As a population, we currently produce an excessive amount of waste that is causing severe and irreversible damage to our environment. Whilst plastic packaging and synthetic fibres are the worst offenders found throughout our natural ecosystems and predicted to remain in our environment for hundreds of years, excess amounts of paper and compostable packaging are also causing problems due to the energy and resources required for their production and disposal. Recognising this issue and aiming to promote mindful consumption and sustainable living are many small companies in Berlin, and larger German supermarket chains have also begun to make positive changes. These initiatives are exactly what is needed all over the world to promote the development of a circular economy.
Wiener Str. 16, Kreuzberg
The first zero waste store in Germany selling packaging-free products and items such as toothbrushes and razors made from sustainable materials. Bring your own jars, bags and bottles to fill up with household essentials ranging from pasta to washing up liquid.
Schloβstr. 94, Charlottenburg; Tamara-Danz Str. 11, Friedrichshain; Karl-Marx Str. 108, Neukölln
Sir Plus rescues both fresh and packaged food products from being thrown away unnecessarily and gives them a second chance on their store’s shelves (at low prices!).
Warschauer Str. 33; Marheineplatz 15; Schivelbeiner Str. 34
A small chain of vegan supermarkets with a bulk-food section where you can buy packaging-free pantry items such as grains and nuts.
Lychener Str. 47, Prenzlauer Berg
An organic packaging-free mostly vegan grocery store that focuses on Fairtrade and regional produce.
Independent organic grocery stores that source sustainable produce and tend to have a section for packaging-free products.
Larger chains of organic supermarkets that source sustainable produce and tend to have a section for packaging-free products.
Schliemannstr. 14A, Prenzlauer Berg
A beautiful palm tree decorated store with the ethos “Let’s refill not landfill” where you can buy organic cosmetics made from natural ingredients without the plastic packaging.
If getting to these stores is difficult for you, don’t despair as there are plenty of other options; regular farmer’s markets take place in many different locations around Berlin to which you can bring your own bags to buy packaging-free produce. Particularly noteworthy is the Maybachufer Market (Maybachufer, Kreuzberg) which even has a stall selling fresh tahini, a sesame seed paste often used in Middle Eastern cuisine, that you can fill into your own jar. Alternatively, Die Dicke Linda Market (Kranoldplatz, Neukölln) is a much smaller Saturday market with a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Other popular markets include Boxhagener Platz Market (Friedrichshain), Markthalle Neun (Kreuzberg) and Prinzessinengarten Market (Kreuzberg) which takes place by the Prinzessingarten urban garden that produces fresh food for the city.
+ Words: Yasmin Razzaque
Yasmin Razzaque is a Biochemistry graduate with a keen interest in health and nutrition. She uses her scientific knowledge and ability to critically analyse research to write articles about healthy and sustainable eating and wellbeing.