Bye, bye plastic!
We all know what it's like: after shopping and unpacking - a mountain of plastic wrappers, plastic bags, plastic cups.
‘Enough is enough!‘ – that’s why the Tyrolean supermarket M-Preis decided to launch the Bye, bye plastic initiative. With consistent ideas for avoidance, 860,000 plastic wrappings in which cucumbers, for example, used to be packed have since disappeared. It is just one of many ways that M-Preis is working for more sustainability. They are all remarkable.
Just like the cucumber packaging, the fruit sack has also long since become obsolete at M-Preis. More and more unpackaged fruit and vegetables are being offered in the 257 branches of the Tyrolean family business. Savings to date, for example on cardboard cups: 350,000 units! More and more customers are choosing ready-made snacks and meals, and here in particular it is hard to avoid hygienic plastic packaging. But M-Preis is also thinking about its convenience line ‘I like’ and uses 90 per cent recycled plastic. And at the sausage counter you can have your salami cut into the container you bring with you.
‘As a Tyrolean company in a wonderful natural environment, we see ourselves as having a special responsibility when it comes to saving resources and sustainability,’ says Alina Sposta from M-Preis. She not only says it, but also has examples. The assortment, for example:
Regionality on the shelf
Short transport routes, natural freshness and a ‘know-where-it-comes-from’ attitude – in no other supermarket can you find so many products from Tirol. The trend towards regionality was not born in the times of Corona. More and more consumers appreciate what is grown on their doorstep and don’t want potatoes, strawberries and apples that have travelled halfway around the world. ‘At M-Preis, we decided early on to use the products of ‘Bio vom Berg’ – the brand of the Tyrolean organic farmers,’ says Alina Sposta, ‘which gives us a unique selling point in the huge range of food products. It is important to us that we work together and that we get top-quality fresh products on the shelves in a short time.’ The demand confirms this course. After small beginnings, there are currently 130 articles offered by ‘Bio vom Berg’ – from alpine chicken to organic polenta. There is a lot of sustainability in these articles and many other Tyrolean products: little CO2 pollution, absolute freshness and, last but not least, a guarantee for the survival of small-scale Tyrolean agriculture.
100 % green electricity
Unfortunately, only a few people can experience this impressive sight: we are standing on the roof of the M-Preis company headquarters in Völs. Here, one black panel is lined up with the next – one could almost say: as far as the eye can see. With its first system 14 years ago, the company is one of the pioneers in the field of photovoltaics and solar energy. Today, M-Preis is one of the largest photovoltaic operators in Austria. In the meantime, a collector area of 6,000 square metres has been created on the roof and façade of the Therese Mölk bakery, the Alpine butcher’s shop and the frozen food warehouse. This can easily supply 170 households with electricity for a year. The investment in photovoltaics has a good reason: not only at M-Preis is the refrigeration of food one of the largest consumers of electricity. To keep the ecological footprint small, solar energy is used, which is available in abundance during the hot months. For the additional demand, M-Preis is supplied exclusively with green electricity.
But: energy that you save, you don’t have to buy in the first place. Following this motto, M-Preis has been building its stores for years not only with sophisticated architecture, but above all with a good energy balance. 10 stores even meet the passive house standard. The first one, built in 2012 in Pinswang, was a European premiere. To this day, this shop can supply itself with energy thanks to a photovoltaic system on the roof.
Throwing away forbidden
Every day, tons of food are thrown away in Austria. Spoiled, expired or simply wrongly labelled. When an item is nearing its expiry date, it is offered at a discount at M-Preis under the label ‘Last minute’. What is left on the shelf goes the next way to special customers. ‘We want to avoid throwing away edible food in large numbers at all costs,’ says Alina Sposta. That’s why M-Preis works with social associations like Foodsharing Tirol, the Tyrolean Social Market, or the Vinzibus to support people on the fringes of society. And last but not least, really leftover food can still be turned into energy. It is sent to the Innsbruck Municipal Works, where it is subjected to a fermentation process that produces biogas. This gas is used to drive natural gas vehicles and to heat flats via district heating.
Gin from bread
A particularly ‘witty’ example of the utilisation of old food is the in-house distillery. Here, out of a humorous idea, stale bread is turned into spirits. Despite all the care taken, the production of 40 tonnes of bread a day produces a certain amount of waste. This is collected and distilled into gin or the basis for the in-house egg liqueur. The plant is still a small project, but who knows what will come of it? Sustainability does not end with waste separation and energy saving. Innovative ideas and the courage to try new things have led to many adjustments in resource conservation at M-Preis. The most recent of these is the company’s own production of hydrogen – but that’s another story…
Further links (in German only):
- Video: Naturally in Tirol | M-Preis
- Stories of success: ‘Bread from yesterday’
- Spirits made from bread
The Bakery Therese Mölk is a member of the Green Filming database Marketplace Tirol. There you will find products and services from regional and sustainable Tyrolean companies that can be used for your film production.
Moreover, M-Preis is a Tyrolean success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more success stories here (in German only).