At the end of the week, what’s left in your kitchen bin? It’s most likely all food packaging: wrappers, containers, packets and mountains upon mountains of useless plastic. For anyone who can get themselves over to Hackney’s Richmond Road, this might be about to change. Unpackaged, the UK’s first zero packaging grocery has moved from its old lovely Islington old dairy shop off Pentonville Road to a roomier home near London Fields, complete with a café and bar.
The concept remains the same: bring your own containers and get refills for everything (usually around 50p cheaper than with packaging) from olive oil, wine and washing up liquid to pulses, teas and spices. The beauty of this new larger space is that there is even more room for a bigger range of products (and they’ll be listening to what customers want and ordering in accordingly). Plus now they can cook and serve local and seasonal food on site in a relaxed new cafe led by chef Kate de Syllas from A Little of What You Fancy.
These guys are serious about what they do and it’s clear that they have tried to make every aspect as sustainable and well-designed as possible. But what about takeaway coffee cups I hear you cry? Don’t worry, there is a well thought out system for that called the ’1000 cup countdown’, where 1000 biodegradable cups will be given out each with a special tag that entitles the owner to a free coffee when they bring in their own cup. After that, everyone else will have to bring in their own takeaway cups (or drink in!).
Owner Catherine Conway hopes that this store will become a community hub which inspires local people to eat well and try new things. We’re sure that the Broadway Market crowd will be delighted by its opening, but we hope that the friendly atmosphere will attract people who wouldn’t normally think about eating sustainably. The next stage of the Unpackaged revolution will be to try and expand with branches in north, south and west London and helping other business become unpackaged. Pop in and see Catherine for a chat, a homemade meal and to stock up your kitchen and bathroom with eco friendly goodness. Sonya Barber
For info, see beunpackaged.com.