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Packaging-free shopping

Simple tips:

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

As old as the human race

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.

Why should we avoid packaging?

As practical as plastic packaging may be, it does have serious disadvantages:

Resources
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.

Environment
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.

Health
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.

How does packaging-free shopping work?

Shrink-wrapped cucumbers, pre-cut fruit in plastic trays – not really necessary.
You can avoid packaging in your daily life with the following tips:

Planning
Plan your shopping to avoid spontaneous purchases. This will help you reduce packaging waste and save money.

Containers
Take your own containers for different foodstuffs – such as cloth bags or produce bags.

Reusable packaging
Avoid single-use packaging and instead choose reusable packaging.

Drinks
Buy drinks in glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. An especially eco-friendly alternative: tap water.

Flexibility
If the broccoli at the supermarket is only available in plastic packaging, then opt for unpackaged cauliflower.

Storage containers
Packaging can also be used for storage. Refill food at home into storage containers made from porcelain, glass or stainless steel.

Books
Would you like to find out more? Bookshops have a range of books on plastic-free packaging and zero waste.

Checklist for your next purchase

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:

Cloth bags
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.

Bread bags
Special bread bags made from fabric are perfect for shopping at the bakery.

Produce bags
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.

Tupperware
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.

Coffee caddies
Tea and coffee caddies made from metal or porcelain are also practical for loose food.

Glass bottles
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
Bags, large backpacks or shopping trolleys make it easier to transport your shopping.