Gallery: London’s Unpackaged Grocery Shop Eliminates Wasteful Packaging


What do you get when you combine clever marketing, a cute shop, delicious and beautiful food, and eliminate the packaging? A genius idea we wish we had thought of first! Unpackaged is a boutique grocery shop in London that works like the bulk food section of your local store, relying on you, the customer, to bring in your own packaging as a way to eliminate waste. The store sells everything from nuts, flour, sugar, beans, herbs and spices, to oils, vinegars, produce, cheese, bread and even wine! With strict eco-policies on where their source their food, Unpackaged is one of the most environmentally friendly grocery stores we’ve seen.

Started by Catherine Conway in 2006, Unpackaged was a small market stall that became so popular that Conway decided to open up a full-fledged shop. The store sells almost all their goods out of bulk bins and the packaged items they do carry are minimal and easily recyclable. It’s certainly not as large as most grocery stores, and it doesn’t carry multiple brands of one item — in fact the store doesn’t carry many well-known brands (except for the wines).

Why unpackaged? Three reasons: first, it’s cheaper to buy and sell things in bulk, since the extra cost of packaging isn’t passed on to you. Second, packaging is a waste of resources and time, and requires extra fuel to transport that weight. Finally, packaging is really just trash and causes pollution because it is so often sent to the landfill.

At Unpackaged, customers are asked to bring their own reusable containers, like bags, bottles, jars, etc to fill up on the items they want. If you happen to forget a bag, the store has extra reusable bags for you to borrow. Check out their list of products they carry so you can plan your trip appropriately and bring enough containers. All of their wares are either certified organic, or from a known and trusted source that engages in sustainable practices. Additionally, they source fair trade goods and never buy anything that was air freighted, giving preference to local suppliers.

The store itself is also incredibly cute and their marketing and logos were very well designed. We already wish there was one just like this in our town. Definitely check out the beautiful pictures!

+ Unpackaged



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  1. Bernt Vilhelm July 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    In China lot of goods are sold without packaging even on big stores like Tesco. Stores smell like rotting meat, meat is not in plastic packages but rather you put it into small thin plastic bag, eggs are often sold without cartons, they are just stuffed inside plastic bags, rice is also sold in similar way. Minimal packaging is really the way majority of worlds foods are sold.

  2. icandyart October 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    We are getting our very own here in Austin, TX, USA. It’s in.gredients at I can’t wait! BUT…in the photos above, I see several packaged goods…..appears to be wine and oils, etc. Hmmmm?!

  3. klacha January 26, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Actually, in the Soviet Russia, the customer had to bring it’s own packages for many goods that was sold by the weight: fruits and vegetables, oil, sour cream, milk and so on. There was also no bags provided by the stores, so people was saving and washing the bags, cans and bottles for future use. So London is not just became more green but also more red.

  4. Rebecca Mary Denney January 22, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Love the idea! I’ve often thought of all the waste in packaging when I shop for not only groceries but anything. I would love to see something like this in my neighborhood here in Ohio. I would most definitely patronize such an environmentally friendly establishment.

  5. vach January 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

    very friendly idea :)

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