Zero Waste: 11 business that are making Paris a better place

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Parisians voted for a greener city with the re-election of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, whose top priority is protecting the environment. Her agenda: eliminate parking lots, close streets to cars, make the city more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, build low-carbon housing and use 100% renewable energy. 

And while some of her actions have been met with loud protests in the past, such as closing the Quai de Seine to cars, even the whiners have to admit that a walk along the waterfront is nicer without a side of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The banks of the Seine in Paris have become much more pleasant for pedestrians since they have been made car-free.

Other environmental measures that made headlines this year included a ban on electric scooters and a new French law that requires restaurants with more than 20 seats to offer reusable and washable serving containers, forcing McDonald’s to ban its disposable containers and introduce a range of tableware.

But politicians are not the only ones taking a stand for the environment. A growing number of Parisians are trying to be more sustainable, and some have even adopted a zero waste lifestyle. Fortunately, there are plenty of companies that make their daily lives easier. Here are eleven of them:

Rue Rangoli – giving without wasting

Notebooks made from elephant dung displayed on the shelf at the zero waste upcycling boutique Rue Rangoli.

The upcycling/zero waste gift shop on Rue du Cherche-Midi proves that almost any material can be transformed into something wonderful and useful. Their quirky products range from cute little notebooks made from elephant dung, lamps made from old guitars, flip-flop animals, laptop bags made from seatbelts and unused saris turned into gift bags, hair ties and silk scarfs, to coffee capsule tree ornaments, waste-free cosmetics and upcycled design objects. 

Rue Rangoli’s ethical commitment isn’t just about the environment, it’s about people. That’s why RR’s founder, Patricia, only works with artisans and organizations that actively empower disadvantaged populations around the world, ensuring gifts that bring as much joy to the giver as the recipient.

Rue Rangoli
74 Rue du Cherche-Midi
6th arrondissement
Métro: Saint-Placide (4)
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-7pm

The sustainable products such as recycled guitar lamps and flip flop animals in the Rue Rangoli boutique in Paris.

Demain – yesterday’s bread for a better tomorrow

Demain is not a bakery in the traditional sense. They don’t make their own products. Instead, they collect leftover items from other bakeries and sell them the next day at half price. 

An employee at Paris' first zero waste bakery Demain serves their signature smash croissants to a client.

Some products, like the farmer’s bread, will last a week or so, while more delicate items, like croissants, may be a little stale the next day. Instead of throwing them out, Demain turns them into ‘smash croissants’, which are flattened and caramelized for a fresh, crunchy treat.

133 Rue Saint-Maur
11th arrondissement
Métro: Couronnes (2) or Parmentier (3)
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8am-8pm

The Naked Shop – soap on tap

A short walk from Demain, The Naked Shop sells unpackaged liquids such as cleaning products, shampoo, soap, oils and gels on tap. Founder Maria got the idea for her shop while, you guessed it, sitting in a beer bar. A few months later, her ‘soap bar’ was born.

Here you can fill your own containers with exactly as much as you need and not a drop more. The great thing about the store’s system is that you can see the price at the same time as the milliliters, so you can decide not only how much you want, but also how much you want to spend.

At The Naked Shop in Paris, liquids are sold from tap following a zero waste philosophy.

The Naked Shop
75 Rue Oberkampf
11th arrondissement
Métro: Parmentier (3)
Opening hours: Mon 1pm-8pm, Tue-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 10.30am-7.30pm

Bisou – eco-friendly cocktails

A customized pink cocktail with a decorative sunflower served at Bisou, a sustainable bar in Paris.

At first glance, Bisou may look like an Insta-trap – a place designed to attract camera junkies with photogenic decor. Dressed in pink with flowers hanging from the ceiling, it certainly seems to cater to a certain demographic. But don’t judge a bar by its cover! 

Not only is Bisou sustainable, favoring local and seasonal produce and turning leftovers and unused parts into syrups for its cocktails, it also offers a unique concept. You get a custom drink based on the flavors and emotions you want in your cocktail.

15 Boulevard du Temple
3rd arrondissement
Métro: Filles du Calvaire (8)
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-2am

Clients enjoying Bisou's custom-made drinks on their terrace in Paris.

La Caserne – making fashion greener

You probably know that fashion is a very polluting industry. Many designers want to produce more responsibly, but need support. La Caserne hosts brands for three years, giving them access to training, materials and contacts so they can make sustainable commitments.

