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06 December 2012

UK’s first zero-packaging grocery store finds a new home in Hackney

A NEW East London refill grocery store where customers bring their own food packaging has opened on Richmond Road, E8.

Customers bring their own containers and fill them with anything from olive oil to washing up liquid, at Unpackaged, as well as more interesting organic foods like Camargue red rice, bio-degradable chewing-gum and olive leaf herbal tea.

Fresh bread is also delivered daily from the Better Health Bakery and dairy products are locally sourced from Neal’s Yard Dairy.

Speaking at the official opening on 6 December, the shop's founder, Hackney resident Catherine Conway, described her vision for the store as a community hub.

She said: “Corner shops are glue. People want to shop somewhere where they know your name and treat you like a human being.”

The inspiration for the sustainable store started out a stone’s throw away from its new location: at Broadway Market, where Catherine set up her first stall in 2006.

She said: “I didn’t want to throw away packaging. So I decided to start my own business that sold organic, unpackaged produce.”

Unpackaged was formerly based in Islington, but has relocated to Hackney because Catherine needed a larger premises and found that many of her customers lived in the borough.

The new premises house a cafe and bar serving mouth-watering fare all day.

Catherine added: “People are going the extra mile to refill so it’s nice to offer them something to eat and drink at the same time.”

Unpackaged has created a '1,000 cup countdown', where 1,000 biodegradable cups will be used to serve takeaway coffee to customers, each with a tag so that it can be brought back and exchanged for a free coffee.

For more information, visit the Unpackaged website.

Customers can fill their own containers with Unpackaged produce

Customers can fill their own containers with Unpackaged produce

Customers can fill their own containers with Unpackaged produce

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