GramMalm ö, the first unpackaged grocery store in Sweden, is headed by a Taiwanese girl! Huang Wuqiao witnessed the progress of waste reduction in Sweden
The zero waste movement is booming all over the world. There are more and more "unpackaged" and "naked" shops in Taiwan, and more and more people begin to bring their own cutlery, containers, and shopping bags. A variety of reusable tableware, sanitary products and other products are springing up in the market.
However, on the other side of the world, Sweden, where the atmosphere of environmental protection prevails, does not see such a booming plastic reduction or zero waste movement. Swedes may rely too much on the system, believing that all individuals can do is sort garbage, make more use of public transport, and leave the rest to the government.
When shopping in a Swedish supermarket, I see this interesting phenomenon from time to time: a customer buys a lot of organic, fair trade and other products, but also smokes several expensive plastic shopping bags (the price of a plastic bag has risen to 60.7 kroner this year, about NT $24). As a matter of fact, the Swedish government also hopes to reduce consumption by raising the tax on plastic bags, but the results seem to be limited.
Sweden's strict food laws and regulations have also made it impossible to put into practice the method of waste reduction that Taiwanese are familiar with. COOP supermarket, which claims to pay the most attention to environmental impact, made a similar attempt at unpackaged stores as early as the 1990s, but it came to nothing in the end.
Gram Malm ö, Sweden's first unpackaged store, opened in Malmo, the third largest city, in 2016. Huang Wuqiao, a girl from Taiwan, participated in the Swedish waste reduction campaign on this side of the world.
Gram Malm ö in southern Sweden is the first unpackaged shop in Sweden (photo courtesy of / Huang Wuqiao)
Huang Wuqiao from Taiwan moved back to Sweden from Taipei with his Swedish husband in 2018. Since childhood, because of family education, environmental protection and waste reduction have always been a part of life. Although he has not actively participated in the environmental movement, he is no stranger to this concept. He met the Gram Malm ö store before moving to Sweden. After coming to Sweden as a volunteer in the store, he stepped into this interesting world step by step.
The unromantic life of opening a shop requires "re-training" every day.
Huang Wuqiao is currently the manager of Gram. There are more than 200 kinds of products in the small store, in addition to unpackaged food, there are also a variety of environment-friendly products. At present, 90% of the goods in the store are organic, including nearly 15 fair trade items.
Running an unpackaged store in Sweden sounds like a dream and romantic job at first glance, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Gram runs a small business and can't afford too much personnel costs, so Huang Wuqiao and his colleagues usually take care of the shop alone. From the preparation before opening, the service after opening, and the cleaning after closing, most of them have to be arranged on their own.
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