Very frustrated. Before going swimming today, I packed a couple of Tupperware boxes and my reusable fruit and veggie bags, all ready to go shopping – plastic-free, mind you.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Mpreis near West Shopping Centre seems to be one of the few decent-sized grocery stores in Innsbruck that opens at 7am, but the butcher doesn’t start that early. Which means that if you’re making lasagna, it’s going to come not only covered in plastic, but in a polystyrene container. At this Mpreis (and most others – we have an Mpreis up the road and had another up the road in our previous apartment, so I have some experience of a variety of their stores), you cannot get loose carrots.  Ricotta, parmesan and milk all come in plastic containers.

Unfortunately I hadn’t planned to drive around Innsbruck looking for alternatives, so I was a bad person and bought what I needed, doing the best I could with what I had available.

What I’ve learned, however, is that in order to live a reduced-waste (I’m still thinking about zero waste and whether leaving your plastic behind in the shop means that you are really a “zero waste” person) life, I’ll have to become much more strategic about my shopping.

For example, I know that the Interspar in Rum and Dez as well as the Eurospar near Hutterer Park all have lots of loose veggies, including loose carrots and onions etc., as does Fruchthof (Innsbruck’s answer to “Whole Pay Check (sic)” in Boulder). Hörtnagel is a marvellous butcher and along with the Interspars and perhaps the large Mpreis in Rum, I can certainly get meat without plastic. Some of the Interspars, Fruchthof and the Markthalle also have good cheese counters, where I can almost certainly get plastic-free parmesan. Ricotta I am less sure of, although I only use ricotta once or twice a year. Milk would need to come from the Milkomat, of which we have one in Arzl I think.

Where to get nuts and grains in paper instead of plastic, I am not yet sure, but I’ll start taking a camera with me when I shop to document this sort of thing.

For the time being, I shall resort to planning meals more carefully, so that I can go shopping strategically once or twice a week. We’ll see how that goes!