Organic products represent only 0,3% of the Polish food market, but specialists proudly underline the dynamism of the market with about 20% growth each year. The low environmental consciousness, and even more: the extra cost of organic products, are still the main barriers for large development. However Mr Kowalski is more and more interested in organic and local products. And in the vein of this environmentally friendly behavior goes the zero waste philosophy growing in Poland.
Today more than 800 specialised stores sell organic products, mostly grocery. The largest chain is the supermarket Organic Farma Zdrowia with about 40 stores in the country whereas organic products are getting more and more popular on supermarket and hypermarket shelves. Whether organically grown products packaged in a plastic box coming from accross the ocean are truly environmental friendly – compared to locally grown vegetable you carry home without packaging in your reusable bag – is still debateable for me…
First bulk store in Warsaw
The zero waste philosophy is spreading in Europe with bulk stores here and there accross Europe with chains such as the US Whole Foods Markets in UK or the fast growing French franchise Day by Day as well as lots of independant stores meticulously listed on the website BePakt.com. Bea Johnson’s zero waste home revolution is being more and more known boosted by local initiatives (book and blog: http://www.zerowastehome.com). Nothing surprising then that Poland took a further step in the environmental consciousness last year. Nagie z natury (transl. Nude from Nature), the first bulk store in Poland, started to welcome customers in the Warsaw area of Muranow. This initiative from a Spanish couple is quite avantgarde in a country where plastic bags have a long a tradition. This small store proposes only food products, mostly dry (nuts, cereals, grains, seeds, flours,…) and a little shelf of fresh fruits, vegetable and eggs. For unexpected shopping, customers can use the paper bags. Whereas if you bring you’re own containers and sachets, you get a 2% discount. You can also bring back the egg boxes to donate them for reuse.
Obviously this little store in a residential district of Warsaw is not for everybody. Going accross the city to buy a few products on your shopping list at a more expensive rate is only for the happy few. But the great advantage of this initiative is to make us think about bulk. And when full of good intentions to implement a zero waste home, we realize it’s quite easy to do zero waste shopping. And most likely you can do it in the stores around your home.
In our zero waste journey, our first ennemy is plastic
So here I share with you my 4 major steps to a zero waste home in Poland:
1/ Bye bye plastic bags!
Say absolutely no to plastic bags. Use and reuse a material bag for your shopping. Buy your fruits and vegetable in bulk – even at the supermarket by not using the plastic bags proposed in the stores. For nuts and dried fruits in bulk, I bring my own paper sachets.
2/ Drink tap water!
Poles don’t trust tap water very much – to say the least! –, althought they gave it the cute nickname of Kranówka (from the Polish word for tap: kran). They prefer to buy mineral water in plastic bottles rather than filter tap water. I’ve lived almost 15 years in Warsaw and all that time, I’ve drunk filtered tap water. It’s just so cheap, perfectly good and healthy.
A social campaign under the name „Piję wodę z kranu” (I drink water of the tap) aims at convincing Mr Kowalski about all the good aspects of drinking tap water: http://pijewodezkranu.org.
It feels so good to not throw all this plastic in the trash! If you enjoy sparkling water, no problem: purchase a sparkling water maker!
3/ Yes we can!
More recently I decided to not drink sodas from plastic bottles anymore. I try to not drink any at all, but when I really want some, I buy a can – more recyclable than a plastic bottle.
4/ Make your own yogurts
It is healthy, cheaper and so much more environmental friendly. My family eats a lot of yogurt. I was getting sick of putting all these plastic containers in the garbage every week. One day, as I was reading an advertisment for a yogurt maker, I realised I could make my own yogurts. Here I am: I didn’t buy the yogurt maker as we do not need it to make homemade yogurt. My kids love it, and we do too. We buy the bacteria (9 PLN) in an organic store. It takes 15 minutes to make 2 liters of yogurts and costs half as much as industrial plain yogurt.
Polish cities are still at the beginning of an environmentally friendly consciousness. Fortunately Poles don’t wait for the authorities to show them the way and have started to be active and even activists here and there. Tons of blogs such as Przystanek Eko, Badz Eko or Ekologika , portals such as Ulica Ekologiczna or Teraz Srodowisko and Facebook groups already exist https://www.facebook.com/groups/zerowastepolska/. Warsaw, Słupsk and Poznań go for it too. Sustainable cities and zero waste home are the next big thing for our planet and Poles are not used to just watch the world change.[divider line_type=”Full Width Line” custom_height=”’]