by Dorinda Phillips from Zero Waste Switzerland


How often do you take your rubbish out at home? Once a day, once a week or once every 6 months?

Yes, you read that correctly. Six months! I remember my reaction when I first heard someone say “I empty my bin every 6 months!”. What?! How on earth do you do that? And how big is your bin?

That was about 18 months ago now. Since then I’ve reduced my own waste by 90%, now empty my bin even less than every 6 months and regularly give Zero Waste workshops to show others how to do it.






For anyone who wants to reduce their ecological footprint, improve their health and save money while doing it, the workshops by Zero Waste Switzerland are a great way to get started – more details are below. Lots of people have discovered how to buy without packaging, buy more locally and organically, as well as get things repaired, rent/share/exchange things, buy second hand and generally buy less overall.

And it’s a LOT easier than you think. So here are a few simple tips:




Buy all your fruit and vegetables in reusable cloth bags – no need for plastic or paper bags ever again!  The first step is to get some reusable cloth bags, put them in your handbag or car boot and use them at the supermarket, the market or a local grocers to put your fruit and veggies in! You can buy the bags at Migros, Coop, Nature en Vrac, Bio Saturiz etc or even make them yourself!







Visit local bulk stores and buy dry foods such as pasta, rice, cereals, nuts and beans in reusable cloth bags – just tip the food into glass jars at home. You can buy virtually any product today without plastic packaging and there’s a great selection of bulk stores in Geneva and neighboring France – for a full list see the Map on the website Zero Waste Switzerland.







Buy your cheese, fish, meat, bakery goods in Tupperware containers – the shopkeepers are incredibly happy these days if you bring your own containers. I just say something like “Would you be able to put it directly in here please, as I’m trying to reduce waste.”.

All the big supermarkets accept them and small shop owners are delighted! I regularly hear the response “Oh how wonderful, if everyone would do that, what a difference that would make!”.


Take your own water bottle or thermos flask or cup with you to work – that way you can avoid all plastic bottles, plastic cups or plastic packaging in general. Your Tupperware comes in pretty handy here as well – at take-aways if you’re eating lunch out or work canteens if you’re taking your lunch back to your desk. And these days you can even get collapsible Tupperware that goes flat when not in use.


Attend a Zero Waste Workshop – and learn lots more practical new habits to reduce waste and where to find the shops, markets, on-line sites in and around Geneva to help you do it. People love the practical tips and the new information and constantly tell us how inspiring it is to meet others like themselves who are motivated to create a more sustainable world.




Zero Waste Switzerland is a non-profit association that was started in Geneva/Vaud in 2015 to help individuals, organisations and municipalities reduce waste in Switzerland. It offers a range of programs and events to show people how to easily reduce waste by modifying their everyday buying and consumption habits – in order to preserve natural resources, help prevent climate change and contribute to a more sustainable future for their children.


In Geneva there are 2 workshops a month, one in French, one in English. Each one has a different topic – either: 1) Food and Drink; 2) Beauty, Hygiene, Cleaning, Clothes and 3) Work, Home, Holidays/Presents. For more information and to sign up for next dates click the links below:


– Beauty, Hygiene, Cleaning, Clothes – In French – Tuesday 13th February 2018. Click here for information.


– Beauty, Hygiene, Cleaning, Clothes – In English – Tuesday 20th February 2018. Click here for information.


Further workshops include:


– Work, Home, Holidays/Celebrations – In English – Thursday 15th March 2018.

– Work, Home, Holidays/Celebrations – In French – Tuesday 20th March 2018.



For more details on the Association and more tips on reducing waste, click here.


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