Zero waste food shopping
Fruits and vegetables
Buying non packaged fruits and vegetables is fairly easy in France as, even in supermarkets, most produces are selected and weighted by consumers. Organic products are also fairly common these days and can even be found in supermarkets, although we recommend you to buy from cooperatives, local farmers and AMAPs (farmers associations that are working on a subscription model for you to get a box of fresh products on a regular basis), this interactive map shows you where to find these. You can also check if any markets are happening in your area.
To lower your impact on the environment, we recommend you do go for local and seasonal fruits and veggies and to avoid as much as possible imported products.
French bakery don’t usually wrap or cut bread in advance or pack pastries so you can bring your own containers and explain to them you wish to use your bags instead of the regular packaging.
Meat and dairy
In order to reduce your impact on the environment, it is better to avoid meat or dairy as well as fish or at least cut down your consumption.
Buying less but better quality meat or fish can do its part so do look for local butchers, fishmongers and cheesemongers and ask them about the origin of the products you are buying. It is also easier in these instances to bring your own containers and avoid pre-cut and packaged food.
Other food products
Bulk selling is getting more frequent and this map identifies bulk stores or stores that are allowing you to bring your own containers or offer reusable packaging.
Vegetarian or vegan restaurants
As you probable know, stopping to consume or reducing your consumption of animal based products especially red meat, is a good way to lessen your carbon footprint. The application Happycow, helps you to identify vegan or vegetarian restaurants in your area. There is also a good selection of vegan, vegetarian or organic restaurants on Voyag’ir website.
Tips for zero waste take-outs in France
When eating out, we recommend you to always carry with you your zero waste kit with your flask, a container, a bag, a straw and cutlery to avoid single use items as much as possible.
Make sure you explain to the person preparing your meal what you are trying to do and stay close when they prepare your meal or drink to intercept a straw or else being placed out of habits in your drink etc.
Some start-ups are looking at developing returnable packaging for take-out places in France. It is early days, but you can already check which places Reconcil (in Paris area for now) and En boîte le plat (in Toulouse area for now) have already partnered with.
Drinking zero waste
Tap water can be drunk in France unless specified otherwise, so you can easily refill your flask. You can check on this website the results of the water analysis in your area. You may still want to add a filter to improve further the quality of the water you are drinking depending on the area you stay in. There are different types of filters that will get rid of different contaminants such as activated charcoal filters.