I shopped in the Berlin Original Unverpackt when I lived there last summer and have been thinking about how and where it would be feasible in Ireland since. These are some of the thoughts I’ve had on this topic:
My best guess is to start small with stalls in the farmer’s markets to test and build the customer base. The problem with having just one physical shop is that, realistically, only people in the vicinity will shop in it so there has to be a large demand. Berlin is just so far ahead of us on the zerowaste front that people were already more open to the concept when the store opened. I doubt there are many locations in Ireland at the moment where a zerowaste store could thrive at a level that it would become a feasible business model for its owner. I hope we can change that. More importantly singular locations don’t serve the whole zerowaste community which is spread to far corners of the island. Farmer’s markets are much more widespread and provide a low risk entry to many businesses.
At the moment I buy my oats in the Temple bar market from the Good Crop Company Stall and the guy there is great about filling a jar up. They sell dried fruits, oats, muesli etc. I would love to see stalls like this with a wider range of loose grains nuts and dried goods for sale in what the American’s call ‘bulk buy’ style in all the farmer’s markets.
Another thought I had was that a lot of the organic grains currently sold in farmer’s markets and health food stores in Ireland seem to be supplied by the same import company, but they come in plastic packaging. I haven’t approached the company but if this is you reading maybe you could come up with a solution to help the zerowaste community! Please do get in touch.
Obviously it would be amazing if the larger supermarkets got in on the act but that’s probably a battle for another day. The best plan is to start small, prove that there’s a market and try grow from a grassroots movement.
I wonder if the zerowaste community in Ireland could put their heads together and come up with a viable business model to solve this problem? Leave your comments below.