La Sfuseria, the zero-waste shop in Milan
Refill shops are on the rise in Italy and now it is the turn of Milan, a city not new to this type of businesses. They have understood the urgency to offer customers an alternative to plastic bags and sacks, and more generally to innovate the shopping experience, to be done with their own containers in order to reduce waste, but above all to reuse the many jars and various packaging already in the home. The latest project in this framework is called La Sfuseria, launched last July by Giusi Caponetto. The idea came about gradually and naturally, starting from a path that brought the owner closer to the zero-waste world: "I began to replace many common household products with more eco-friendly alternatives, from plastic-free detergents to reusable cotton makeup remover pads, and so I continued".
The birth of La Sfuseria in Milan
One step at a time, she became more and more aware to the point of turning her life around, and think that she used to work for an oil company... "then my ideals pushed me to change direction, betting on what I am really passionate about". Customer response has been positive right from the start, "Milan is a great place for this type of projects and customers fall into two main categories: those who already know about eco-friendly products and come here specifically to buy them, and those who are intrigued by the atmosphere they sense". The same atmosphere as in the shops of yesteryear, "after all, zero waste also means a return to the past, to those shops frequented by the people of the neighbourhood where food was sold by weight".
La Sfuseria’s products
Giusi also weighs each product, inviting customers to bring their own containers: flours, sweet and savoury snacks, cornflakes and granola, cereals, pulses, dried pasta, biscuits, "all organic and controlled supply chain". Over time, the aim is to widen the offer of zero food mile products, "collaborating with local businesses and networking". In addition to food, there are plastic-free detergents, organic and natural cosmetics, soaps and all those accessories and tools that help reduce the environmental impact, from reusable cotton pads to the vegetable konjac sponge. Like any self-respecting quality product, these items come at a higher cost, "buying organic is not always easy, but perhaps it is high time to learn how to shop properly. We often buy more than we need and end up wasting food and money. Choosing refill shops can help us control better our weekly shopping."
And speaking of shopping, we asked Giusi to reveal a few tricks for a well-organized shopping list. "First of all, you need a meal planning a week in advance, so it will be easier to avoid temptation and limit yourself to the bare essentials, choosing the right quantities". It is high time to change our approach to shopping and food, rediscovering the values of the past with new awareness. Thanks also to workshops, activities and a broad communication on the topic, "we would like to meet school students, since children learn quickly and are very open-minded. In the meantime, we have organised meetings with the suppliers of our three main products – household detergents, cosmetics and food – to explain to the public how eco-friendly and natural formulas can make a difference".
La Sfuseria – Milano – via Andrea Solari, 40 - facebook.com/lasfuseria.milano
by Michela Becchi