Vegan & Low Waste living in Cyprus

Vegan and Low-Waste Living in Cyprus

We stayed 3 months in Cyprus, exploring the Island (check out our 6 top hikes in Cyprus) enjoying vegan food while living as Zero Waste as I could.  So how easy or hard is it to be vegan – low waste living in Cyprus?
 
It definitely is very easy to get vegetarian food. Available in every Restaurant, but theres a lot of cheese inlcuded, like in most Restaurants all around the world. I found it easy though to order “no cheese” though and maybe get something else instead. The staff is mostly very helpful and open to special orders like that.
 
Low Waste living in Cyprus is not as easy as in other countries. In a lot of Countries Zero Waste shops and Bulk options are popping up everywhere (at least in the bigger cities) and recycling bins are all around, in many countries they do have glass or plastic bottle deposit schemes finally. Not so in Cyprus (yet?).
 
I couldnt find any Zero Waste Store here, but at least a few bulk options, mostly in smaller grocery stores but also in some of the bigger supermarkets. So when it comes to trash and recycling: reducing is the way to go!

Vegan options in Cyprus

It is like anywhere else very easy to eat plantbased if you cook from scratch a lot. But also restaurants and supermarkets adapt to the vegan wishes of their customers.

If you go to Restaurants and Bakerys and Supermarkets look out for signs saying “Nistissima”. This means it is a fasting product. Orthodox Cypriots do Fasting a couple times so the Restaurants and Bakeries got products to cover these days.
Food for fasting are almost always vegan. The only non-vegan ingredients it could have is fish (but the dish migth just tell you on first sight) or in baking goods they might use some honey sometimes.

Small vegan restaurants or vegan menues in normal restaurants are more and more common too. I always google before we are going to visit a new city and then I mark the interesting spots on the map on my phone, so theres no need to become hangry 😉

Supermarkets

-Most Supermarkets and even small kiosks have plant milk and Hummus available.
-In the bigger supermarkets (Spar, Alpha Mega) they will even have vegan cheese, vegan convenience food, tofu, etc.

Organic Stores like Green Shop (Larnaca) have vegan products and zero waste products too.

I am not a fan of vegan convenience food. Not only are most of it packaged heavily, most of them are like other fast food filled with a lot of ingredients you might not want to eat every day.
If you want to eat healthy and vegan you should enjoy these products like other fast food, once in a while but not daily. I recommend to always check ingredients to see how healthy or unhealthy they are and then decide.
 A vegan label does not always guarantee a healthy product.

Cooking from scratch is always the better option and mostly time consuming, nor very expensive. I am regularly posting vegan recipes on the blog too.

Café, Cakes, Bakery

Plantbased milk is widely available for coffee everywhere.
Some of the young and hip Cafés might have one vegan treat available. If not and you are fancying a sweet treat, Zorpas is a Bakery Chain that has a lot of treats labelled as Nistissima/Fasting (if you dont eat honey ask) and also a lot of them 100% Vegan.
 

Seed of Happiness (Nicosia/Lefkosia)

Not a Café, but a small bakery offering delicous raw, vegan, glutenfree, refined sugar free treats! OMG soooo soooo good!
Located in Nicosia, but I heard they might deliver even to Larnaca.

Adress and opening hours: SeedofhappinessCY

Seed of Happiness
Vegan Treats from Zorbas

Restaurants

I really enjoy cooking from scratch so we don’t eat out every week.
But I was really keen to check out a few places in Cyprus and luckily we did before Corona Restrictions came in place….

What I didn’t know when arriving in Cyprus, they mostly offer free water in Restaurants and Cafés, but mostly in small plastic bottles. I did refuse it because I always carry my bottle with me.
And yes, sure, I did carry the bottles or also paper packaging of friends or my own food with me to the next recycling bin…I know I am kind of a freak sometimes, but I feel better this way 😀

I chose to only list the places we actually visited, but there are much more places in Cyprus where you can find vegan food.

 

Ingas Veggie Heaven (Nicosia/Lefkosia)

Such a beautiful gem in Nicosia. Great vegan and vegetarian Food, everything is homemade. From breadrolls and hummus to dessert. They also have a nice terrace to sit and enjoy. We ordered our drinks without straw, and they came without straws 🙂
And Inga was happy to have a short chat even though she was busy in the kitchen.

Adress and opening hours: ingasveggieheaven

Vegan Gyros @Ingas Veggie Heaven

The Forest (Oroklini)

They offer food for everyone (meat, fish, vegetarian, vegan) but they have a great special vegan menu on the chalkboard.  The food was great!

