As mentioned in December 2020, I have been trying to avoid single-use plastic packaging since 2017. There was a report about it in the Kleine Zeitung recently and it is now relatively easy to get products without plastic packaging. Recently it has become even easier, since the first zero-waste shop has opened in the Lavant valley: Oswald Teigwaren at Sonnhalberweg 19, in the south of Wolfsberg. I visited the store and found it refreshingly simple, with lots of everyday essentials and plenty of room to expand the product range. I met up with one of the new owners and asked him how it all came about and how it works.
Claudia: I’m here at Oswald Teigwaren, with new owners, but the old name ‘Oswald’ has stayed?
Alexander Muchitsch: Exactly, yes.
C: And who are you precisely?
A: I’m Alexander Muchitsch and my girlfriend is Sarah Stromberger. We are from Preims and in April this year we took over the business from the Oswald family, who have gone into well-deserved retirement. With the takeover, we also opened the first package-free shop in the Lavant valley.
C: How did you come up with this idea?
A: We thought we’d try something different, a self-service store that also saves on packaging, which is very important to us. We first saw this idea in Germany and realised there was nothing like it here in the Lavant valley. We decided to try it and it’s been really well received here in Wolfsberg too.
C: „Package-free“, how does that work?
A: We have dispensers with products here, so people can bring their own containers and fill them up. The container is weighed beforehand.
C: So a jar, a plastic container, or a bag, whatever?
A: Exactly, whatever you already have at home and bring with you. You fill your pasta in there, or flour or semolina etc. and weigh it. The goods you take with you are calculated and you pay for it at checkout yourself. That’s it.
C: So you calculate the price yourself, minus what the container weighs?
A: Exactly. You weigh the container first, then the goods with the container and subtract the weight of the container. Then you have the weight of the goods and can calculate the price, depending on the product. If someone doesn’t have a container with them or comes to the shop spontaneously, we also offer containers for sale, or paper bags.
C: What products do you sell and where do they come from?
A: A very large part is of course our own noodles, including frozen and dried noodles. The eggs are from a farmer in Lavamünd, as are the buckwheat, semolina and spelt flour. The quail eggs are from Ettendorf, the herbal salt comes from our own production. Natural and hair soaps, juice and syrup are from Jörglbauer´s organic farm. The beans and some other products are from Styria and Carinthia. Spices are available in refillable glass pipettes. Now and then we also have fresh products such as peaches or blackberries, which we then post on Facebook and Instagram. You can also see our entire product range on our website.
C: Some dispensers in the back are still empty.
A: Yes, we are in discussions with some producers and are open to suggestions too – we want to know from customers which products they are missing in the store.
C: When is the shop open?
A: Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays and public holidays.
C: But it’s a self-service shop, so people come in and don’t need you, they actually do everything themselves?
A: You don’t necessarily need us, but if anyone has any questions, we’re here every day in the production area. Just knock on the door in the back, my phone number is posted there too if anyone has any questions, but the self-service concept actually works pretty well.
C: Thank you for the pleasant chat!