UnPackt to offer package-free groceries

Singapore is about to have its first zero-waste grocery store, UnPackt.

It will sell its goods without any packaging, encouraging customers to take along their own containers.

In self-serve gravity bins to reduce food waste, dried food and cleaning supplies will go on sale first, with plans to introduce fresh fruit and vegetables when sales volumes pick up. Goods will be priced lower than regularly as they are free of packaging.

The store will also run a recycling scheme offering donated containers for customers who visit the store without their own. Reusable containers can also be bought.

Co-founded by former business executives Florence Tay and Jeff Lam, UnPackt is a social enterprise that aims to spread the zero-waste message and make packaging-free shopping more accessible in Singapore. The store will hire staff from two disadvantaged groups, seniors and single parents.

Tay had the idea for the store while exploring how to cut back on plastic waste. She was particularly looking at how to buy food in small quantities to reduce food waste. A survey she ran this month gave her confidence that Singaporean shoppers will support a zero-waste store.

On Jalan Kuras, in the commuter district of Ang Mo Kio, Unpackt will open early next month. An online version will be introduced later.

Singaporeans consume at a rate that would need four Earths to support them, using an average of 13 plastic bags a day per person, reports Eco-Business. Last year the island produced more than 800 million kilograms of plastic waste, with only 6 per cent being recycled.

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