The former fire station has been transformed into an eco-friendly fashion hub with an 800m2 terrace, creative studios and offices, a café, a florist and even a nightclub, all working with the same green vision.

Parisians are enjoying a coffee in the sun of eco-friendly fashion hub La Caserne's terrace in Paris.

La Caserne
12 Rue Philippe de Girard
10th arrondissement
Métro: Louis Blanc (7, 7B)

Dupin – leftovers turned gourmet

Tucked away on a quiet street just steps from the bustling Boulevard Raspail, Dupin flavors its dishes with a generous sprinkling of sustainability. 80% of the kitchen waste is recycled. Vegetable peels and stalks, for example, are dehydrated, ground, and made into a concentrated powder used to spice up sauces and broths.

Leftover bread is turned into ice cream, tomato scraps into ketchup, and so on. Chef Nathan Helo also focuses on plant-based ingredients. There’s still a fair amount of meat and fish on the menu – this is France, after all – but it’s sourced from small farms and sustainable fisheries.

11 Rue Dupin
6th arrondissement
Métro: Sèvres – Babylone (10, 12)
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 12pm-3pm, 7pm-10.30pm

La Maison du Zéro Déchet – all about zero waste

La Maison du Zéro Déchet (‘The House of Zero Waste’) is a place dedicated to reducing waste. It has a boutique offering alternatives to disposable and single-use products, a library of objects to borrow for free, and a community café with a beautiful terrace overlooking a small park that has become a popular coworking spot.

La Maison also hosts regular workshops on waste management, film screenings and debates. Of course, the materials used in the construction of the building, as well as the furnishings and equipment, have been reused.

Customers are relaxing on the terrace of the café of La Maison du Zero Déchet in Paris, a venue that's all about zero waste.

La Maison du Zéro Déchet
1 Passage Emma Calvé
12th arrondissement
Métro: Reuilly – Diderot (1, 8)
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm

Go Go Kiwi – the less you earn, the less you pay

In addition to promoting short circuit, organic and package-free products, Go Go Kiwi has set up a points system that adapts to customers’ income, allowing them to benefit from an attractive discount in proportion to their purchases. Anyone who earns less than 1750 euros per month can benefit by signing up for a loyalty card. And the less you earn, the less you’ll pay!

Go Go Kiwi
16 Avenue de Laumière
19th arrondissement
Métro: Laumière (5)
Opening hours: Mon 3pm-8pm, Tue-Sat 10.30am-8pm, Sun 10.30am-6pm

Crates full of fruit and vegetables in front of the zero waste store Go Go Kiwi in Paris.

Too Good To Go – saving money and the planet

Originally a Danish invention, the app is now available in nine countries, including France. And Parisians are loving it, because they can get heavy discounts at countless supermarkets and restaurants, as well as cafes, bakeries, hotels and florists, all while saving the planet (since food waste accounts for 10% of greenhouse gasses).

By purchasing Magic Bags from participating businesses, shoppers receive a sack full of that day’s unsold, perfectly good items at a third of the original price. It’s super fun if you like surprises, but not ideal if you have dietary restrictions because you can’t choose what goes in your bag.

Download the app

La Recyclerie – sustainable restaurant & repair shop

Until 1934, a railroad circled Paris, and remnants of it can still be seen today. For example, along Rue Belliard in the north of the 18th arrondissement, where there is also an old train station that is now a restaurant, bar and café, as well as an urban farming project and a recycling yard.

You can bring in your small appliances for free repair, borrow shared items at no charge, and get access to the workbench for on-site tinkering. Because sustainability is key here, the restaurant’s menu changes daily, depending on what the market have to offer, but is always made with seasonal and local ingredients. Any leftovers are fed to La Recyclerie’s own chicken.

La Recyclerie
83 Boulevard Ornano
18th arrondissement
Métro: Porte de Clignancourt (4)
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 8am-12am, Fri 8am-2am, Sat 11am-2am, Sun 11am-10pm

Nous anti-gaspi – a second chance for misfits

Some products never make it to the store because their packaging is damaged or contains incorrect information, they have a short shelf life, or they’re the wrong size or shape. These products are usually thrown away. 

Nous anti-gaspi is an alternative supermarket chain that fights food waste by collecting these items and selling them at a lower price. On average, each of their stores saves 100,000 meals per month. With 27 stores across France, including nine in Paris, this makes a big difference.

Nous anti-gaspi
86 Rue d’Amsterdam
9th arrondissement
Métro: Place de Clichy (2, 13)
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8.45pm, Sun 10am-1pm

Other stores in the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.

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