Packaging free shops have become ever-more popular with the public as awareness and concern over pollution of plastic packaging grows.

We are carrying out an innovative piece of work with Zero Waste Europe and Réseau Vrac to develop an overview of the state of packaging free shops across Europe.

The aim of the study is to map historical growth in the sector, and calculate the potential for further growth in this area. As part of this, we are also looking at the economic, social and environmental benefits that any growth in the sector brings to the surrounding area.

Our team will initially be focusing on identifying the number of shops across Europe, as well as the length of time that shops have been open for. In addition, we are also collecting data on what kind of products are sold, the types of packaging used, and how many customers they have.

We are also identifying any barriers to the success of packaging free shops, focusing on both national and EU policy.

To collect this information, Zero Waste Europe and Réseau Vrac have approached packaging free shops across the continent and asked them to fill out an online survey answering a series of questions. The surveys have been sent out to a range of European countries and are available in multiple languages.

If you are a packaging free shop and you have not received a survey, please get in touch with Larissa Copello , Consumption and Production Campaigner, from Zero Waste Europe. Discussing the project, Larissa said:

“In a world of overpacked goods, the emerging sector of packaging free shops, mainly based on a local production and distribution, is a spark of hope and has great potential to help move away from the throw-away culture. Zero Waste Europe sees this research as key to reveal benefits of such business model, identify the threats and highlight the opportunities to enable packaging free shops to become the new norm!”

Célia Rennesson, cofounder and managing director at Réseau Vrac, said:

“Understanding who are packaging free shops and what are their impacts on society is key to bring awareness and provoke support from national and European institutions. Réseau Vrac federates more than 1,200 packaging free / bulk economic players (producers, suppliers, distributors) in France and Europe and acts to remove legal barriers to packaging free / bulk development in order to offer a more responsible and sustainable consumption to citizens.” 

You can read this article in French here.

Photo courtesy of Unpackaged, via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.