How you can shop unpacked (even without an unpacked shop)
There are them in big cities, a lot to read about them and everyone is enthusiastic: unpacked shops. But unfortunately such shops are not yet very abundant and so not everyone is lucky enough to have one in their home town. The good news is that it is possible to shop plastic-free (or plastic-reduced) even without an unpackaged shop. You might ask yourself how this is possible, since the noodle bags string together over a length of half a metre; but with a little finesse you can avoid a lot of packaging waste.
Most of the time you have your regular shop. But you could find out which shop offers which things plastic-free and vary your shopping accordingly. That doesn't mean you have to work through a list of shops in one go; you might pass an organic food store on your way home from work where you can take salad or other vegetables and fruit unpacked. There are often pasta packs in the assortment that are wrapped in paper (but you can also get paper pasta from a manufacturer at dm). So two points are already done from the regular shopping list. If you take some more vegetables with you and precook them (the weekend is great for that), you don't need to buy ready-made meals or tins. Frozen fruit and vegetables, which are offered in cartons by many manufacturers, are ideal for storage. Pickled ingredients in jars are another alternative to tins. Mushrooms, peas and co. are often found in jars. You may be surprised to read that glass is actually not much more environmentally friendly than aluminium or plastic and wastes almost as many resources in production and recycling. Glass, however, has a much more environmentally friendly character because you can continue to use it yourself (e.g. as a storage container). When it comes to drinks, you can switch to bottles or drink tap water. Juice connoisseurs who buy bottles have a little more to carry than with PET carriers, but they also have a small training effect.
Go to the market more often
You can find them almost everywhere - probably also in your area. Here you can find fresh bread from the stall as well as sausage and cheese. Because the sausage and cheese counter is one of those things: The discount chains don't have them and then it's not everybody's cup of tea and suddenly you show up in front of the salesmen with a box - which is fine. Because everyone makes his contribution according to his possibilities. But if there is a fresh produce counter and you feel like it, you could ask in advance whether bringing your own box would be a possibility for your next purchase. Or you could postpone the purchase of the cold cuts until the day of the weekly market.
Some things that are neither available unpacked nor in jars could simply be done by yourself. For example, vegetable milk, such as cashew, almond or oat milk, you can easily make it yourself or bake a loaf of bread every now and then - and maybe even make a small event out of it: Just invite a few friends and swing the dough-scrapers together. By the way, this way the electricity is used much more optimally; if you bake three or four breads next to each other, it is much more ecological than if everyone starts the oven for one bread.
Mahlzeit to go
Nothing new, but always practical: If you take your food from home with you when you travel, you don't need to buy anything. This not only saves waste, but also money and the convenience products can safely be left in the refrigerator. As convenient as fruit in a cup or ready-to-serve salad is: They are packaged and are occasionally accompanied by disposable cutlery. It's much nicer to allow yourself the big picture, which is not only healthier, but also tastes better.
Setting a statement
Forced to buy a lot of packaging with the food is annoying! Make a statement and leave the packaging in the shop (so of course don't just throw it into the aisle). The packaging regulations say that shops have to take back the outer packaging; that's why there are garbage bins with separators at the exit, where you can get rid of the outer carton of pizza or toothpaste, for example. OK, maybe that's a bit cheating - but as I said, it's a statement and you have less rubbish at home.
Consciously decide against packaging
The fact is: Shopping completely free of packaging is not possible in the classic supermarket. But how about avoiding multiple packaging, according to the principle: "One package must be enough"? That's a good idea for sweets, because they are often packaged in portions - and in their entirety. A bag of biscuits or a bar of chocolate produces less waste.
Most of these suggestions require some preparation, but they have great advantages: Maybe a nice small talk in the organic food store or at the market and in the end the good feeling of having to throw away less when unpacking. And if you do need plastic-coated products, food sharing could be an interesting option for you. Apps such as "Too good, to go" show which shops or restaurants support food sharing.
If luck is hugging you and it's your first time to browse in an unpacked shop, it's a good tip not to get too excited about it. Assessing, filling and weighing is just another concept that may require a little adjustment. Take a casual approach and take a few small things like nuts, coffee, a bar of soap or something similar first.
And wherever you can get plastic-free care products, you know 😉