Image credit: Samuel Zeller
Although Switzerland is the fifth waste producer (the USA are 6th) in the developed world with 2.61kg per capita per day, it seems like many recycling and waste reduction solutions are widely available in the country.
I've lived in Geneva for more than 10 years before moving to the the States and now have the priviledge to spend a month there every year for work.
Its first bulk shop opened about a year after I launched my blog so I've been lucky enough to be able to follow the city's growing zero waste community with great interest and witness the apparition of more eco shops and green initiatives during each one of my visits.
I've seen the city change quite a bit in the past couple years, especially on the sustainability front. This year, I've been happy to notice that my 2 "usual" shops, the very popular "Coop" and "Migros" started expanding their own dried goods in bulk selection and to discover a whole new list of vegan-friendly restaurants.
In this Zero Waste Guide to Geneva, you'll find a variety of bulk stores, vegan restaurants, organic beauty salons, biodynamic wine bars, second-hand shops and so much more.
I hope you'll find it useful. Don't hesitate to send me your comments and questions or to share more suggestions in the comments.
Click on the top left icon on the map to show the various categories or open it in full screen.
Geneva is a very walkable city, especially in the summer. But if you're not a fan of walking or lack the time to do so, you have 2 options:
Public transportation, aka TPG - If you fly to Geneva, you'll find a ticket machine by the luggage pick-up belts. It prints FREE 80 minute public transportation tickets. That's a great way to get to the city center by bus or by train for free! For the rest of your stay, you can either get your tickets through the TPG app, buy a prepaid card at the train station's TPG shop or just do it the old way and buy tickets at the bus stop machines. The TPG tickets allow you to travel by train (from the airport to the train station), by bus, by tramway and even by boat (the cute little yellow and red ones).
Bike - You can rent a bike at Genève roule, right behind the train station. I think they also give you a map to figure out the prettiest and safest routes.
- There are recycling bins all over town, at the airport, at the train station and many other hubs. If you're looking into recyling more specific items like glass, PET, batteries, textiles, paper, aluminium and tin, compost, look at this Ecopoints map.
Tap water is drinkable in Geneva, including the water from the water fountains (unless posted otherwise).
85% of people in the city drink tap water. It's up to 1000 times more eco-friendly to drink it, it's 100 to 500 times less expensive than bottled water (or actually free if you get it at public water fountains or you hotel), 90% of it comes from the lake and 10% comes from phreatic zones. So don't forget to bring your own bottle.
Geneva has got a buoyant creative community which I've been lucky to be a part of for many happy years.
Boîte d'échange entre voisins - Neighbors put in their local « Neighbourhood Exchange Box » items they no longer need so someone who might need them can take them. I actually highly recommend you watch the TEDx conference by the brain behind this project, Dan Acher. It's so heartwarming!
Ge-Repare.ch - A directory of all the places where you can repair your stuff instead of having to just throw it away!
Element21 - Tips and projects to make the city more sustainable, from banning plastic bags to saving water at home.
Keep in use - A platform where you can publish an ad to give things you no longer have a need for.
Ecoccinelles - Family focused DIY to protect kids from harmful susbtances (in the air, in cosmetics, in food).
popnfix - It's the equivalent of Taskrabbit. You can hire a handyperson, sell, give or rent items you no longer need.
pumpipumpe - On this website, you can order stickers and stick them onto your mailbox in order to show your neighbours which things they can borrow from you (sewing machine, tools, cooking utensils, camping gear).
Green mop - This sustainability-focused platform publishes recipes, teaches classes, gives talks and even has an online shop.
DIY Geneva - DIY Geneva is a great online and in person resource for people who want to make their own cleaners, decorate their homes or repairing their own bike.
Esprit Nutri - Raw cooking, natural cleaning products & cosmetics and zero waste workshops.
Formule Nature - Make your own cosmetics.
Bees4you - Adopt a beehive.
Semaine du développement durable (March) - Workshops, conferences, documentary screenings about sustainability organized by the students of the University of Geneva.
Alternatiba Léman (September).
Zero Waste Community
Rogue Gone Vogue - I was very lucky to meet Josephine and Alexis of Rogue Gone Vogue through Florine, a fellow EWC member who happened to be in Geneva while I was there too!
Zéro Déchet Genève - A Facebook group for local zero waste tips.
Image credit: MAMCO
Know What's Up
Image credit: Birdie
No straw please
Pas de paille s'il vous plaît
Could you put it in my bag/cup?
Pourriez-vous le mettre dans mon sac/ma tasse?
I've brought my own bag.
J'ai mon propre sac.
No receipt please.
Pas de ticket s'il vous plaît.
Image credit: Samuel Zeller
Do you live in Geneva? Are you planning a trip to Switzerland this year?
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Feel free to send me your questions and comments, or to tell me about an awesome spot I've missed!
Also, who else gains 3 pounds whenever they travel to Europe (#chocolate #croissants #chocolatecroissants) ?