Those who want to buy food without packaging can now find what they are looking for in several stores. For example in “Basel unpacked” on Erasmusplatz (Image: Christin Kunnathuparambil).
Do you want to buy local products and save as much plastic as possible? Then “unwrapped” stores are perfect for you. Author Christin looked around at three stores.
The products in our stores are usually packed with a lot of plastic. Individually in candy packaging, each individual piece is wrapped in plastic wrap and then repackaged in a plastic bag.
The Zero Waste idea found a solution for this: packaging-free stores. We take our own filling containers with us and only buy as much, in grams, as we really need. So if I want to test a product, I don’t have to buy only a 500 gram package and throw the rest away if I don’t like it. In this way, I reduce not only plastic waste, but also food waste.
There are now several options for plastic-free shopping in Basel. Here’s an overview:
“Basel Bottling Plant”
“Basel bottling plant» is located just a few minutes’ walk from the SBB train station in Gundeli. They offer organic food from the region as well as organic home and body care products such as soaps and deodorants.
The founding duo Simone Häberle and Ivo Sprunger got the idea for such a business concept six years ago. “We have always been annoyed by packaging waste, especially these completely unnecessary products that have been packaged several times, but also the difficulty of obtaining clear information about the ingredients, origin and processing method,” says Ivo Sprunger. Thanks to the transparency of the origin of the products, customers can get the best information, and the “bottling plant” also responds to customer requests. Using a business plan and crowdfunding, they quickly realized that there was a demand for unpackaged food in Basel.
“We still see a certain fear of contact with this initially unknown type of shopping,” says Sprunger. Various factors played a role, such as uncertainty about hygiene or overpriced prices. However, customers would quickly notice that the products are often no more expensive than wholesale organic products.
“Of course, food from Switzerland is definitely more expensive than food from abroad and therefore not comparable. It also has to do with the fact that the standard on eco-labels in Switzerland is usually a bit higher and the working conditions are comparably better,” explains Sprunger.
Sprunger calculates that packaging-free shopping pays off: “In our 5 years of existence, 16,909 plastic yogurt cups, 5,883 shampoo bottles, 4,317 detergents and 3,530 dishwashing containers have been saved, as well as 1,670 plastic hand soap dispensers , 5,464 bottles of olive oil and vinegar. was refilled and we were delivered 1788 kg of coffee beans in reusable kettles. If you put the unused single-use packaging of all these products on one seat in the Joggel, the stadium would be more than full! So it makes perfect sense!”
“Basel without packaging”
«Basel unpacked» is located directly on Erasmusplatz. The nine-member team is an example of moderate consumption, saving resources through so-called slow shopping. They also offer organic and regional products at fair prices.
Outside of opening hours, the store is used for lectures and workshops, e.g. on recycling or food preservation. It is also possible to get acquainted with packaging-free shopping and the assortment with tastings. They also offer team events for clubs or companies. You can get more information here ask.
The founder of “Basel unwrapped” Nathalie Reinau was inspired by a lecture about her shop: “In 2015 I heard eco.nature congress in Basel lecture by Bea Johnson, a zero-waste pioneer from the USA. She had a container full of garbage with her. She explained that it was the waste that she, her husband and their two sons produced over the course of the year. That was so impressive! She then shared that she goes to the market and buys in bulk stores. That’s when I first heard about it. After the lecture, I found out if there were such stores in our country. Unfortunately, that was not the case. It was clear to me: Basel needs a store like this. This is how the story goes ‹Basel unpacked›.»
It is very important for her that the products are packaging-free, organic, social and local as much as possible. Starting with around 100 products, there are now more than 350 in the food and non-food sectors. The cooperative is structured in such a way that any profit is reinvested in the business. You are also part of the team «Basel Social Economy», which is the local currency «network reception» publishes. This voucher is also valid as a means of payment in “Basel Unwrapped” and is intended to support Basel’s socially responsible local economy.
This no-frills store in close proximity to the University of Basel serves primarily as a neighborhood meeting place. «food blood» is committed to creating fair conditions for producers, employees and users. This association consists entirely of volunteers. There is a wide range of food, cosmetics, daily necessities and cleaning products.
They attach great importance to the offer of regional products from the neighborhood or from the wider area. The most local project at the moment is tofu: the soy comes from Sissach and is produced at the Aktienmühle in Kleinbasel.
You also have projects where farmers get half price. And this social approach can also be felt in coffee: here, producers are paid in advance – regardless of the harvest.
Good to know
Basel filling station: Every Thursday you get a 10 percent discount on groceries when you show your student ID or student ID. There are also workshops, for example a tofu workshop is planned. here there are updates on events and other news.
Basel without packaging: On Saturday, September 24, 2022, a “Food Save Banquet” will take place together with other restaurants in the barracks area. Next natural congress will be available on August 23, 2022.
Foodyblutt: A soap making workshop is planned for the fall. More detailed information is available at home page.