When deciding to move to Berlin, its reputation as an eco-conscious, community focused and vegan friendly city was definitely a big draw for me. Upon arriving, I quickly realised Berlin was going to make it very easy for me to live the low impact lifestyle I was trying to achieve. Everything was on my doorstep: zero waste stores, organic supermarkets, farmers markets, ethical fashion stores and of course, plenty of vegan and vegan friendly places to eat.
Despite this, there were still some other aspects of conscious living in Berlin which took a bit longer to get to grips with. This is why I decided to write a conscious living guide to Berlin, where you can find all the information I was looking for when I first moved here. I hope you find it helpful!
Zero waste shopping
Plastic free living is pretty easy in Berlin. There’s plenty of bulk stores, zero waste stores and even some of the organic supermarkets have bulk sections. The recycling system in Berlin is very good, and you can compost at home by using the ‘bio’ bin which will be collected. Check out my full guide to zero waste shopping in Berlin here.
Second hand shopping
Vintage and second hand shopping is huge in Berlin. You’ll find most people rummaging through clothes at flea markets on a Sunday, and the style here is very much inspired by vintage 80s and 90s fashion. Here’s my list of the best second hand shopping destinations in Berlin:
Humana is my favourite second hand store in Berlin. It’s a chain across Germany (and Austria) so you’ll probably find there is one near your kiez. The prices are generally higher than you’ll find at flea markets, but I’ve found some absolute gems and when you find what you’re looking for it’s worth paying a little bit more.
My favourite flea market for cheap, secondhand and vintage clothing is the Princessingarten Flohmarket or Nowkoelln Market - both on alternating Sundays during the summer. There’s also the infamous Mauerpark Flohmarkt every Sunday but I personally find it far too busy and very overpriced, so I avoid it. My last suggestion would be Flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz every Sunday in Friedrichshain, but it is more vintage rather than secondhand.
Despite lots of Berliners being anti-Facebook, groups are actually huge here for finding apartments, events and selling second hand clothes and furniture. Sell your stuff Berlin is probably the biggest - you can get everything from bikes, sofas to second hand clothing, so if you’re looking for something in particular, keep an eye on this group. There’s also Free your stuff Berlin for people giving away items for free.
A local version of eBay (probably most similar to Gumtree for those of you from the UK or Australia), this can be a great place to find second hand furniture, or even apartments for rent. I got much of the furniture for my first apartment from eBay Kleinanzeigen.
Plant based eating
Berlin was once hailed as the vegan capital of Europe (although I think it was recently overtaken by London) and has endless options for plant based eaters. Not only is there a huge selection of vegan restaurants, almost everywhere is vegan friendly due to the amount of vegan and vegetarians living in Berlin. For a full list of my favourite vegan and vegan friendly restaurants, check out my separate article here.
There’s plenty of regular, interesting green events happening in Berlin, you just have to know where to look. Of course, when moving to a new city it’s always worth checking out Meet Up to find your tribe. Other organisations that you should like on Facebook in order to see their events are Plan A, Greenme Berlin and GreenBuzz Berlin. If your interested in getting crafty, The Makery is a great place to find one-off workshops and classes.
If you’re looking for a job with a social enterprise or NGO, you’ve come to the right place. However, one big thing to bear in mind is that most of these jobs require professional level German and English. For that reason, I’ve struggled to find a job with a company whose values align with mine. However, it’s not impossible and there are some social startups that only require English. Check out GoodJobs, tbd* and GreenJobs for job listings with socially conscious companies.
There are a ridiculous amount of yoga studios in Berlin - there’s a style and studio for everyone. Most studios will specify whether the class is in English or German, and some studios are English only. My personal favourite is Yoga in English Berlin - the space is beautiful, the teachers are great and the style is perfect for me (more meditative rather than a power work out). My recommendation is to get an Urban Sports Club membership: it’s amazing! You can access almost all the yoga studios and fitness centres in Berlin and only pay one monthly fee.