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5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Food Packaging

August 29th, 2014
Center for Food Safety

Food packaging is unavoidable, but all that excess material is terrible for the environment. It’s simple to reduce your packaging with a few basic steps.

It’s easy to start with your grocery shopping. Look for items with as little packaging as possible, bring your own bags, and shop at the farmer’s market when you can.

Here are 5 easy ways to reduce your food packaging at the supermarket:

  1. Avoid individually wrapped “snack-sized” items
Single serving items create a huge amount of unnecessary packaging. Buy products in a larger-sized package to reduce waste. If you like buying “snack sized” products to limit your portions, divvy up the food yourself in small reusable containers at home.
  2. Buy from the bulk section using your own containers
Buying in bulk is not just better for the environment, it also helps reduce food waste and cost as it allows you to buy only what you need. Health food stores and co-ops are more likely to have extensive bulk sections, but many supermarkets have bulk as well. Use glass jars and bottles for liquid items such as honey, syrup, oils, and vinegars, and bring your own cotton or reused bags. Remember to weigh your empty container first so you are only changed for the weight of the food you put in it.
  3. Bring your own bags for produce and bulk goods
It’s a common sight to see shoppers carrying their own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store, but most people still use plastic bags when buying produce and other goods. Make or buy your own bags for produce and bulk goods to avoid plastic.
  4. Purchase dairy in reusable glass containers
Many stores now sell dairy products in glass bottles for a small deposit. When the bottle is empty, simply return it to the store and get your deposit back!
  5. Use reusable containers for beverages on the go
Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.[1] Buy a reusable, stainless steel bottle for water and other cold beverages to eliminate single use containers. Bring a travel mug when going to a coffee shop - some stores even offer a discount if you bring your own cup.


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