The environmental impact of plastic food packaging waste is a growing global concern. The good news is that everyone can contribute to the solution. Here are some effective ways to reduce plastic food packaging waste.
Switch to Reusable Bags
This one’s a no-brainer that you’re probably already doing—bring reusable bags with you when you go grocery shopping. But don’t stop at the branded bags the market sells; also bring reusable mesh produce bags to contain your fresh fruits and vegetables.
Keep your reusable bags in the car to ensure you won’t forget them when you’re making a quick grocery run. As soon as you unpack your purchases at home, put the reusable bags back in your vehicle so that you’ll be ready for your next trip to the supermarket.
Opt for Glass or Paper Packaging
One of the best ways to reduce plastic food packaging waste is not to buy plastic containers in the first place. Purchase meat and seafood at the butcher counter, and bring it home wrapped in paper. Although the paper wrapper may not be recyclable because it is contaminated with food, it will be biodegradable, whereas plastic will persist for centuries in the environment.
Many food items come in glass or paper packaging, which are easier to recycle than plastic. Choose products packed in these materials whenever possible when shopping. You can also reuse glass jars and bottles as storage at home, further minimizing waste.
Choose Pouches Over Plastic Bottles or Rigid Containers
Some foods and beverages come in plastic containers because that’s the best way to keep the items fresh and uncontaminated. But food, beverages, and home products like laundry detergent packaged in pouches use significantly less plastic than those in bottles or rigid containers.
Some companies (including some Subaru auto dealers) have partnered with recycling organizations like TerraCycle to provide special recycling locations for pouches and single-use products packed in plastic, such as coffee creamers, yogurt, or coffee pods. These items weren’t recyclable until recently, as packaging companies and recyclers are currently working together to identify more sustainable packaging materials that will work on horizontal form, fill, and seal machines that create and fill the pouches.
They’re also working together to develop sophisticated recycling processes that can break down the complex mixtures of plastics, aluminum, and other materials in chip bags and candy wrappers to make more sustainable options.
Use Reusable Silicone Zipper Bags
Silicone zipper bags are a great alternative to single-use plastic sandwich and freezer bags. They are durable, washable, and safe for both the freezer and the microwave. Investing in a few of these bags can help you reduce a significant amount of plastic waste over time.
Buy Products in Refillable Containers
Some grocery stores offer products you can buy in bulk in refillable containers. Once you finish the product, you can return to the store for a refill in the same container.
Reducing plastic food packaging waste is one of many steps you can take to turn your lifestyle around and make your kitchen more sustainable. Not only will you contribute to a healthier planet, but you might also find that many of these alternatives offer better performance and value for your money. Every small change makes a difference in the fight against plastic waste.