The Gyros and the Kebab portions were huge 😀 so in case you know you won’t finish big portions you should concider bringing your own food container so you can take the leftovers home without creating trash.
(I personally did not like that they served cold drinks in plastic cups even if people stayed for their meal, I find that totally unneccessary and still too common in too many coffeeshops, but hopefully that will change in the future?)

Adress and opening hours: TheForest

Vegan Burger and Salad @theforest

Yummy India (Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia)

Amazing Indian food. We visited the branch in Larnaca and you are sitting in a green backyard. Very friendly staff and a lot of vegetarian and vegan options.

Adress and opening hours: YummyIndia

Yummy vegan Indian Food in Larnaca

HummuS Bar (Limassol)

When visiting Limassol, Corona already made it hard for me to go out for food because it wasn’t allowed anymore to sit down to eat. And I still refuse plastic for take away. So I mostly look for Falafel wraps, and what can I say, the HummuS bar was a great Choice. My Falafel Wrap came in a paper wrap and was delicious!
The Bowl of my partner came in a paper cup lined with plastic and a lid, but he used our own cutlery we always have in our backpack and refused the single use cutlery. We saw that they already offer paper straws, and no plastic bags but paper bags to pack the food to go, so that is great and way ahead of the plastic ban starting in Europe this June (2021).

Adress and opening hours: HummuS Bar

Vegan Falafel Wrap and Falafel Bowl from @HummuS Bar

Wagamama (several locations)

Wagamama is a chain, but they have great vegan and vegetarian options, so definietly worth a visit if you like healthy asian food and noodles.

Adress and opening hours: Wagamama Cyprus

Low Waste in Cyprus

Low Waste living is definitely easier in other countries. But as always you can reduce trash big times if you know why you want to. For me it is the reason that plastic litter is a huge threat to our Oceans, and yeah, Cyprus is an Island. Has beautiful beaches (if the storms arent’s bringing trash back onto the shores). Turtles are nesting here, a lot of fishies can be spotted when snorkeling, a lot of dive tourists are visiting so it should actually care more about the ocean?

I definietly had to make too many clean ups when visiting the Island, I even had a melt down on a beach where we saw a Turtle while snorkeling and then a couple weeks later the storm made us see plastic only the next snorkel visit…

While waiting for the Governments to make changes and implement laws to protect our Oceans and our Kids Future, we can do a lot in our daily habits to reduce our own impact.
 

Low waste shopping, recycling whatever we can, buying organic laundry detergent and dishwashing soap, using a Guppy Friend Washing bag to stop Micro plastic fibers from our clothing to enter the Ocean.

So while I wasn’t able to be as Zero Waste as I want, I did live as Low Waste as I could in Cyprus.
If I can’t find Zero Waste Options, my Goal is to refuse what I can, buying the biggest bags available, choosing the most recyclable packaging, but still enjoying a variety of food and still eating healthy.

Thats why I love to cook from scratch and I only eat packaged convenience food once in a while if at all.
And that is definietely reducing food packaging on a big level. All the trash I see littered on the beaches here: Plastic Bottles, beer Cans, Straws and straw sleeves, plastic bags, but mostly: Plastic Cups for cold coffee treats, sweet sugary shakes and drinks… Fast Food Packaging… and BUTTS.. too many Cigarette Butts.. but that again is a different topic.

Every day-Beach Clean Up
Cups Cups and more Plastic Cups

Low Waste Grocery Shopping

Fresh Produce

Wherever I went for groceries, Plastic Free Fresh Produce was not a problem at all. While that is a challenge in too many other countries, it wasn’t here.

Even local fresh produce was easy to find. Bring your own produce bags or just put them naked into your basket (no worries about any germs because you will wash, peel or cook anyway before eating).

Nuts

We found a great Nut Store in Larnaca where they roasted the nuts in the back of the store (used paper bags and I reused the paper bags at least 3 times for green beans, tomatoes, or bulk goods like dry beans and lentils (it makes the usage of paper bags more eco-friendly to at least use them three times).

Bulk Food

We noticed that in every other supermarket and smaller grocery stores they had beans, lentils (one main ingredient for this vegan Shepherds Pie Recipe) and sometimes also nuts in bulk.
I had no problems with using my reused nut paper bags and my other bulk bags, even in these Supermarkets where they still weigh the produce and bulk for the customers. If I did not have enough reusable produce bags, I asked them to put the fresh produce in one bag together and they put the sticker of the different vegetables on the one bag.
 

