In late 2019, a Coburg North resident decided to do something about food packaging.
Gabrielle was finding that the greatest source of packaging waste in her home was from shop-bought tofu. She decided to contact the tofu company to see if she could go collect her tofu requirements in buckets. Soyfoo, a small, family-owned company in Braybrook, said yes.
What started with tofu has now grown to the Wholefood Unwrapped Collective (WUC), a zero and low-waste vegetarian bulk food initiative distributing 400 available products straight from producers to Merri-bek residents.
They are also certified Plastic-Free Champion as part of Plastic Free Sydney Road.
How does it work?
The collective offers twice weekly collections in Brunswick and fortnightly pickups from Fawkner. Members of the facegroup group – now topping 2400 – can order from the available products, pre-purchase their requirements online through the website and collect on the day.
Food is distributed through stainless steel tubs and crates – ‘returnables’ – that members bring back next time they pickup an order.
Labour is supplied by a roster of volunteers who help pack, sort and serve collective members.
What is available?
Melbourne Food Hub supplies fruit and vegetable boxes to WUC, with produce exclusively grown or manufactured in Victoria and Melbourne.
The Collective also offers everything from pasta, rice, oil and soba noodles, to bread, shampoo and seaweed rice crackers – all sourced directly from suppliers slashing prices and packaging.
Gabrielle is thrilled with the success of WUC and hopes to be able to develop the Brunswick space into a food hub with pay-as-you-feel meals, beehives and mushroom growing. But for now, it’s all about keeping up with demand for this thriving initiative.