Since opting for a zero waste lifestyle I now find it relatively easy as I've got a routine. I know where to buy zero waste food, what tupperware I'll need in London and I remember to constantly ask for drinks without a straw.
However when you go to a new country it's a WHOLE new ball game. Each country looks at waste differently as they have often have different systems of dealing with it. If you're thinking of heading to Berlin, here are some of my zero waste tips:
- Bring a beeswax bag or cotton bag – there are copious amount of bakeries selling yummy pretzels. Luckily, they don't mind you offering up your bag instead of a paper bag.
- You can drink the tap water – there's no need to buy plastic bottles, just bring a metal water bottle and you can fill up anywhere. If you do forget your bottle, most of their plastic cups are compostable, which is great!
- Most people in Berlin speak English – for me it was relatively easy to ask for drinks without straws, but be wary that they do still use them.
- Bring a coffee cup – like most cities this is essential, cafes will often give you take away cups so be extra wary of this. Similarly to the water bottles, their coffee cups are biodegradable though.
- THEY SELL ZERO WASTE CUCUMBERS! In the UK these are non existent, so when I saw these on the shelf I accidentally yelped out loud in glee before realising that no one else would understand my excitement...
- In every train station you have to buy a paper ticket – I haven't found a way around this but if anyone finds one let me know!
- Napkins are EVERYWHERE – it's worse than in the UK! I was constantly refusing them as I took my handkerchief, as per usual. I was on the end of plentiful puzzled looks for refusing a napkin though!
- They sell yoghurt in glass – sadly I couldn't bring one home as I was only there for a long weekend and couldn't fit the glass in my hand luggage. It's nice to know that you can have a glass option over plastic, though.
I have to admit I was very impressed with Germany as a whole, they're a conscious country when it comes to waste and they promote recycling just about everywhere. You can even collect cans or plastic bottles and get paid to recycle at one of Germany's many bottle returning machines. This often means that the homeless collect/people donate bottles for them to cash in, which I think is a great concept.