OUICYCLE – sustainable shopping in Geneva
by Chené Koscielny
If your new year’s resolutions include reducing your environmental footprint – we’ve discovered a brand new eco-concierge service called OuiCycle offering green solutions for your everyday needs. We LOVE them – this could be at least one resolution we have a chance of keeping!
BEING MORE ECO-RESPONSIBLE
We all know that we should buy products en vrac (not in plastic), from local merchants or even better, directly from the farmer. We should learn about local bio wines, rather than buy the bottle with the prettiest label. We should buy our cheese locally and bio from the community fromagerie. We should make jam and cookies from scratch. Of course, we should always take the recyclables to the recycle stations, but all of the above takes time – and that is the one thing that often trips us up when it comes to sticking to our green resolutions.
THE CONCEPT: WHAT IS OUICYCLE?
OuiCycle delivers hampers of local and organic products to your doorstep and what’s more they take your recyclables away and dispose of them for you at the same time!
They call themselves an “eco” concierge, focused on eco-responsible living and their aim is to provide services to help people live more sustainably.
“We don’t expect everyone to be like Greta Thunberg, but we all can make a small change to be more eco-responsible – together, it could make a big difference,” says Erika, co-founder of OuiCycle
WHO IS BEHIND OUICYCLE?
Culinary enthusiast and former chef, Erika was born and raised in the US by hippie parents: a Swedish father and American mother. From a young age, she was interested in eco-responsible projects and other struggles against consumerism and the production of waste. Before moving to Switzerland in 2018 to pursue a master’s degree, she worked for an American NGO, working directly with farmers and food banks, while advocating for programmes and policies to increase sustainable development, reducing hunger and food waste.
Yves was born and raised in Switzerland by parents who are also well versed in ecological and social issues. Passionate about outdoor sports, he traveled the world to pursue his passion, but discovered the negative impact development was having on ecosystems and societies. His work as a geography (and physical education) teacher in Geneva, led him to take an interest in sustainable development and enabled him to promote its values to his students.
He realised that, without being perfect, small changes to his routine could make a big difference. So, with the help of Erika, OuiCycle was created: helping their neighbours to live more eco-responsible lives.
As I’m always under time pressure, I need all the help I can get when it comes to shopping, cooking and proper recycling, so I happily agreed to test OuiCycle’s services just before Christmas 2019.
I was already impressed by the professional email telling me exactly when my delivery could be expected between 17h and 20h on a Thursday. The email also reminded me to prepare my recyclables for them to take away with them – (glass, PET, aluminum and returnables such as bags, jars and bottles. They will even sort it for you and if there is a deposit to refunded, will take it off your next order or refund you.
If you’re not there, you can leave the recyclables on your doorstep and provide instructions of where your food delivery should be left.
The products were delivered by Yves personally – in recyclable or reusable packaging, which you are charged for at CHF1 per bag and this could be refunded upon return or re-used for the next delivery.
We opted for a bio/local fruit and vegetable basket, along with a bio Vacherin panier.
PANIER VACHERIN MONT D’OR
The Vacherin basket includes a deliciously creamy and aromatic, soft round mound of seasonal bio Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOP cheese from Serge Andre at Romanels in Morges, accompanied by organic pickles, locally grown potatoes and garlic for seasoning.
The panier includes all you need to create a traditional Vacherin Mont d’Or au four dinner for two. I really appreciated the suggestions for preparing the cheese meal on the OuiCycle website:
Simply wrap aluminum foil around the wooden box, cut a few slits into the cheese and slide in the garlic cloves (feel free to add a splash of white wine, if you like) and place it into a 200C oven for about 25 min, until the cheese is fully melted to your desired consistency. Spoon over cooked potatoes and serve alongside cornichon. Delicious!
VEGETABLE AND FRUIT BASKET – CHF40
The vegetable and fruit basket includes in as much as possible local and bio fruit, including in my case red apples, pears, carrots, fresh peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onion, a variety of salad leaves and a celeriac – which I’ve never cooked before, so again I loved that there was a great personal suggestion from Erika about how to prepare this vegetable on their website:
“I have been treating it like a huge baked potato – scrubbing the skin and then popping it into the oven until I can easily stab into it with a knife. The skin is edible, so I slice it and serve it with a little salt, pepper and olive oil (or butter). It tastes like a chive-infused (or celery-infused…) baked potato.”
As a little bonus, as it was our first order and just before Christmas, Yves and Erika also gave us some homemade festive cookies – they tasted and looked great and were such a lovely touch.
OUR VERDICT: 5 STARS
This is an excellent idea delivered in a personable, professional way – I will definitely be using them in future to help me change habits that would otherwise be difficult to change with a busy lifestyle.