It’s amazing how much packaging it takes to ship something. Even something as simple as a book takes a box, shrink-wrap and something to fill the empty space between the box and the book – typically bubbles, foam peanuts or shredded paper. Where does all this packaging go once you’ve received your item? In the garbage, of course. And we haven’t mentioned the packaging of food and items in your grocery. Here are five ways to cut down on packaging and save resources.
#1 Buy in bulk. Whether you’re buying books online or cereal at your grocery, when you buy in bulk you cut down on packaging. Think about it – if you buy one book at a time online then you’re going to receive a box for each book and all the packaging that goes along with shipping that item. When you buy a regular box of cereal, you consume it and toss the box. However if you buy a bulk box of cereal it may last as long as three regular boxes of cereal, you get more cereal and less packaging.
#2 Buy from retailers who package using reusable or recyclable materials. And when you’re shopping, use reusable or recyclable containers. This trend is really catching on. Stand in any grocery store line and you’ll see people shopping with reusable shopping bags – that’s an example of cutting down on packaging because you’re not taking dozens of plastic shopping bags home.
Additionally, some retailers who manufacture and distribute processed foods are beginning to package them in reusable and/or easily recyclable containers to minimize landfill waste.
#3 Don’t buy prepackaged foods. Juice boxes, for example, are incredibly useful; however, a large bottle of juice is a more sustainable practice and you can just as easily pour a serving into an aluminum water bottle for your children to enjoy. You throw away less waste.
#4 Buy used. Used products rarely come packaged. You just pick them up as is from the store. No packaging, no waste.
#5 Barter and/or trade items rather than shopping. Bartering and trading for products is a great way to save money and conserve resources. Many people are forming book swap groups to save money and materials by simply sharing books. And some people are banning together to share clothing and other items.
Packaging does more than fill landfills; it costs money and resources to produce. When you take a few simple steps to cut down on packaging you’re having a significant effect on your environment. You’re making it a better place to live for you and for future generations.