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Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Less edible, more functional

These liquid soaps and cleaning liquids on the other hand are not for drinking. They don't all smell divine either, but they serve a purpose. Two in fact, given that, besides cleaning, they also remove the need to buy their plastic-wrapped factory-made counterparts.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Cosmetics with a difference

Berlin now has two shops that sell unpackaged ingredients for making your own cosmetics and cleaning products, and the internet has an endless supply of suggested combinations for soft, sweet-smelling skin. What's not to like?

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

The proof of the pudding...

... because you genuinely could eat it all. That's not to say it would taste good or necessarily be nutritious, but it is testimony to the natural nature of many make-your-own potions, lotions and creams. And not a tube or plastic bottle in sight.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Teething problems

As with cosmetics, there are many recipes for homemade toothpaste online. But if that's an (understandably) acquired taste too far, it's possible to get hold of minty tooth tabs either loose or in paper bags. These can be used with a bamboo toothbrush, and if you really want to go for it, complemented with a length of all-natural floss.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

The hard stuff

Keeping clean doesn't have to involve a row of plastic bottles. Soap, which predates shower gel by donkey's years, has always been widely available. But even solid shampoos and conditioners are becoming easier to get hold of. And for all their hard exterior, they have a soft touch.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Bags of potential

Supermarkets still have rolls and rolls of those thin plastic bags for customers to use to carry fruit and veg home. Once there, the vast majority are immediately disposed of. Doesn't make a lot of sense, and even said supermarkets must be cottoning on, because they are also starting to sell cloth bags for the same purpose.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Totes to last

And while we are on the subject of bags... Plastic carriers have not been banned in Germany, although some shops have taken it on themselves to stop offering them. It's not as if there are no alternatives. It's just a matter of having them with you when needed.

Inside an attempt to live without plastic packaging

Paper all the way

Alternatives are harder to come by in the world of toilet paper and tissues. Given their destiny, the need to wrap them in plastic reads like one of life's little mysteries. It's for the sake of hygiene, manufacturers have been known to note. Really?

Climate change

Biodiversity

Animated explainers

Interactive specials

The Kapok tree - a giant under threat in the Amazon rainforest

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Special: Into the forest

My favorite

Global Ideas explainer

At Global Ideas, we focus on "best practice" climate and biodiversity protection projects that offer solutions and inspire others to take action. Each week, an international team of television and online reporters produce films and features that offer an insight into how developing and emerging countries are dealing with the impacts of climate change. Global Ideas is supported by the German environment ministry within the framework of its International Climate Initiative. 

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