Imagine a shop where there are no plastic shopping bags, and even absolutely no packaging for the products. This is the concept a Hungarian entrepreneur has brought to life.
The NoPack small goods store recently opened its doors to shoppers who want a more ethical and environmentally friendly offering in the northern Budapest suburb of Budaors.
The company’s philosophy is that all glass, baskets, boxes, and bags used to carry each item must be provided by the customer. The store sells fresh produce, natural cosmetics, baked goods, and fair trade coffee.
Business founder Mark Monostori-Kalovits told the Heti Vilag Gazdasag there were so many people waiting in line they were almost “clambering over each other” to enter the store.
“Is there nothing packaged here? It was like this in my childhood years,” an elderly shopper said who preferred not to be named.
NoPack employs an economist, a human ecologist, and pedagogy specialist who aim to educate their shoppers about minimizing their “ecological footprint.”
As traders, they believe it is important to procure supplies from farming families and handcrafted good manufacturers that not only sell healthy products, but are also headquartered in the local area.
Fresh produce is only sourced within a 30 km (18.6 mile) radius of the store.
NoPack also has a community space upstairs with bean bag furniture, welcoming all to talk, have a cup of coffee, and meet like-minded “greenie” people.
“Only a very small percentage of packaging is used to prevent spoilage. In most cases, only the chocolate, fruit, or dairy products receive a second layer of packaging, so it is easier to buy multiple quantities,” Noemi Andacs of the Shoppers With a Conscience Association said.
Watch a video of the store’s interior:
After considering how many plastic bags are in each person’s home, it is not hard to believe that each day half-a-million plastic bags are distributed around the world. Many of these are disposed of after being used just once.
Although NoPack has only just opened, it has already attracted 42 potential business partners — who are holding talks about opening similar businesses via a franchise model.
Interested parties are not only based in Hungary, but also the neighboring European Union member states of Romania and Austria.
The next NoPack store is expected to open in downtown Budapest within a few months.