Zero Waste - Why little things matter (Milena Glimbovski)
The 27 year old Milena Glimbovski has founded "Original Unverpackt", the first packaging free supermarket in Berlin. Today, Milena gives seminars across Germany, Austria and Switzerland and helps others open their own packaging-free shops.
Milena was born in Sibiria (1990), but left the country and moved with her family to Germany with the age of 5 years. At home and in school, she was teaching everybody about packaging. She enjoyed digging deeper into environmenal issues, was interested in it and felt part of it. The more she tried to find out, what exactly environmental issues are about and why people care about it, she actually fell in love with the subject itself.
Before creating "Original Unverpackt", Milena spent several years working in advertising. She changed careers and dedicated herself to the supermarket industry where she could gain fresh insight to the industry and find new solutions for packaging waste: a packaging-free supermarket.
Competitors started copying her shop model: zero-waste shops opened up all over the world.
She became the "Über-German" and tried to pre-cycle (means to avoid trash in the first place). She saw that it is almost impossible to avoid: in the supermarkets everything is packed in plastic and only 20 % of the trash produced, can be recycled. The rest of the trash is getting burned, down-cycled or shipped away and a lot is landing in the oceans. This is the reason, why Milena thinks that the best way is not to recycle but to avoid it just from the beginning.
Milena started crowdfunding, she needed 25.000 €. She received the funds in only one day! At the end, she received more than 100.000 € and was able to open the shop in Berlin in 2014.
Competitors started copying her shop model. At the beginning she did not know how to deal with it, but then understood that it was actually a good thing: zero-waste shops opened up all over the world. The big chains realised that their customers want a positive change and have started to offer bulk products and to encourage customers to bring their own container.
What you do can produce a chain reaction, generating a much bigger and unexpected positive impact!
It took a long time for Milena's shop to be profitable. However, not only did she manage for it to be profitable, but she and her team offer nowadays workshops on how to open a zero-waste shops. She also leads the zero waste community where people write about the movement and inspire others through it!
Milena has shown us that there is one way to change things: Start with yourself, taking little steps to change what you want to change. What you do can then produce a chain reaction (as did opening her shop), generating a much bigger and unexpected positive impact!