Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Enjoy Christmas Markets Zero Waste

Christmas markets hit every major city in Europe at the end of November. Some are authentic and some are not so much, depending which country you live in. We have been lucky this year to briefly visit the Christmas markets in Budapest. I am not interested in any other stalls apart from the food stalls as it is a good opportunity to sample some local produce. Think roast duck with red cabbage, potatoes with roast pork through it, smoked salmon and some mulled wine to wash it all down with. You really can’t go wrong there!

As with a lot of things to do with Christmas, the markets can be really wasteful as most of the food and drinks are served in disposables. I brought my trusty Zero Waste tools with me to see if it is possible to enjoy the local food, all whilst not producing any rubbish. 

My essentials contained a stainless steel insulated mug, stainless steel tiffin (seen about a thousand times on my blog already), knife and fork (and a spork), napkin, a few produce bags and a cotton tote. I also planned to take a stainless steel plate which I usually use for camping but forgot to put it in my bag. It would have been really useful! 

When I queued up for the food, I just smiled at the person who was serving my food, asked for no plastic and handed my tiffin over. I got a little bit of a surprised look but then thumbs up and my containers were filled with some delicious roast duck with potatoes and cabbage. I refused the plastic pack which contained single use cutlery and instead used real knife and fork. 

 My mulled wine went straight into my insulated drinks flask. Keeping your drink in a flask means that it stays warm for much longer. That is, if you can resist and drink it slowly! 

Desert was chocolate and marzipan balls which went straight into my cotton bag. The result was that my visit to the Christmas market was completely Zero Waste! 

When you are queuing in a busy market with hundreds of people everywhere, it is quite a stressful experience. The people working on the stalls usually have a bit of a flow going on in order to serve the most amount of people in the shortest time possible. Because you are asking for something different, you will disrupt this routine and it is easy to get a little bit flustered. The best thing to do is to just be aware that this will happen, be polite but firm about using your containers and remember that shopping is voting. If more people bring their own containers, it will become normal and Christmas markets will not have to be associated with massive amounts of plastic waste. In some places, you can pay a small deposit for a reusable Christmas mug for mulled wine which is a really good idea. This could be replicated with all other items like plates and cutlery. Whilst ever that is not available, bringing your own means that you can you can enjoy best of Christmas markets completely Zero Waste. My experience happened to be in Budapest but with the Zero Waste movement becoming more and more mainstream, I am confident that you will be able to replicate this in other countries. Have you gone to your local Christmas markets with your own containers? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below ;) 

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