If you have to buy something, choose products packaged minimally using post-consumer waste, and made of recyclable materials.
Packaging is everywhere: cucumbers in cling wrap, water in plastic, cereal in cardboard and plastic, beetroots in steel cans. We’re told it’s cleaner, safer and less time consuming like this, but Earth is paying the price for our convenience.
It didn’t used to be like this; once upon a time things came as they were. Now, Australians put 1.9 million tonnes of packaging in the bin every year. That packaging takes a lot of energy, water, oil and other resources to produce, and, at the end of its lifecycle, it pollutes our waterways and chokes our wildlife. So, what can you do about it?
Buy what you need, not everything what you want
Before you hit the shops next time – be it the grocery store or the mall – think about what you really need and will actually use (rather than rotting at the back of your fridge). An easy way to reduce waste from packaging is to simply reduce how much you buy.
Re-use, re-use, re-use!
Head to your local health store, food co-op or market with reusable bags and containers to refill. You can do this with fresh produce, bulk foods (cereals, flour, sugar, etc), laundry detergent, and more. You’ll not only reduce your packaging, you’ll most likely also save money by buying in bulk.
Swap, give/accept and buy/sell second-hand
There are heaps of swap groups (e.g. HO*BARTER), op shops, tip shops, community exchange programs (e.g. CENTS), and online 2nd hand marketplaces (e.g. Gumtree), where you can get 2nd hand stuff free of packaging, and offload stuff that others want too.
- Check out the inspiring story of Tassie family the Carters, and the popular Facebook group they set up, Zero Waste Tasmania.
- American, Lauren Singer, has been living waste free for years now and has lots of practical tips on her blog Trash is for Tossers. Below is a playlist of 6 short videos with practical tips on Zero Waste Shopping...