Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Repair: A guide to sustainable living in Munich
May • 6th, 2020
by the Expat in the City Team
7 ways to live more sustainably conscious
Sustainable living is defined as the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Sometimes that can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing your attitude and how you do things to start becoming part of a ‘better world’
We think what keeps you from living a more sustainable lifestyle is usually not the lack of will, but that you don’t even know where to start - so here’s 7 quite simple ways to get you going :)
What doesn't sound particularly imaginative, but it's really the easiest thing to do and, above all, effective: drink tab water! One of the many advantages when you live in Munich is its drinking water, which comes directly from the springs of the surrounding mountains.
Most importantly, avoid plastic bottles by all means and get yourself your own nice drinking bottle to bring to work or on the go to refill. If you prefer sparkling water and glass bottles at home, order them from one of Munich’s many local ‘Getränkemärkte’ and they will deliver it directly to your home.
2) FOOD & COFFEE
Throw less food away! In Germany, almost one third of all food is simply thrown into the trash - when there are really many ways to save food from the bin. In this context, the Munich startup 'Etepetete' is a great choice. They deliver boxes full of fruits and vegetables that do not meet the norm and therefore don’t go into "normal" trade and would be thrown away.
Buy local! Either in Munich local grocery stores, Biomärkte or at one of the many buzzing farmer’s markets. Make sure to buy local ingredients, organically grown vegetables and organic meat and always bring bags and mason jars to pack everything. To avoid packaging completely, the package free supermarket ‘OHNE’ in Munich Schwabing and East is the place to go!
Use reusable cups! 320,000 disposable cups for coffee-to-go are used in Germany every hour. So make sure to bring reusable bottles and cups to your favourite coffee shops. If you forget yours, most cafes in Munich offer RECUPs - reusable coffee-to-go cups that avoid disposable waste and conserve resources; or even better, just drink it there :)
Buy secondhand! Here’s a choice of our favourite second hand shops in Munich: Be Gipsy in Maxvorstadt, Alexas Rockabilly-Paradise, Miramu Vintage & Secondhand in Giesing, and for fans of luxury labels Macy in Haidhausen. Also, Kreiderkreisel is a great app to sell and find second hand pieces all over Germany.
Buy fair and ethical fashion! Glady, the cliché that ecologically valuable fashion only works in the form of scratchy potato sacks is losing more and more of its foundation. Munich is home to many cool and chic ethical fashion brands - here’s our favourites: Auryn, A Kind Of Guise, iki M., and Dear Goods.
Read our article on how to support local stores in Munich for more ethical fashion stores we love!
Now that it’s almost summer, you won’t need a car to explore the city. Take public transport, borrow a bike or best, especially during summer (and Corona) - just walk!
Munich is often referred to being more a village than a big city, which you will confirm when you find out that you can really go anywhere by bike. If you don’t have a bike yourself, you won’t be without wheels for long. MVG bikes, Donkey Republic or Swapfiets offer long and short-term bike rentals at very reasonable prices. If you still want to go a little faster, Emmy electric scooter sharing is a great choice, while Clever Shuttle is also a very reasonable alternative to taxis or Ubers, since you share them with other people.
Changing your energy provider is a simple way to reduce your ecological footstep and take a small step towards sustainability. You will find a lot of different providers in Munich for green electricity and green gas, like Polarstern, Greenpeace Energy and also Stadtwerke München.
Separate your waste correctly! Since every country and even every state in Germany has a different waste system, it can be a bit complicated to keep up. AWM Munich provides all the information you need on waste disposal and separation in English. For a quick overview, check out their explanation sheet which explains all Do’s and Don’t’s very easily.
7) REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, REPAIR
Reuse: One of the easiest ways to slow down your consumptions is by not slowing it down at all - and just buy your clothes, furniture or basically everything else used. Shop online on Ebay, Shpock, Kleiderkreisel, or even the Facebook market place, without having a guilty conscience ;)
Reduce: Buy less! Especially during Quarantine we tend to get bored and order stuff online we don’t really need - but if you think about it, when it comes to the yearly clear-out, we throw away so much stuff we don’t really need and wonder why we even bought it in the first place. So if you buy new always think twice, chose quantity over quality and make sure you really love the pieces and will wear them for a long time.
Recycle and Repair: Repair is better than throwing away! We all know the feeling when something breaks and you get the urgent need to go on Amazon and replace it immediately. But living more sustainably comes with a bit of patience. So next time your toaster, mixer or bicycle breaks consider getting help in one of Munich’s so-called ‘repair cafés’, where volunteers are at your side with advice and action. Here you will find an overview of Repair Café organizers in and around Munich.
It is the greatest mistake to do nothing because you think you can only do ‘little’!
Check out our new Facebook Group LOHAS in the City, where we will be sharing information, inspiration, tips and tricks in English about ways in Munich to support yourself, Munich and the planet and become a little healthier and greener every day!