More than just a trend: packaging-free shopping is good for consumers, climate protection and nature itself. Our simple tips will show you how little effort it takes to shop plastic free. Find out where to find unpackaged food, how you can still shop packaging-free at supermarkets – and what the advantages of reducing packaging are.
Packaging has been around since the beginning of humankind. Its purpose is to protect food and sensitive goods during transport and storage. Even hunter-gatherers wrapped their food in leaves that they tied up with grass. When our ancestors learnt to use tools, they made containers for transport from hollowed-out pumpkins, animal skins and turtle shells.
As practical as plastic packaging may be, it does have serious disadvantages:
The production of plastic packaging is very energy-intensive. Moreover, it needs crude oil, which is a fossil material. It is also energy-intensive to recycle – and expensive. Which is why a large amount of plastic waste is incinerated or exported by ship. This is how it can get into our rivers and oceans.
It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. Roughly eight million tonnes of packaging waste gets into our oceans every year. A million seabirds and 100,000 other sea dwellers die yearly as a result of humans littering their habitat.
Some plastics contain harmful substances such as plasticisers. In some circumstances, they can leach into the packaged food. Plastic waste in the oceans is broken down by UV light and wave action into the smallest of pieces. These resulting microplastics can be ingested by marine creatures and eventually get into our food chain.
Shrink-wrapped cucumbers, pre-cut fruit in plastic trays – not really necessary.
You can avoid packaging in your daily life with the following tips:
Plan your shopping to avoid spontaneous purchases. This will help you reduce packaging waste and save money.
Take your own containers for different foodstuffs – such as cloth bags or produce bags.
Avoid single-use packaging and instead choose reusable packaging.
Buy drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. An especially eco-friendly alternative: tap water.
If the broccoli at the supermarket is only available in plastic packaging, then opt for unpackaged cauliflower.
Packaging can also be used for storage. Refill food at home into storage containers made from porcelain, glass or stainless steel.
Would you like to find out more? Bookshops have a range of books on plastic-free packaging and zero waste.
Packaging-free shopping: containers are essential when you want to avoid industrial packaging. You will find a few tips for suitable utensils in our checklist:
Take your own cloth bag with you when you go shopping. This will help you avoid plastic bags. Leave cloth bags in your car or bicycle basket just in case you want to shop spontaneously. Cloth bags come with all kinds of attractive designs nowadays.
Special bread bags made from fabric are perfect for shopping at the bakery.
Avoid thin plastic bags from the produce section and use produce bags or mesh laundry bags instead.
Beeswax food wraps
Reusable beeswax food wraps are a great alternative to cling film.
Porcelain containers with a lid
Villeroy & Boch has a range of stylish and practical porcelain bowls with a firmly closing lid. They are suitable for all kinds of food.
Stainless steel boxes
Sealable containers made from stainless steel are perfect for cheese and cold cuts.
These plastic containers are also suitable for food from the deli counter.
Glass jars with a screw-on lid
Jam jars and bottling jars are perfect for storing loose dry food such as nuts, legumes or rice.
Tea and coffee caddies made from metal or porcelain are also practical for loose food.
Glass bottles are useful when you want to buy fresh milk from a milk vending machine or fresh juice from a juice bar.
Reusable travel coffee mugs
Avoid single-use plastic cups and instead have your take-away coffee poured into your reusable mug. You will find high-quality travel coffee mugs made from porcelain at Villeroy & Boch.
Bags, large backpacks or shopping trolleys make it easier to transport your shopping.