Tips for making your German home more green

Tips for making your German home more green

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

Amidst the chaos of PCSing, it can be difficult to prioritize “green” habits in the home. For a couple weeks or months, many of us are simply trying to get settled and get through each day. It can be particularly difficult to implement new habits when PCSing puts you in a brand-new place, like Germany, where you may no longer have access to the products, companies or conveniences you’ve grown accustomed to and relied on in the States.

Once the furniture is rebuilt and cardboard boxes are gone, it is easier to refocus on ways to make the home greener and more sustainable.

Personally, I want to reduce our single-use plastic, use what I have before buying new things and focus on ways to reduce the waste we are creating. Luckily, Germany has committed to sustainable practices and living here has not only forced me to learn about the country’s extensive recycling system, but it has made me want to expand my recycling and reusing habits.

Here are a few tips, products and subscription services I have discovered and implemented since moving to Germany:

Products

Reusable produce bags for grocery shopping — you’ll never need to wrestle with a plastic produce bag again!

Silicone lids — for large storage containers (great for baking!) or storing small foods

Beeswax food saver wraps

Reusable zipper bags — dishwasher and freezer safe

Reusable rags, like these washable sponge cloths

Reusable water bottles

Reusable straws — make sure to get the cleaning brush with it

Shops and subscriptions

Klaeny or Everdrop, plastic-free household cleaners — available for one-time purchase or in a subscription

Who Gives a Crap — recycled toilet paper and paper towels, plastic-free shipping

Greentastic — plastic-free shop for reusable products and supplies for the kitchen, bathroom and to-go

Tips

Make the products work for you. Many of us resist investing in reusable or greener options because we think they will be more work or expect they won’t do the job. So, look for products that are dishwasher and/or washing machine safe. It’s easy to resort to traditional paper towels and plastic straws when reusable ones demand more work to clean, but with the growth of the sustainable product industry, there are a lot more options out there for you to choose from.

Have a designated tote bag that lives in the car filled with your reusable produce bags and folded grocery totes. Make a habit of keeping it in the car so you are always prepared when you’re headed to the store.

Many of us go through glass jars of condiments, olives, pickles, jams etc. Reuse the glass jars for making salad dressings, storing pantry ingredients, indoor or outdoor tea light candle holders or storing odds and ends, like paper clips, rubber bands etc.

 

 

 

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