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Shopper’s Diary: Unpackaged in Clerkenwell

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Shopper’s Diary: Unpackaged in Clerkenwell

Christine Chang Hanway May 10, 2011

Imagine life without packaging; that's what Catherine Conway did in 2006 when she opened Unpackaged in Clerkenwell, all because she wanted to restock her cupboards using her own containers. Julie and I stopped by last week when we were doing our East London run to admire the wares: Conway stocks all the grocery essentials, including oils, vinegars, herbs, spices, tea, coffee, household products, as well as organic fruit and vegetables. Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers (and receive discounts when they do). "The most frugal, but totally genius, bit of packaging design I've ever seen was Nigel Barrow's Christmas puddings," she says. "They're supplied just in the muslin needed for steaming, and are perfect: stylish, rustic, retro, and waste free." For more information and tips on living the unpackaged life, go to Unpackaged.

Above: Even the shop space is repurposed: Conway is reusing what was once Lloyd's, an old Welsh Dairy in Clerkenwell, for Unpackaged.

Above: Straightforward instructions for leading an unpackaged life.

Above: Same message conveyed with the use of pictograms.

Above: Birthday pom-poms made by a friend from recycled tissue paper function as window decoration.

Above: Grocery store essentials stored in glass jars are lined up beneath a vestige of Lloyd's Dairy.

Above: Organic oils and vinegar, sold in bulk.

Above: Fresh fruit displayed in brown paper bags.

Above L: Conway always has an eco-bag from Bags2Keep on her arm. Above R: Her resusable containers of choice are by Dutch Designers Royal VKB.

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