighted to meet Milena Glimbovski, founder of Original Unverpackt who was giving a talk on starting her Zero Waste business. Original Unverpackt (roughly translating as Originally un-packaged) is Berlin’s, and perhaps the worlds, first zero waste food store offering not only dry bulk produce, but also cleaning products, beauty products and other liquid products like olive oil and even vodka!
Milena told us of how, being inspired by Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home and Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers, she came up with the idea of creating a shop she herself would want to shop in. A shop that sells all organic, unpackaged, locally sourced food and home products, a shop, which just wasn’t available in Germany.
Setting up a crowd funding page with a target of 45,000 euros, Milena and her business partner at the time quickly attracted media attention and by the time they clicked the go-live button for their crowd funding page, 24 hours later they had raised their target and people were still giving! So much so, that when they reached the end of the fundraising project they were able to go ahead and begin plans to open the store with over double what they had set out to raise!
At the talk, Milena happily answered questions from us all on how she talks to her suppliers to ensure the packaging she receives from them is reusable and non-plastic, what the customer experience is like in-store and how they weigh their own containers before filling them with produce, food hygiene regulations and even how they have sourced locally made tofu from two ladies who call themselves the Tofu B*itches!
During Milena’s inspiring talk, we tasted some home-made delights by The Dry Goods Store team who demonstrated how to make pastes, dips and chutneys to use up food that is almost past its best and therefore cutting down your food waste.
At the end of the event we had a chance to hear from everyone, and how they have come to begin a zero waste journey. Bloggers, zero-wasters, keen business starters & business owners, we were all coming from different places, but all with a shared interest of Zero waste.
Is the Zero waste lifestyle something that interests you or do you already try to follow a waste-free lfestyle? Do you have shops near you for shopping bulk produce, or do you have to travel to shop without packaging?