Challengicious Monday: Reduce Packaging

>> Monday, March 1, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next trash-related challenge:

Reduce Packaging

To complete this challenge, you can...

  • Buy concentrated products. The main ingredient in many products is water. Choose concentrated products and add your own water. You'll save packaging and money.
  • Buy products in bulk. Choose the largest size you can whenever you can.
  • Eat fresh foods. Choose fresh over canned or frozen when possible, stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store, and get to know your farmer's market.
  • Limit individually packaged foods. I think this one's self-explanatory.
  • Buy from the bulk bins. Check your local health and natural foods stores for a bulk bin section, where you can bring your own containers to buy as much or as little as you need.
  • Choose used over new. Buying used not only means no packaging, but it can give many products one more life before they head to the landfill.
As always, my perspective of the difficulty level of these steps may be different from yours. It was pretty easy for me to stop buying cheese sticks - much harder for me to work up the courage to use my own bags at the bulk bins. You might love thrift stores but have no idea how to cook a carrot. Work at your own level and to fit your own circumstances.

For more information about reducing packaging, check out:

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays.

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The Raven March 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

You have a knack for cristallizing whatever I've been mulling about casually as I try to imagine my next personal month-long challenge. I think this may be exactly it for April. Thanks.

Wonder-ful March 1, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

We've been slowly working on this, eliminating our individually packaged frozen meals and switching to concentrated or homemade cleaners when the old ones run out (the shelf above the washer never looked so... organized!)

We're pretty stocked up on necessities, so while we use those up I'm looking for things with less packaging to get once we run out.

Brenda Pike March 1, 2010 at 2:31 PM  

What do you use for containers at the bulk bins? You mentioned once before that you were going to use reusable drawstring produce bags, but at my store, at least, they don't let you use anything that's not clear—they want to actually be able to see what you're getting. Do you have that problem?

Erin aka Conscious Shopper March 1, 2010 at 10:26 PM  

@The Raven - Thanks! What are you doing for March?

@Wonder-ful - This is definitely one that takes time. Packaging is everywhere!

@Brenda - My bags are sheer, but I do have to say that the first time I asked about using my own bags, they told me I couldn't. It was just because that particular store employee didn't know. I've never had any trouble since then. Could you use glass jars? Some stores let you weigh them before filling them and then deduct the weight from the price.

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