If you survey the aisles in a grocery store, you’ll notice the mass amounts of plastic, paper, metal, and glass that are used to package food. On an individual level it seems much less drastic, but the reality is that about 78,000 tons of packaging is thrown away every year in the US, and less than half is recycled. Luckily, there are several ways to reduce food packaging waste that are easy to do.
Don’t use plastic bags. Bring your own reusable grocery bags. Five trillion plastic bags are made each year. Of these bags, one billion are thrown away, and only 1% are recycled.
- Buy in bulk, and buy bigger family sizes. This way, you won’t have to shop as often as well.
- Make your own food from scratch, like bread, peanut butter, and ketchup. Kidshealth.org features many simple recipes like these that are kid friendly, too!
- Bring your own lunch to school or work. This will save you money, and when you use reusable containers and cutlery it doesn’t produce the packaging waste of a bought lunch.
- Buy products packaged in all recyclable materials – no Styrofoam or plastic wrap!
- Try to buy versions of the same food that use less waste, like ice cream cones instead of individually wrapped dishes.
- Look for products that combine two essentials into one container, like detergent and bleach or shampoo and conditioner.
- Buy less. Of course this is easier said than done, but do you really need six different kinds of cereal? Probably not.
- How-To: Go Green in the Kitchen Without Spending Money (casasugar.com)
- What’s so bad about plastic bags? (sneakpeeq.com)