The Beauty of Zero Waste: TurkeyThe Beauty of Zero Waste: Turkey

Our break is over, the kids are back in school and it is already with nostalgia that I look at our summer’s photo album.

Every year, our travels take us to visit my family in France, but this time, we added spice to our trip with a hop to Turkey. Everywhere, from the big city of Istanbul to the small town of Bodrum, we found bulk displayed in most beautiful ways.

May these images inspire you to open your own Zero Waste store!

But unpackaged local goods present themselves sometimes in unexpected way. When our captain foraged an octopus for dinner, we used its ink to play and draw.

Once you gain a selective vision for package-free items, you see them everywhere!

Did you discover bulk during your summer’s travels?

For more pictures of the bulk that I discover during my travels, check out my Twitter and Instagram feed @zerowastehome, #bulkisbeautiful.

Our break is over, the kids are back in school and it is already with nostalgia that I look at our summer’s photo album.

Every year, our travels take us to visit my family in France, but this time, we added spice to our trip with a hop to Turkey. Everywhere, from the big city of Istanbul to the small town of Bodrum, we found bulk displayed in most beautiful ways.

May these images inspire you to open your own Zero Waste store!

But unpackaged local goods present themselves sometimes in unexpected way. When our captain foraged an octopus for dinner, we used its ink to play and draw.

Once you gain a selective vision for package-free items, you see them everywhere!

Did you discover bulk during your summer’s travels?

For more pictures of the bulk that I discover during my travels, check out my Twitter and Instagram feed @zerowastehome, #bulkisbeautiful.
  1. Bare Necessities says:

    September 12th, 2014 at 11:55 pm (#)

    I am curious to know how they package these items when they are sold to customers (especially spices, sweets – things that are tricky to carry. I suppose vegetables can go directly in a cotton shopping bag). did you see how they were doing it?

  2. Haruko says:

    September 13th, 2014 at 9:46 am (#)

    In my experience: disposable plastic bags 🙁

  3. Kieselstein says:

    September 13th, 2014 at 5:54 pm (#)

    in case you forgot bringing your reusables with you… or do they refuse those?

  4. Anonymous says:

    September 25th, 2014 at 10:36 pm (#)

    Bring your own jar!

  5. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:03 pm (#)

    I actually did not pay attention to what they were using (with my selective vision I do not notice packaging anymore), but in some of my pictures I see paper and plastic bags. We brought a few of our cloth bags.

  6. Ariana Schwarz says:

    September 13th, 2014 at 1:26 am (#)

    Gorgeous- one of my favorite countries and cultures. I love the octopus drawings!

  7. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:05 pm (#)

    Thanks! Leo and I really had fun with it, and I guess the captain like the drawings too: I have been told that he posted one on his website;)

  8. Delcarla says:

    September 13th, 2014 at 4:38 pm (#)

  9. Hélène PERISSE says:

    September 13th, 2014 at 9:03 pm (#)

    I live in Turkey since 2 years now, and it's a lovely country, glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    Generally, the use plastic bags for these bulk products. A lot !
    I bring my glass jars to my local store & they like that idea. But I have to be careful & quick to avoid them to wrap my jars in plastic. Every time ! haha…
    But now my baker knows & puts my bread directly in my fabric tote (with a big smile) . Small victory after 6 months of "no plastic bag pleaaaassse" . Also it a good way to pratice my Turkish 😉
    Thanks for all your ideas Bea ! Take care!
    Grand bonjour d'Istanbul !
    Hélène

  10. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:07 pm (#)

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience! We appreciate the point of view of a local Zero Waster!

  11. judith says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 12:47 am (#)

    I have recently been buying baking goods (flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.) in bulk. I found a whole stash of cotton in some of my mom's sewing fabrics. They aren't your typical quilting fabric, they are actual flour sacks that my Grandma had saved to make clothes and quilts when my mom was a girl. These pieces of fabric are probably 80 years old. I have re-stitched them into bags to use for dry-goods as they were back in the day. This way I don't have to use plastic. I also get lots of looks and comments.

  12. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:10 pm (#)

    Beautiful story. Your bags must look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

  13. L. Magas says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 2:24 am (#)

    Those amazing artisan soap give me happy goosebumps! And make me want to make my own too!

  14. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:17 pm (#)

    We bought Aleppo soap and I must say, it was awesome!

  15. L. Magas says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 2:25 am (#)

    Also, I keep hearing amazing things about Turkey everywhere I turn lately. I want to visit now! Sounds colorful, and peaceful!

  16. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:15 pm (#)

    We were disappointed by the amount of trash we encountered along the coast. Nonetheless the wildlife (goat, donkey, fish, etc), the landscape, the water visibility, and Istanbul were amazing.

  17. Learning Traditional Skills says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 11:49 am (#)

    A lot of inspiration to our local stores, I would say! Lovely pictures, thanks for sharing!

  18. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:19 pm (#)

    When I post such pictures, I secretly hope that my local stores see them and get inspired to offer more bulk and beautify their displays.

