Scoping out the Plastic-Free (Shopping) Sites: Ups and Downs!


Over the past weeks one of my ongoing no-plastic efforts has been to try to expand my shopping options beyond the market place a bit, i.e. for off-market days and for stuff you can’t get at a market (see post here for my earlier successful market-explorations!). Before Plastic-Free Tuesdays I tended to get all my shopping from the supermarket in one go, but I have found that the no-plastic options there are rather limited (although I have managed to find out a number of nice plastic-free options there as well over the past months – perhaps a special post on that later!) However, while finding new shopping sites is actually a lot of fun (beware of jealousy inducing pictures below :-), it’s not easy either.. Below a some ups and downs encountered!

Hey, after all, it’s Holland, let’s shop at a mill..! 🙂
One of the most fun and exciting things in the Plastic-Free category I actually did over the past weeks is to discover and pay a visit my very own local miller! My city, Groningen, is not so large (though it’s not small either, by Dutch standards), but even I was surprised to learn through a friend that there is an actual working flour mill about 10 minutes by bike from my place at the edge of Groningen! Despite what the non-Dutch might think, our country is not actually littered with mills, and certainly not working mills, so it really was a good surprise! Also, my friend was super enthusiastic about it because it does not only sell very nice flours, they also come wrapped in fully paper bags, which of course, from a no-plastic perspective counts as a double win. So, on the first sunny Saturday my boyfriend and I set off to find the mill, and found this gorgeous and cute little mill, with an even cuter shop inside. Blinded by the various flours and cake mixes on sale I got about 5 different ones and set homewards again, though of course not before snapping a few pictures for you to enjoy as well!

Molen   Molen buiten Molen buiten 2

Pretty excited about the trip, I started baking bread for plastic-free Sunday/Monday/Tuesdays right away, yet…. of course, nothing is ever what it seems, and in going no-plastic it always, always serves to double-check (so I’ve learned the hard way by now :-))… turns out that in at least 3 of the 5 lovely flours there was an extra plastic bag.. boehoe., though the trip itself was of course still very nice. I think next time I only need to get plain flours, no ready-made bread mixes. Yeps.. learning as we go… But looks lovely no?

Meel van de molen

Molen 2

In the city centre: Exploring local specialized shops
Another effort the past weeks has been to find and shop more at local specialized shops, such as those selling only nuts, cheese, fish, candy, or coffee and tea. It seems that these shops tend have more plastic-free options, or at least have service which allows you to get something without using extra plastics . I have slowly started to have a look at these local places, and especially have begun to explore the street where I work, which I find has a great nut bar for example. (really, it’s quite amazing, the lovely things you find by opening your eyes to a new routine and new food/product options, for me that’s really one of the most enjoyable side-effects of Plastic-Free Tuesdays!) So, I particularly like the nut-bar, where I just take my big glass jar and have it filled up. All the salespeople at the counter like the idea as well, although they are also still a bit sceptic about why I don’t take their paper bag.. Which is fair enough I guess, but the paper bag will also become waste very quickly, so I prefer to just make the small effort of bringing a glass jar. Finally another recent effort is to get coffee etc. on-the- go without plastics as much as possible, meaning choosing the (few, if at all) food options without plastic, or to ask to get your coffee without adding the plastic lid on top (most of the time I don’t really need this anyways..). I realize that the cup is still plasticized by the way, and I am interested to find a nice/good durable coffee-cup-to-go, e.g. made from bamboo, or so? If anyone has any tips and experiences, let me know.. I am wondering how it really works as well, i.e. what about the cleaning part before reusing?

Alright, a shorter one this time. Hope you enjoyed the pretty pictures, and looking forward to hear from you!

Wish you a happy Plastic-Free Tuesday!


About Author


Always interested in pursuing a more responsible and sustainable life-style, Marlies immediately got on board with the Plastic-Free Tuesday Project as a regular blogger. Marlies' special mission is to stop the use of any single-use or disposable plastics in her daily life, aiming to help the planet a little by being a responsible consumer. Follow Marlies as she explores her city, Groningen, in the Netherlands, from a different, plastic-free perspective, or as she travels around for work and weddings. Marlies is in charge of our activities on Instagram and Pinterest.


  1. You have a local flour mill??? I am so jealous! We don’t have that in the US, so I will just have to content myself with the bulk and paper wrapped fours at Whole Foods. 🙂

    • Marlies

      Hi Elizabeth! I already warned about jealousy-inducing pictures at the start of that post :-). As said, even for the Netherlands this is quite rare, so I feel very happy about it indeed! However, bulk bins are still a great way to get your flours in bulk. Great that you’re cutting down on (plastic) waste too!

  2. That looks like an amazing place.

    I find one of the most fun things about going plastic-free is exploring where you live. There are so many places that are just tucked away a little. It’s such an adventure.

    • Marlies

      Thanks Sam!
      And yes, one of the good side effects of trying to look at your shopping habits and surroundings differently. Still finding some new gems now and then! It’s also a good thing that more and more plastic conscious shops are still opening. 🙂


Leave A Reply