Munich: Zero Waste
Organic groceries, supermarket and market boothes offer a large selection of non-prepackaged fruit and veges to take away in your own basket or bag, and as long as you hand your bag over the counter, making it verbally clear that you do not need a paper bag, you can avoid paper waste when buying bread and rolls.
In autumn 2016 the local Vollcorner supermarkets received an official permit by the Munich Department of Public Order (Kreisverwaltungsreferat) to fill their customers' jars and boxes with cheese, antipasti, meat products or cake. Since the Basic supermarket chain followed in summer 2017 and independent convenience stores often have done so anyway equip yourself with appropriate containers when you go out to shop for food.
To avoid misunderstandings it is advisable to clearly point to your box before placing your order at the sales counter and tell the staff to tape the receipt to it. Otherwise you may end up not sparing any waste: In the beginning the staff at the Basic butcher's disk would use the sheet of plastic-covered paper they'd usually wrap the purchase with to hand it over to you, along with the receipt taped onto the paper bag they otherwise would have used as outer packaging. In the mean time they got used to the procedure but were ordered to not allow you to buy unprocessed meat this way. At the Basic self-service cafes you may lend a Recup coffee cup for a deposit which you can return at any other shop participating in the retour scheme. Recently the supermarket chain also introduced dispensers offering pasta, nuts, dried fruit and grains and more to fill into a returnable glass container or reusable cotton bag bought on the spot. If you bring your own jars fill your purchases into the measuring jugs provided, take them to the till, pay and fill them into your containers at the end. Unfortunately you may not use these jugs for loose-weight dried fruit from the cardbox displays in the green-grocery section. Recycle small plastic or paper bags to buy these or bring small, light-weight cotton-bags as they will not detract the tax weight at the cash desk.
In Haidhausen the Lebascha neighbourhood grocery offers returnable jars and glass boxes for a deposit of 1 and 3 EUR respectively in case you forgot to bring your own. Make sure to return them thoroughly cleaned.
Most cafes serving organic coffee are sufficiently aware of the coffee beaker waste issue that they will fill your own cup without hesitation. Some like Die Kaffee-Küche and the Basic self-service lunch bars will even give you a discount for sparing the environment.
As long as you restrict your shopping of dairy products, juices and soft drinks to returnable glass bottles you're safe. Some organic shops (such as Vollcorner) offer a small selection of wine in deposit bottles. But what about sweets, baking ingedients or detergents? Until a couple of years ago Mutter Erde in Maxvorstadt had been offering refill for cleansing agents and washing liquids, but no longer. For these products you have to find your way to a decidedly zero-waste shop which unsurprisingly gives you a vacation from logos and trademarks, too.
Farewell to plastics
The zero-waste pioneer in town is Naturlieferant, usually referred to as Plastikfreie Zone, a pleasant intimate shop in Haidhausen near Max-Weber-Platz where you won't find any plastic item but a lot of sustainable alternatives. Don't forget to bring your own bags, glasses and boxes for potatoes, pulses, nuts, flour, jelly-gums or the best Indian pepper in town. If you forget them your purchase will be packed in paper bags, or you can choose from reused glass containers for free. The main focus of the shop, however, is not food but an ever increasing range of sustainable household items, ranging from tooth brushes and toilet paper to glasses, lunch boxes and jute strings. You may also refill washing-up liquid, shampoo and liquid laundry detergent.
February 20th, 2016 the city's first and only zero-waste supermarket Ohne ("without") opened its doors in the neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt. Pleasantly furnished with wooden benches and self-made dispensers this modern version of a generously spaced mom-and-pop store is offering bread, rolls and cakes from local Neulinger bakery, dairy products in returnable bottles, a small selection of fresh fruit and greens, a few spices, a huge selection of pasta, legumes, flour and cereals, but also baking powder, locally distilled gin and bitter, oil, and solid shampoo. There are also refill stations for washing liquids and cleansers, and you can shop from a small range of household and bodycare products (including environment-friendly condoms which are the only items in shop which are prepackaged in non-reusable wrapping). Preserves (like mustard, pestos and pickles) are sold prepackaged in reusable glass containers.
From the dispensers you fill your own glasses, boxes and bags and pay by weight. If you forget to bring your own packaging you can buy reusable glasses and organic cotton bags on the spot. This crowd-funded supermarket is strictly organic and vegetarian. When the shop is crowded waiting time at the till is a little longer than you might expect, but take your time and have a coffee and roll in the small cafe corner. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 am.
- Plastikfreie Zone, Schlossstr. 7 Mon-Wed(Thu-Fri) 14(11)-19, Sat 11-18
- Ohne, Schellingstr. 42 Mon-Fri(Sat) 9-19(17)
2017-12-15 17:00:00 [Munich, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, organic, vegetarian, zero_waste, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, lunch] link
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.