One amazing thing to me about Berlin is how environmentally conscious this city is. Something I’m not so fond of? How cold it can be. And I’m not talking about temperature – although that kinda sucks too. But still, even if the secretary at the doctor’s office is giving you shit for you simply expecting her to do her job (long and true story), you can bet she’s recycling when she gets home. So I guess I can’t be too mad. Re-using cloth and nylon bags for grocery shopping has long since been the norm over here, as has not really turning on lights in buildings until it literally becomes difficult to read even when squinting – I’ve experienced this in the waiting room at the hospital and first thought they were just trying to save money or completely aloof, but then realised all the offices and pre-schools I’ve ever worked in were clearly following the same policy.

Oh, and expect to be freezing in the winter indoors, because no one really likes to put the heat on either as it wastes energy. And dyers? Yeah they don’t really exist, unless you are a snob. A substantial amount of the population is also fixated on organic and local produce. Which brings me to this pretty great grocery store I discovered after reading this article last week called OU, or Original Unverpackt.

jam from original unverpackt in kreuzberg, berlin

OU is a local grocery store that has done away with traditional wasteful plastic packaging and is bringing back the good ole days when the milkman used to leave glass bottles on your front step. The store runs on a simple premise – packaging and containers must be sustainable. The rest functions as normal. You can feel free to bring your own tupperware containers or purchase containers from OU to either keep, or return for a deposit. Now, the one downside is that even without the deposit tacked on, the store isn’t cheap. Still, the majority of the store’s produce and products are local and not mass-produced in some giant factory part of the Agricultural- and Meat-Industrial Complex.

Being the starving artist that I am, I could only really afford to pick up one item, a jar of jelly (which, by the way tastes amazing, especially for breakfast spread across a Splitterbrötchen), but seeing as I’ll be needing my deposit back, I’m starting to see that not only is this an environmentally and socially conscious store, it has a pretty damned good business model too. Due to the high costs, I don’t think I will be a regular customer, but I AM hoping that more and more local shops and companies adopt this practice until it becomes the norm. Because who really knows what to do with all that plastic? I sure as hell don’t.

Photography: Rae Tashman

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Stay conscious, Rae

Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Love your descriptions of Berlin! How lovely to have such a fantastic grocery shop, and I think you made a good choice on the jam – it looks amazing!! xx

  • This is amazing, have you heard of plastic free July? It’s a challenge for a month to not use any plastic, and you can document the plastic that is unavoidable.
    I think we all need to be more conscious of recycling and environmental issues, it’s just a shame it’s so expensive to be ethical with materials used.

  • It’s really cool that you can also bring your own containers! My family keeps like all glass jars from jam etc to reuse, they’re good for storing little things.

  • Stephanie Louie

    The jar of jelly just looks SO delicious! Berlin is just all over the map and just a popular place, one day I hope to visit! I keep forgetting to email you back, it’s always at the tip of my fingers, but I’ve had issues with my Mac lately (ugh). Tonight! x

  • that’s awesome. In Kuala Lumpur, Saturday is declared as a ‘no plastic day’ in all groceries retail so none will be provided when people make purchases. I would love to see it’s practiced widely here in any ways possible, but it’ll take some time I guess. also, that jar is too cute. great find x

  • Naomi

    Ugh yes! I’m a sucker for jars too. They’re way better for the environment, you can ’em re-use them for whatever and I like the look too.

    And that store looks incredible. Definitely have to go there one day if I ever get to Berlin


  • Samantha Mariko

    that jam looks so good! I have yet to find a good jam or jelly in japan :)

  • WOW. That is a cool idea! & that jam looks SO good.


  • First of all, that jam looks really YUM! Secondly, I admire (and kind of envy) that people in Berlin are so conscious about this matter. I wish we could be more like that. Here, people keep consuming like there’s no tomorrow and destroying our environment at the same time. It’s a sad thing to see, you know.

  • Shirley M.

    That is absolutely ADORABLE. Such a nice way to help out the environment & that jam looks BOOOMBBBBBBBB

    xx Shirley

  • I love this (and it looks delicious) and I love the concept behind it! I completely agree and think the entire world should adopt this concept. This could make such a difference in our world today and it all starts with 1! Way to go berlin! :)

  • Okay…I cannot get over how awesome you are. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading beauty blogs and I can totally get on board for monthly favorites and whatnot, but your blog is so refreshing to my inner social worker.

    • rae

      Ah you are so sweet – I really really appreciate this comment so much and am sooooo flattered!

  • Ha, and it’s weird to my friends when I tell them I don’t use the dryer ’cause it’s unnecessary (plus it shrinks/breaks down fibers quicker!). I have to get on that reusable bag thing, though. I usually bring a small canvas bag with me in my regular handbag, but I always forget to take it out when it’s time to bag my groceries!

    becky ♡ star violet

    • rae

      I was actually this super weird American that never used dryers in college – like you said, it really ruins and shrinks clothes! I just hung everything up but did throw things like socks and towels and underwear in the dryer – for that it is quite helpful! And yes, reusable bags are definitely a smart thing to always have on hand, because you never know when you might need to buy something!