Our first unpacked shop - farewell plastic waste!
PLASTIC WASTE AND REUSABLE NETS
Last year the Bundestag passed the ban on plastic bags. A lot has happened since then: supermarkets offer reusable nets for their fruit and vegetables, companies are working on organic stamps and more and more people are trying to declare war on plastic. It seems like we finally understand that we do not have unlimited resources and that we cannot use them the way we are now.
The problem with plastic
The short usage time that PET bottles, plastic bags and most types of packaging waste in general has is out of proportion to the time it takes to decompose. The bad news is: plastic is never 100% degradable and lingers on around us for thousands of years as microplastic (or now also in even us, since microplastics will have been consumed by some of the species we eat, including fish and other sea creatures.) The big problem is not just that we are littering our planet, but that we are massively damaging all living beings in the process. That includes ourselves.
Although we are only at the beginning of the research, it is already clear that many of the pollutants and additives used in plastic are damaging to our health. It is said that they are carcinogenic, liver damaging, mutagenic, toxic to reproduction and hormone-active.
The time to worry about whether it's worth carrying on using them is long gone. The answer is very clear: no! We cannot continue to pretend that all of this is normal. As if we couldn't do anything. As if we had to leave the whole thing to the state and some regulations.
The extent to which we produce garbage is more than terrifying - it is 2017 18.7 million tons of packaging waste (in Germany alone!) To put this into perspective: if we imagine an average male elephant with a mass of 6000kg, our garbage has the same weight as about 3,116,666 of these gentle giants. It's hard to imagine this quantity. That alone should be reason enough to encourage a rethink.
How we can sustainably solve the problem with plastic
But what can we do when the supermarket still offers most of its products shrink-wrapped in plastic?
The solution is not too difficult and there are several ways that lead to the goal. More and more companies understand the problem and offer an environmentally friendly alternative to packaging - like we at AHO, for example. Our pack is 100% compostable (
AHO in plastic-free supermarkets
You might often find yourself look in vain for plastic-free items such as oatmeal, rice, lentils and legumes, or even hygiene items such as shampoo or soap in the supermarket.
But little by little, sustainable ways of going shopping are becoming available. In many cities there are now so-called unpackaged shops.
How does an un-packed store work?
An unpackaged shop offers the opportunity to go shopping with your own containers, which are usually brought from home. The food is there in large containers, glasses or the like and offers the option of pouring its contents into your own box. At the end it is weighed you pay for the weight of the product rounded to the nearest gram - whereby the weight of your own can is determined beforehand and subtracted from the final price. So it is possible to go shopping without producing waste. Often the unpackaged shop owners try to stock chiefly locally-grown and organic products.
The Hildesheime un-packed store “grammliebe" sets a great example. I got to know the shopkeeper Beate personally. For a short time she has been running the comfortably furnished un-packed shop near Hildesheim's old town. The reason for my visit was not just the possibility for a plastic-free shopping. It was also crucial for us to get to know each other that grammliebe is the first plastic-free shop to offer the AHO crackers as part of their range. It goes without saying that our raw food crackers are available completely without packaging and that there is no rubbish for the intermediate trade.
Now you might be thinking that all of this is asking a lot and that you probably don't have a store like this one near you anyway. I would like to investigate the latter directly with you, because after all, more and more unpacked shops are opening.
Here you can see exactly how many plastic-free shops there currently are in Germany:
The Unpacked Association offers the opportunity to register unpackaged shops with you and have them displayed here. So you too can look out for a batch shop nearby. Here you will find the map with all the stores reported so far.
If you still feel overwhelmed or you are not completely comfortable with the whole thing - don't worry, you are not alone. For me it was also a bit daunting entering my first un-packed store ( LoLa in Hannover.) The system was new and unfamiliar. But the doubts I had before were absolutely unfounded. I was surrounded by warm people who offered their help and shared a fundamental value with me: the unpacked shops want to make our diverse planet a little greener with every piece of plastic-waste avoided.
AHO does not use any plastic or aluminum for packaging. The step into the bulk store enables us to even do without the paper / cellulose packaging and thus save even more packaging. We would like to offer the conscious consumer the opportunity to shop as environmentally conscious as possible.
Food that is not enclosed in plastic just looks that little bitter brighter and fresher. Give it a try and visit the nearest loose shop in your area ... and if you don't have AHO in their range yet, just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be on the case.