  19. Francine says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 1:42 pm (#)

    Yes! Bulk is beautiful!

  20. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:23 pm (#)

    Package-free is the best way to display a product, let it shine.

  21. Sarah says:

    September 14th, 2014 at 3:14 pm (#)

    Love this.

  22. Sarah mc says:

    September 15th, 2014 at 7:27 am (#)

    Here in Ethiopia, the packaging is frequently charged separately. So, while the idea of zero waste is not known, they understand the idea of saving money so now when I bring my own container to the ice cream store, they think I am just a crazy foreigner who wants to save 5 cents.

  23. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:30 pm (#)

    LOL thanks for sharing your experience abroad. I was not aware of this practice beyond charging for plastic bags. Would be great if the rest of the world followed it!

  24. Anonymous says:

    September 15th, 2014 at 2:58 pm (#)

    정말 멋져요! 항상 잘 보고있습니다!^^

  25. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 5:30 pm (#)

    In english?

  26. Madeleine Lawrence says:

    September 16th, 2014 at 1:16 am (#)

    Hi Bea,

    so happy you're back! Beautiful photos, and I wish more people could see the potential for zero waste shops here in Australia. Recently there was a news feature on the no no-packaging supermarket that opened in Germany. I thought the news panel would respond positively, but they all thought it was a terrible idea, and there was even a mention of getting germs from 'dirty hippies'. This was shocking to me as the panel is made of of supposedly 'educated' people (with degrees like law and journalism). Their ignorance was astonishing to say the least.

    Here in my own town we have farmer's markets and health food shops that are happy to comply with bulk shopping 🙂 I'm just starting to learn about foraging (I was lacking in confidence so put it off) as my next step towards zero waste.

    Madeleine.x

  27. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 4:44 pm (#)

    I am well aware of the German supermarket that you are referring to. It's called Original Unverpackt.
    Their link has been emailed, tweeted, FB'd to me dozens of times and I have been in contact with the founders -they loved my book;)
    I was unaware of the criticism that they received, I usually ignore it. But it does not surprise me, having received a fair share myself… We can't listen to them or let them take us down, we know that what we do is beneficial to our family (time, money and health) and that's what matters to us.

    How exciting that you started learning about foraging! It's my favorite hobby. Just last weekend we foraged 3 types of tea, seaweed and bug repellent during our camp trip. You'll find that it is soooo rewarding – it makes hiking so much more fun too.

    Cheers!

  28. Anonymous says:

    September 20th, 2014 at 7:45 pm (#)

    I am always amazed at the hypocrisy of your zero waste mantra v. the huge carbon footprint of your summer trips. You have every right to take big trips, but it is not in line with your crafted message.

  29. jc says:

    September 20th, 2014 at 11:26 pm (#)

    I for one am I'm thankful that the Johnson family travels, instead of hunkering down in a bunker. There is no easy answer book. Each of us must consider what the best choices in our life. Travel has value.

  30. Anonymous says:

    September 23rd, 2014 at 6:00 am (#)

    Bea message is not to leave without any carbon footprint or waste but to live with little as possible, be responsible with our waste and have a meaningful life. Yes, they travel but they have only one car and they bike every where. I have visited their hometown and it's not an easy place to bike because it's very hilly. – Eva

  31. Anonymous says:

    September 25th, 2014 at 10:39 pm (#)

    And just how much garbage does your family make?

  32. Bea Johnson says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 5:27 pm (#)

    Ah there it is!

    Thanks Anonymous for criticizing my family's travels: How predictable! I bet my husband that such comment would be coming, so I win!

    I guess you've somehow missed the most important part of my message: The Zero Waste lifestyle is a life based on experiences (vs. stuff), it's about living more, about getting the best out of life. Everyone has to find for themselves what they want to get out of life, what it is that makes them feel alive. For me, it's making discoveries, opening my eyes, feeding my head with images, memories and sensations that I have never seen or felt before. Travels have opened my mind just as they are opening that of my boys'.

    Contrary to what many people think, we never claimed trying to be the greenest family on Earth, or to be a carbon-free one (only those that are buried, truly are). We have a car, we eat meat, we use toilet paper and yes, we hop on a plane from time to time.

    Ironically, if you have adopted any of the zero waste alternatives that I propose, there is a good chance I sourced it from one of my travels, (from Europe, the Middle East, Asia).

    For more thoughts on the subject, please check the comments of previous travel posts, I respond to an anonymous judging my travels in each one -or are you the troll in all of them? LOL

  33. jc says:

    September 20th, 2014 at 11:17 pm (#)

    The book _Notes from a Blue Bike_by Tsh Oxenreider (http://notesfromabluebike.com/) opens with a description of their family's life in Turkey c. 2008… and proceeds to let you in on the way they have navigated the many overwhelming choices of "Venti Latte Land".

  34. Halsted says:

    September 26th, 2014 at 1:58 am (#)

    I enjoy visiting markets where I can buy in bulk. It makes it more affordable to purchase whole foods and keep a hungry household satisfied.

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