We’ve been surprised by how we now live a much more green lifestyle since moving to Germany from the USA. In this post, we explain the simple changes we’ve made and how it’s easier to be more eco friendly here.
Living in Germany Has Changed Us in Many Ways
Moving to Germany has changed us more than we ever realized it could. From learning new life hacks, to new foods like Zwetschgenkuchen, to learning the very complicated German grammar, it has been a lot to process. A huge cultural change for us was Germany’s focus on being green and eco friendly. We tried our best to live a green lifestyle in the USA, but honestly, it was quite difficult. Here in Germany they make it much easier to live a responsible and sustainable lifestyle!
How we Live a More Green Lifestyle in Germany Compared to the USA
In Germany, being eco friendly is an integral part of daily life, with practices such as bringing your own bags to the supermarket, recycling bottles to reclaim deposits (Pfand), separating waste for recycling, air-drying clothes, using public transportation, and much more being second nature. Unlike in the USA, it is not a politicized issue, but rather a regular part of everyday living. Let me tell you how it has transformed our daily lifestyle.
1. We Focus More on Buying Second-Hand and Handmade
I try and buy things first on Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, and Ebay Kleinanziegen. We focusing more on small businesses from Germany first, then regionally around Germany. To decorate our house, I chose to buy most of our decorations from German artists on eBay. They’re so much more special instead of mass-produced generic cheap stuff made in China.
2. We Try to Buy Less Fast Fashion
We focus more on buying less from fast fashion by purchasing items from a local German shop where the clothes are more made in Europe. I really look at the company and see where the clothes are made, where the company is located. One example is the company, Jack-O, where the clothes are designed and made in Germany.
3. We Recycle Much More than We Ever Did in the USA
To see just how wild our recycling game is, check out this video on how and what we recycle in our Kreis (county). Germany takes recycling seriously!
4. We Use a Lot Less Plastic (but it’s still too much)
We are much more conscious of how much plastic we use, largely due to some YouTube comments we’ve gotten! LOL We have our own reusable produce bags, for example. I cringe whenever I’m at the store and the only option for produce is plastic. Though having it in cardboard can also be a bit of a pain – the produce falls out or gets squished more easily. So it takes more care and attention.
5. We Try to Purchase More “Local” Produce
At the supermarket, I try and buy fruits and veggies that come from this side of the world – Spain, Italy, Morocco. They have some that come from Peru and Mexico – I try and not buy those if I can, but it’s not always possible.
6. We Have a Battery Powered Lawn Mower and Edger
It’s a small change, but one that helps us to reduce some of our carbon footprint.
7. We Focus on Less is More and Higher Quality
In general, I focus more on higher quality items and less on quantity, especially after downsizing our stuff by 90% to move here.
8. We Use Our Car Much Less Often than We Did in the USA
And the last way we live a more green Germany, and this is a big one for Americans, is that we use our cars WAY less! Instead, we use public transportation, walk, or ride our bicycles as often as we can. During the warmer months, when it’s safe to ride our bicycles, we ride them daily and walk, and we LOVE it! We easily get exercise without going to the gym or doing a workout. It’s good for our health and good for the earth – a win-win!