There are a lot of ways to educate our kids to look after the planet, but first and foremost we need people they can look up to – who can inspire them to do good in innovative ways. These are the people that have made it their lives work to get us to change our habits – to avoid plastic packaging, to buy products that are produced sustainably and fair and who care about that what we eat and drink is both good for us and the planet. Meet the eco-warriors behind three recent initiatives in Singapore: Our third entry is: Unpackt.
Walking into Unpackt the day before the opening, corresponds well with the catching name on the shop front. “Unpackt” is literally…unpacked. Boxes on the floor and a new fridge is on it’s way into the back. Florence Tay has just had to resort to a trip to IKEA to make sure that there are glasscontainers for people who won’t remember to bring their own. Because yes, that is what you do at Unpackt, nothing is wrapped or contained in plastic – it’s a “Bulk Store”, which means that you bring your own container, buy your produce in bulk and pay according to the weight.
So how did this come about? Well, Florence had been keen to get into Social Responsibility for a long time, so she and Jeff Lam met up and the conversation started on foodwaste. Jeff felt he was throwing out a lot of food living on his own, and not only that, how was it possible to reduce the amount of packaging that was also ending up in the bin? Unless going to the markets, most food in Singapore are sold in set amounts and packaged in plastic – something could be done here.
Unpackt was born – a name that doesn’t just relate to the absense of packaging but also that when you buy your food at Unpackt, you commence a journey and make a ‘packt’ to buy your food in bulk.
Jeff and Florence’s journey to opening their own bulk store has not taken long, but this does not mean it has been easy.
“Purchasing the right, organic, food in bulk was a challenge, the realisation that all produce has to be fridged in a country like Singapore and the cost of renovation and opening a store was also somewhat a surprise!”, Florence says.
Market research was necessary to find out what items would be in demand and also working out the best location to where you’d get a local community involved all while not being too far away from the centre.
One month on, the shop is doing well, and Florence and Jeff have integrated their wish to be socially responsible by hiring single mums who can bring their kids to work (a room is allocated for this). So check out what’s available before you go at Unpackts FB page, bring your container and start shopping and feel the relief of ‘unpacking’ your groceries without filling your bin afterwards.
Get a tour from Florence of the shop below – we came to visit the day before the opening in May!
– if you wonder what happened to all the IKEA packaging in the video, don’t worry, it was reused for signs and shelf padding in the shop!
6 Jalan Kuras