Reduce packaging waste this week!

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nothingThis week’s “Change the World Wednesday” Challenge is all about reducing waste. Now you’re talking – this is my thing!

We’ve been challenged to reduce our waste by using refills, using our own containers, returning packaging to the store and buying in bulk.

There are heaps of ways to reduce packaging waste, here are a few and I’d love you to add yours to the comments:

Ditch the plastic carrier bag

Hopefully you’re all doing this already; but if not, why not treat yourself to a reusable bag this week? Find one you can keep in your bag, briefcase, car or pocket and set yourself the goal of remembering to use it. You might like an Onya bag which folds up inside itself and comes with a caribiner clip to attach to your belt loop, handbag or key ring. Or you might like to get a recycled bag, like these made from recycled rice sacks.

Take your own container

If you use a local butcher, fish market or deli counter, take your own lidded containers with you. When y0u make a purchase as them to put your goods into your own container. This can reduce your packaging by a massive amount.

Buy in bulk

If, for example, you buy one 5 litre container of fabric conditioner, the packaging weighs much less than five 1 litre containers. You’ll have to trust me on this – I’ve bought the goods and weighed them. I don’t remember the results now, but they were pretty impressive!


Refills are not as popular now as they used to be, but they do exist. In ASDA some stores refill their own label fabric conditioner. Bio D and Ecover have refill stations around the country at health food stores and organic farm shops.

Shop naked

Buy loose goods wherever possible; sign up for a box scheme or use a farmers market. Use a company like LUSH who sell soap and shampoo bars without packaging.


When I was a child, many glass bottles has a 10p deposit on it. Alas this is no longer the case, but you can return your empties to Neals Yard and you’ll get something towards your next purchase. Elin at Nothing Nasty will accept your glass bottles for refilling and give you a huge 20% discount off your next purchase.

What about you – what do you do to reduce the amount of packaging you throw into the landfill?


  1. Peter on March 22, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Practice, and encourage reuse.

    Some packaging is inevitable, and the initial positive gains in reduction are nearing their limits.

    If you find a second use for something, it is spared the bin… and landfill.

    If it is designed for reuse and embraced, companies may even find they have a marketing tool if people buy not just for the contents but for the pack as well.

    You’d be surprised what can be done, with so much more possible:

  2. Lyndsie on March 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    This is a great post! I just started my own blog which was spurred by this topic in particular. I think it’s very important to reduce plastic waste and there seem to be a of simple things you can do about it.

    One thing that I was wondering about is the packaging for children’s toys. My boyfriend’s daughter got a lot of birthday presents and each one was plastic wrapped in plastic. I would love to find a way to reduce this plastic waste. I’d also be open to the idea of recycling it, because at least that’s better than it going in the garbage.

    I was thinking Ebay might be a good place for kid’s toys, especially if you’re buying gently used toys. Then your child could still get the benefit of the latest toy and you can feel good about the lack or reduction of plastic you’re receiving. I also heard that it’s possible to make package-less purchases on Amazon but I haven’t done any research. Does anyone know anything about this? If so, hop over to my site and leave a comment! Thanks!

    Can’t wait to read more tips on this site when I get off work. 😉

  3. Mrs Green on April 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    @Peter: thanks for your link; you have some great ideas on there; really innovative 🙂

    @Lyndsie: Welcome to the site, Lyndsie; so glad to see you have set up your own blog – good luck with that! I tend to favour second hand toys although some stores such as ELC and Amazon are doing away with the plastic component of packaging altogether which is a great move. Look for Amazon’s frustration free packaging too. Supporting charity shops is a wonderful way to buy kids toys and giving children books or vouchers means no waste too. Art supplies are well received as well and can be plastic free 🙂

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