I had been looking for and dreaming of finding the ultimate zero-waste shop for quite some time, and as I already wrote about last year, the options have been extremely limited and specifis around the city of Zug.
In the city of Baden in Aargau Canton, where I work, I could already sample some good, organic alternatives to the regular bio-section of the largest supermarket venues (although Alnatura - belonging to Migros as a brand - is actually not bad at all in terms of range of bio and organic options).
I did visit Ohne, for example, the zero-waste shop next to the train station, and purchased there my first toothpaste tablets and beewax covers; the place has also a nice coffee and offers salads, sandwiches and cakes.
However, while the shop provides an amazing range of options and areas of action at home, I was unfortunately repelled by the price of common goods (pasta, rice, household cleaning products...) as well as by the origins of food items like lentils, chia seeds, nuts, etc...as a lot more could be sourced in Europe, if not Switzerland directly, instead of the other side of the Atlantic.
The Biolade Bade shop, directly on platform 1 of the Baden train station, offers also great products in a much smaller scale but with great quality and choices. I have bought there my bamboo take-away coffee cup for work, and indulged in nice, vegan chocolate-banana muffins (much better and healthier options than those served at Starbucks a few meters away!).
I had wanted to visit Chez Mamie (Bio - Vrac) for a very long time but never could find the time and energy to cross a part of Zurich to reach on of the different outlets present in town. The opening of the new one directly by the train station saved me with the greatest joy.
To all zero-waste newbies this is the right place to go, and my pictures below unfortunately do not show greatly the entire range of things that can be found at Chez Mamie, including:
- "dry foods": pasta, seeds, various flours, dried fruits, spices...
- coffee and teas
- oils for cooking
- household cleaning products: detergents, laundry...
- cosmetics: hard shampoos and soaps, deodorants...and long-term, reusable items (shavers, brushes, toothbrushes etc...)
- chocolates and candies
- cold section for vegetables and dairies.
The scale system is very practical, and if you do not have your own you can purchase glass jars and paper or cloth bags to pack your items. And in case you have any doubt, the shop's personnel is super friendly and will guide you.
If I had not been carried a bag and a giant belly, I would have probably bought the shop itself. What stopped me was the vision of the empty jars at home waiting to be used, and the stocks that we already have at home, that we should empty first. The only thing I bought however was a loofah sponge pad to serve as soap holder and drier*.
As for origins and prices:
I was very pleased by the prices of food items, which did not seem too extreme compared to the ones you can find in supermarkets. The question is again the same: are you willing / able to pay a little more to support local businesses and zero-waste practices compared to big business ones?
The prices however of the cosmetics section however blocked me, as I found the soaps and shampoo bars quite small for their price. Most of them are imported, and I somehow found the sizes of bars in Lush a lot better in terms of value-for-money-and-length-of use (for example, I am still using the Lush deodorant bar that I bought in March for 13 CHF, which has been a great investment)
the range of food products is great, I mean, look at these shelves! Better however to come with a certain idea of what you need and especially how to cook things - I have never cooked dried beans for example. The range of flours is amazing and Chez Mamie might become the place to go to if I am looking for something very specific.
Chez Mamie is trying as much as possible to source food locally. If not available in Switzerland the scope will be enlarged to neighbour countries as much as possible, except for seeds or fruits that cannot be produced here in Europe. However there is a real effort here to reduce the items' travel footprint, which is obviously a plus to me.
Verdict: Chez Mamie is a place to check, that's for sure.
I will just need to optimize our food and containers' storage at home, empty our stocks and see what the stroller can support in terms of filled jars, and I shall go back soon.
Find the closest Chez Mamie shop next to you:
- Address: Chez Mamie Zurich HB, Zollstrasse 57 (in the new development along the train station)
- Phone: 076 406 42 28
- website: https://chezmamie-biovrac.ch/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cmzh.hb/
*The pad works perfectly fine with regular hard soap but totally failed with my blue, hard shampoo from Lush: it absorbed its water like it should do, but too efficiently, meaning that the pad turned blue and started leaking on my bathtub. I decided to re-use instead the Lush metal box for storage and keep the pad for regular soap (#firstworldproblem).
Pics/ Ohne: website - Chez Mamie: self-made