This week, we went to take a look in a very special store, named Robuust!. Inside, we were greeted by a very friendly employee who took the time to explain us the concept and origin of the store.
The idea for this store originates from the owner, who took a trip to Vietnam about 6 years ago. There, she discovered that Vietnam was facing a huge plastic waste problem. She was so shocked by all the things she saw there and of all the plastic that was lying around, that she decided to start up a store that sold food and ingredients without any packaging.
The store has now been open for 5 years and gets visited by people from all age categories. From students to young families to a bit more older people. It is located in the Reyndersstraat 2 in Antwerp.
When you look inside the store, you immediately notice all the different bottles and jars, containing all the different food (such ass beans, seeds, chocolates) oils, soap, thee, flour and spices. Also, everything inside the store is made out of recycled wood (the counter, the cabinets, the door and even the floor). Even the card which contains the opening hours is made out of cardboard. Inside the store, you even have the possibility to buy a gift card, also made out of cardboard.
The aim of the store is that you just buy the ingredients according to the size that is needed. In order to do this, you have to bring your containers and bottles from home to put in your ingredients. This is different from a normal store, where you buy prepacked food which mostly leads to surpluses that will just take up space in you kitchen.
Recently, the store also sells a few non- food articles, such as sustainable drinking bottles from ‘Dopper’, which all the AMS’ers are already familiar with. They also sell small kitchen utensils, which are of course environmentally friendly.
Another important aspect of the store is that they don’t participate in giving discounts. Giving a discount would encourage people to buy more than they actually need which will lead to food wastage. Buying more than you need makes that in the end, you have to throw some stuff away. However, they do give discounts for food that quickly expires and would have to be thrown away eventually.
We definitely suggest to go and check out this rather unique store. Don’t forget to bring your little jars and containers!
By Barbara Allaert and Henri Desmet (email@example.com)