8 Simple Ways to Reduce Garbage When Shopping

There is so much packaging waste from the products we buy, so it's important that consumers take charge. Here are 8 "zero waste" ideas so you can reduce garbage when shopping and keep it out of landfills!

Most of us are always looking for ways to reduce trash, and it starts with the items we buy at the market. Because there is a lot of packaging waste from the products we buy, it’s important that consumers take charge. Here are 8 easy ideas for “zero waste” so you can reduce garbage when shopping. Every little bit helps!

8 Simple Ways to Reduce Garbage When Shopping

  1. Bring reusable bags. This one is of the easiest ways to reduce trash, but if you’re like many, you may forget to put the bags back in the car. No bag left behind! So once you’re done unloading groceries, be sure to place the bags back into the car. Use these bags on all shopping trips–not just the grocery store.
  2. Skip produce bags. Do your bananas or avocados really need to be placed in a plastic bag? If you’re buying fruit that can be easily bruised, use a mesh bag that you can use over and over again. Or bring back old produce bags and reuse them.
  3. Think bulk. Ever consider the amount of packaging that some of the products you buy come in? And then the waste? Ever buy tomatoes that come in those hard plastic boxes? Sure, they keep the produce safe but in most cases, the plastic used for these containers is not recyclable. Instead, why not buy fresh from the farm and bring your own bag? Buying local eggs and use your cartons over again is another great way to reduce garbage when shopping. Shop at the bakery and bring a cloth bag or a reusable bag for your bread. Some newer grocery stores are offering more bulk products and spices—bring your own jars and containers and fill them up.  Many pet stores offer cat litter in bulk so you can bring the jugs back and reuse.
  4. Before you buy, ask yourself—do you really need it? Sometimes the idea of buying something at a great price isn’t such a great deal for the earth or the growing amount of trash we produce.
  5. Don’t buy single-serving items, which require more packaging per unit. Overpackaged offenders include frozen foods and lunch and snack items. Instead, repackage them yourself in containers or baggies you can reuse.
  6. Avoid disposable goods, including razors, lighters, and plastic plates. Use the real stuff including rechargeable batteries.
  7. Look for multipurpose cleaners instead of buying one for each kind of surface. Or learn how to make your own cleaning items rather than buying them. We have a lot of great ideas here!
  8. REFUSE. Refuse to buy items that are over-packaged, or use that horribly earth un-friendly product, Styrofoam. Every little bit helps.

BONUS: Speak up! Drop a note or email to a company letting them know their packaging standards are unacceptable.

Do you have any tips that help make shopping less trashy? Do share your tips and ideas here.

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This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Do you have a question or an idea for an article? Contact us!

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