German Supermarket Cuts Down on Waste by Nixing Packaging

Sara Wolf Explains Concept Behind 'Original Unverpackt' 1:04

BERLIN — You can buy anything from fresh vegetables and pasta to soap and shampoo in a new supermarket, but one thing you won’t find are the bags and bottles to carry the products in. Customers in Original Unverpackt, which means "originally unpackaged," must bring their own packaging to transport around 400 products sitting in crates or metal vats around the small shop.

Sara Wolf, one of Unverpackt's owners, hatched the concept of "naked groceries" after realizing how much garbage was linked to her meals. “One night, we drank a lot of wine, we ate a lot of food, but we also created a lot of waste, that’s when we came up with this idea,” the 31-year-old said. The venture received an early boost when an online crowdfunding campaign raised over $135,000 in the spring. The outlet has even become a tourist attraction, according to Wolf. “Apparently we are now really big in Korea and Japan after their state television reported about our store,” she said. “And once a French tour group arrived by bus.”


- Carlo Angerer