Single Use Plastic Bags? Who says they are only meant for single use?

If you can’t refuse the lightweight plastic bags in store, REUSE them! If there is no tag and no hole, reuse them until they break apart. At least use them for your garbage. In Cyprus you shouldn’t flush Toilet Paper, so yes you might need TP Trash bags anyway. I am always reusing big plastic bags of Oats/Rice/Chips, etc and also Toiletpaper plastic bag for any trash I am creating.
And if you refuse more and more packaging you are creating less trash and you just need smaller and less trash bags anyway.

Other

You will find Olive Oil and Vinegar in Glass Bottles, just take a look around.
I found Oats in paperpackaging  in the Supermarket Lidl.
Pasta and Rice is available in carton boxes (mostly with a tiny unneccessary plastic window) too.

You will also find eco Dishwashing Liquid, Laundry Detergent, soap Bars, natural toothpaste, etc. in big well sorted Supermarkets, or smaller Eco/Organic Shops.

Green Shop or Panda Store in Larnaca are great for all kind of Eco Products.
Alpha Mega also offers Eco Laundry Detergent in a Carton box.

Second Hand Clothing:
This wasn’t an easy task because I could not find any adresses and informations easily, but I luckily found 1 big second hand shop in Larnaca called “Big Garage”. It is located in a backyard and it is actually a big garage 😀 They have a lot of stuff and is located close to a new parking spot at Kostaki Pandelidi Street.
And I also found a small thrift store across the street from Agioa Lazaros (Church) at Faneromenis Avenue.

Drinking Water:

Tap water in Cyprus is used by some locals for drinking straight from the tap. The people we asked did recommend to us to use a  filter or refill from refill stations.
We did use the tap water to make coffee and tea and for cooking.
If you live in Cyprus a water filter* will do the trick so you can drink straight from tap. If you are traveling a bit, you should concider getting a filter bottle to reduce your plastic travel footprint.
 
In the beginning we stayed in places with no water filter jugs and we refilled 10 and 15L container at refill stations. You will find them mostly everywhere but we did not see any in the Area around Akamas. If you refill the big container you can reduce your plastic bottle trash big times! And even save money, because the refill did not cost much.

 

Recycling in Cyprus

Recycling is available in Cyprus.

We experienced that in some neighborhoods they had recycling bags in other they had recycling bins. Not one bin for each household but one for the whole street. And sometimes the recycling bin is not close by, but you actually need to walk or drive to it! So not very convenient to recycle, and that might be the reason why some people might just not participate that much…(?)

Airbnb hosts mostly don’t care, or maybe don’t think about this, so mostly there are no Informations about trash bins around. So take a look around when you are strolling the streets or driving around. Collect your recyclables (paper, glass, plastic(not all of it is allowed in the plastic bin, but still alot)) and bring it to the recycling once a week or every other week. In some Neighborhoods they started to have Municipal Compost bins too.

Plastic Recycling Bag/Blue Bin in Cyprus allowes these Items (Jan.2021):
Plastic Bottles, flasks, and clean plastic bags:
Water and milk bottles – lemonade juice bottles – cleaning and maintenance products – hand washing products – bath and shower products – yoghurt, ice cream, butter, margarine – other plastic packaging with PP marking – Clean plastic bags

Metal Packaging:
drink and food cans, metal boxes and tubes, spray cans of food products and cosmetics, aluminium trays, metal lids and caps.

Drink Cartons (Tetra Packs):
Juice, milk, wine, etc.

E-Waste/Electronics:
We had a really hard time finding a place where we could drop off our old electronic hair trimmer in Larnaca…
I researched online and everywhere was written that there are recycling bins for electronics in front of the main retailstores… but we couldn’t find any.
We asked at stores selling electronics, but no and they didn’t know about any places either.

This sucked. Shouldn’t all electronic stores in the EU take E-Waste for recycling or maybe just know where to drop off old electronic devices to get recycled????

Finally at the third or fourth store, another customer (the staff did not know anything) told us to drive to a Kleima Store, because they take electronic devices for recycling. So we did, and finally got rid of our broken hair cutter. Thank You Kleima!

Read more about why it is so important to recycle E-Waste here.

Recycling Bins in Larnaca-Finikoudes Beach

I hope you found some inpirations and helpful informations to live low waste and plant based in Cyprus.

Feel free to share all kind of other shops and restaurants in the Comments below and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

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