Sustainability is an important topic for me. While I was informing myself about global warming and the negative impact we currently have on our earth, I realized that waste is a huge problem. The giant amount of waste we produce is rarely addressed by the media. Even worse, although it is getting more attention not much is done (by the government or big companies) to reduce and recycle our waste.
This is why I have involved a few habits in my daily life to reduce (especially plastic) waste.
Bring your own bag
I always make sure that I have at least one reusable cotton bag with me when I go to a supermarket or a store in general. Plastic bags are really unnecessary and cotton bags can carry much more (additionally, in Germany you have to pay for every plastic bag).
Many people use the thin plastic bags for weighing and packing their fruits and vegetables. Sometimes you don´t need anything at all (e.g. for bananas) as you don´t eat the peelings. If I need a bag I use these reusable (and very light) cotton nets.
Another tip that saves you a lot of money: don´t buy bottled water! The tap water in Germany has a very good quality and it is much cheaper than buying plastic bottles. Simply use a glass bottle (e.g. an old smoothie bottle) and refill it. In my opinion, it tastes better than bottled water. Another advantage: more and more cafés offer refilling your bottle without charge!
Avoid packaged food
In general, try to avoid pre-packaged goods. Unfortunately, in Düsseldorf we don´t have a bulk store at all which makes it harder to buy loose products. Nevertheless, it is not impossible and it often saves money.
A few typical examples:
tea bags→ loose tea plastic wrapped fruits, nuts and veggies→ loose food (advantage: only buy as much as you need) milk carton→ organic milk in glass bottles coffee capsules→ filter coffee plastic wrapping→ paper wrapping plastic box→ own box
The last aspect differs from store to store. Some supermarkets and bakeries allow you to use your own boxes (e.g. for cakes or cheese and meat). Simply ask the staff whether you can bring your own container!
As you can see in the pictures, they have a lot of loose products, but unfortunately many fruits are still wrapped in plastic.
Instead of a filter I use these cute tea strainers for my loose tea. Saves a lot of waste and easy to clean!
Coffee “to stay”
Most people are always stressed and in a hurry. Instead of a coffee to go (every morning) you could just order your coffee “for here” and give yourself a few minutes to relax before you start your day. If there´s not enough time for that, simply use a reusable coffee cup. Very often you get a discount between 0,20 – 0,50 €!
Even better and cheaper: prepare your coffee at home and take it with you!
Every slight change and small contribution is important, it has a bigger influence than you think. Thank you for reading; feel free to share your tips and tricks!