It was about time that Stockholm would catch up with this new and more environmentally friendly way of selling and buying food products. WasteLess is going to be Stockholm’s first packaging-free store and the initiative comes from British Naomi Glinn and Swedish Mattias Östlund.
¨We are much into zero waste and sustainability, we use reusable bags when we go shopping, reducing disposables around home using more enviromentally fiendly stuff instead, like replacing the kitchen towels with washable cloths. We saw that the concept of packaging-free stores was popular abroad and thought why isn’t there something like that in Stockholm, so we thought of doing it here¨ says Mattias Östlund in inteview for Your Living City.
The couple got the idea in January and started playing with it and it grew from there. Four months ago they decided to go for it and since then they’ve been planning, contacting and visiting similar shops in Malmö and Copenhagen, who have been very helpful with tips and showing them how things are done. They’re now into more practical stages, contacting suppliers, choosing products, and looking for a venue in Södermalm, but they’re still struggling with the capital, which so far has basically came from their own pockets and people they know who are interested and want to support them. They have also launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign looking for help from the public.
At the shop Naomi and Mattias expect to provide everything that you need to run a household: cooking ingredients, vegetables, sweets, nuts, grains, seeds – but also soap, washing powder, basic materials so that you can make your own body and hair care products, dairy products like cheese, among others. They hope to be able to provide everything that you might need in your household – completely free of packaging.
“There is no way of getting away with not using packaging. Every shop has tons and tons of packaging and you can’t get away from it!” says Mattias.
WasteLess will provide an alternative, an opportunity for people who feel like they want to make a difference, but cannot find the way.
The toughest part for Mattias and Naomi so far has been getting the interest from the people. Unbelievably enough, they have encountered a lot of people opposed to a packaging-free store. But that’s always the trend whenever there is something new, like a store that can challenge the way we shop today for example. Zero waste implies that theres is something wrong with the way we buy our food today. Many refuse to see that using plastic is bad.
Such a coincidence that on the day of this writing (19th May), the front page of Dagens Industri has the headline ¨The Plastic Threat”. The article addresses the huge environmental problem that the plastic in seas and rivers signifies. The Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog, says that this is undoubtedly one of our truly biggest global environmental problems and Sweden is one of the countries that has done far too little. In all seas, but also lakes and other water streams – there is plastic wherever you look. Most of it comes from unrecycled and wrongly disposed plastic. In four years, the amount of plastic packaging collected at recycling centres has increased by more than 30 percent. But still 60 percent of the packaging we use is not recycled, plastic that is not being made into new plastic. The industry calls for both increased recycling and for using less plastic for disposables and other short-lifecycled plastics like packaging.
But WasteLess face some other problems such as putting the unpackaged food products hygiene standards into question. Mattias debates this by saying, that it’s all about how you do things from the bottom up. WasteLess will use a system that consist of air-tight contamination-free containers. There will never be any risk of contamination, it will be safe and hygienic. They are also looking to find the most environmentally friendly products. The majority will be local, in synthesis, as organic, local and ecological as possible.
“WasteLess is your regular shopping. It’s just as good and even better than normal shopping habits that have all that packaging. Using packaging is bad for the environment. Plastics never go away. Getting rid of packaging leaves the potential to save money for both the consumer and the business It also stimulates innovation, if the society is forced to minimise waste, it stimulates progress. Everyone everywhere will gain in a zero waste consumption” says Mattias
WasteLess is looking to open in Södermalm sometime in the autumn. We can hardly wait to see it happen! Show your support and follow their progress on their website wasteless.se and Facebook WasteLessSweden.