Get naked for the environment


For day 10 of our carbon fast, we’re getting naked.

The suggestion reads “Avoid buying products that have lots of packaging. About a third of the waste we generate is from packaging. Choose loose products and buy refillable containers when possible (food co-ops and health food stores usually offer these options.)”

There are many ways to reduce excess packaging; here are some of the ideas we adopt at Chez Green:

Buy Loose

Buy loose fruit and vegetables. We use an organic farm shop and it feels great not only to support a local, independent store, but to be able to buy as little as we need in order to avoid food and packaging waste.

Recyclable packaging

Spend time looking for alternative packaging based on the recycling facilities available to you. For example, Mr Green is partial to a curry. We used to buy them in plastic oven dishes <gasp> which were non recyclable. Even if you want the ‘convenience’ option you could buy curry in a tin, which can be recycled at our kerbside or use a glass jar of curry sauce, which can be reused or recycled.

Of course the healthiest and cheapest option is to make your own from scratch.

Bags and boxes

Take your own reusable bags and boxes to the store. This way you can eliminate the need for disposable plastic carrier bags. For tips on how to remember to take yours to the store with you, see the video we put up this week.

Butchers and deli counters

Whenever we visit our local butcher or deli we take our own reusable boxes. This means we avoid all waste packaging. Our purchases are put into our own containers which can be used time and time again.

Bulk buying

Buying in bulk can reduce waste packaging. Here’s an example:

An empty 5 litre Ecover fabric conditioner bottle weighs 145 gms.
The packaging from 1 litre of fabric softener weighs 52gms.

If we were to buy 5 x 1ltr containers, they would weigh 260gms, which means we are reducing our packaging weight by 115gms when choosing the bulk option.

What other tips do you have to help reduce packaging waste?


  1. Small Footprints on March 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    One of the markets we frequent recently started wrapping produce in cling wrap. What a serious waste. So, in addition to voicing my opinion on the matter (politely, of course), I search out the produce manager and ask him if he has anything in the back which hasn’t been wrapped yet. He typically does and will let me choose the item I want. This does a couple of things … prevents unnecessary wrapping and usually means I get the fresher products (wrapping has a tendency to hide age/damage spots). When he can’t accommodate me, I don’t buy.

    Thanks for another wonderful post! 🙂

  2. Jennifer on March 20, 2011 at 5:02 am

    I’m not always able to do this, but avoiding processed food is one way to get around the packaging. I now make stovetop popcorn from bulk bin kernels rather than buying microwave bags with their cardboard box, plastic wrapper, and non-recyclable inner bag. I no longer buy single serve anything — learning how to make my own granola bars is definitely on the list! I can’t cook from scratch all the time, but I try not to buy anything that has more than one layer of packaging.

  3. Mrs Green on March 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    @Small Footprints: fantastic solution, but what a shame for the rest of the shoppers who will vote with their money and say yes to shrink wrapped 🙁

    @Jennifer: Great point; cooking from scratch reduces food packaging by a huge amount. I still get the occasional ‘convenience meal’ but nothing like the average household!