After 7 years of living in London I made the move back to my home country – Germany. My job brought me back. In my role, as a Sales Manager at Bag Maverick – a company that specialises in bespoke bags, I help our customers to choose the right eco-friendly bag. With my role being connected to protecting the environment, it has never been this exciting for me. It brings everything together, my purpose and my work.
After an exciting 7 years in London I felt slightly foreign in my mother land and found a few things slightly annoying and some quite pleasant. For one I had to get used to the fact that not many shops, restaurants, cafés and bars accept card payments. Where as in London payment for your tube and bus rides are made with your contactless card. However the waste separation in Germany is more efficient then it is in the United Kingdom. Yes! We Germans are well known for our efficiency.
What excites me most is the deposit scheme for bottles. You heard that right! A deposit scheme for plastic and glass bottles and even metal cans. When you buy your drinks at a supermarket you pay a deposit. After you have enjoyed your drinks you bring your empty bottles back to the supermarket and get your deposit back. It’s approximately 0.25 EUR / bottle or can. Returning your bottles or cans does not need to be at the same supermarket. You can take the bottles back to any stores that sell drinks. Even the vending machines are filled with drinks in bottles that can be returned. Money motivates people and you hardly see bottles on the streets. How awesome is that?
Unfortunately, you still find plastic bags on streets and in rubbish bins. Even with a plastic bag ban, which requires you to pay for plastic bags you take from the shops, you will see plastic bags everywhere. Seeing plastic rubbish makes me really sad and makes me realise that we need more education on how plastic is bad for our environment and our own health. Maybe Germany should start with a deposit scheme for plastic bags too. I am sure with this scheme you will never find plastic bags on the streets.
Long before the plastic bag ban, wonderful Elita Wiegand started the initiative “Düsseldorf ist zu schön für Plastik!“ The direct translation would be Dusseldorf is too pretty for plastic. And yes Dusseldorf is too pretty for plastic. But I think every city I have lived in, including Frankfurt, London and now Dusseldorf is too pretty for plastic. Elita encourages every shop to use eco-friendly bags and to set plastic bags aside. The canvas bags, beach bags, duffel bags, messenger bags & laptop bags that my company produces/designs could replace the use of plastic bags in Germany.
Elita also encourages all inhabitants of Dusseldorf to avoid plastic bags. Düsseldorf ist zu schön für Plastik runs some craft events that bring people together. I attended one such event last week. A mode designer showed us how to design and sew a bag of old clothes. I had so much fun geting my hands on the sewing machine and am really proud of my cosmetic pouch made of an old shirt. I met so many encouraging and creative people and look really forward to attending further events!