5. Go green!

There are many communities on Facebook supporting the move to a cleaner, greener future. From reducing food waste to fighting climate change and encouraging sustainable consumption, Facebook groups attract many people who are increasingly aware of the impact their actions have on the environment. Read their tips on how people living and working in Brussels today can make green lifestyle choices, buy local produce, recycle and re-sell.

With contributions from BXL en de rest(jes), BXL à Donner, Rise for Climate: mobilisation citoyenne pour l’Humanité et le climat , Incroyables Comestibles Uccle, Bruxelles sans supermarché and Brussels Vegans

Food waste and sustainable food

Keeping our kitchen tables tidy – and fair

A growing number of workshops, including Petite recherche suffit, teach students how to reduce their own household waste by making the most of everything in the fridge. Recup’kitchen in Schaerbeek and Collectmet collect unsold food to be redistributed where it is needed. Other sustainable food tips can be found on the Fristouille website, which provides tasty recipes along with cookery classes.

Where to do your grocery shopping sustainably

BoerenMarché at Tour and Taxis (Avenue du Port, 86) offers products from local farmers and is taking steps to reduce food packaging, particularly the use of plastic. For a varied assortment of bulk products, Stock (Place Fernand Cocq 23) is a store created by the cooperative Les Evadés in Ixelles. Another well-known sustainable supermarket is Bio Vrac (Rue Meyerbeer 144).

You can also find online services like La ruche qui dit oui, which offers deliveries of local, sustainable food to collection points in Brussels and beyond. La Vivrière (Place Saint-Denis 35), in Forest is an organic supermarket that uses small producers, as does L’Heureux Nouveau (Rue de la glacière 6), which will also deliver and is recommended as the best quality for a good price. Belgomarkt (Rue de Dublin 19) is another supermarket with local products, whose goal is to make healthy and responsible consumption easier, while helping the local economy.

The best sustainable restaurant addresses

Ami (Rue Lesbroussart 13) is a good option for vegetarian burgers and local dishes, while Le Local (Rue de la Longue Haie 51) serves up dishes with sustainable, seasonal local ingredients and is a “Zero Waste” restaurant. Classic options include Dolma (Chaussée d’Ixelles 329), described by Incroyables Comestibles Uccle as a real institution for vegetarian cuisine in Brussels, and Tero (Rue Saint-Bernard 1). If you are looking for sustainable canteens, you can go to Refresh (Rue du Sceptre 39) or to Greenz BioBar (Rue de Nieuwenhove 84), which offers lunch with seasonal local products. Other top tips for sustainable restaurants can be found on the Good Food Brussels website, a campaign created by Bruxelles Environment supporting sustainable agriculture and food projects.

Back to basics: From tiny seeds

Incroyables Comestibles (Incredible Edible) Uccle (Rue du Doyenné 60) hosts a group of citizens of all ages, reclaiming urban space and growing produce to feed and share. The group is supported by many parents of children at Uccle’s Centre School. Incroyables Comestibles aims to (re)build food gardens, encourage natural gardening and above all, have fun by coming together. Another initiative is Le Jardin Essentiel (Square Lainé 1-3) in Forest, a space with aromatic medicinal plants, managed by volunteers. Peas and Love is a group of commercial urban rooftop farms and anyone can apply to become a member.

“Our community is a space to donate for free, instead of throwing away objects that we don’t use anymore, and is a way to get on with a more sustainable way of life so that our children can live on this planet properly” Christine Maeran – Community Leader of BXL à Donner

Round and round: The second-hand economy

How to give…

BXL à Donner finds new homes for donated objects, while 2ememain.be is a good place to look for second-hand goods – often for free. Les Petits Riens takes clothes donations at collection points around the city, and re-sells them along with furniture, books and music in Petits Riens shops. L’Armée du Salut is one of several aid agencies taking donations of old belongings.

…and how to take

Brussels is a treasure trove for second-hand bargain hunters. The Place du Jeu de Balle hosts an internationally famous flea market every morning (the site even makes an appearance in the Tintin books…). The Episode second-hand clothing chain has a branch on Brussels’ Rue du Violette. And almost every week one of the Brussels communities, schools or other venues will be hosting a “brocante,” at which locals rent space to sell good quality unwanted items.

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