Search results for 'plastic bags'

Pea Pods vs. Plastic Packaging

23 May

In an ideal world we would have no packaging on food. We would eat right off the tree all year around and our earth would smile back at our perfectly environmental lifestyles. The reality is that we cannot completely escape food packaging. Although, one important thing to note when trying to cut back on food packaging is the benefits food packaging can have on our solid waste footprints. Often we try to live as green as possible with very good intentions. Although despite our good intentions sometimes there are other means of waste reduction when it comes to food packaging rather than just cutting out the packaging itself.

In underdeveloped countries often food packaging is incredibly limited or nonexistent altogether. It is also in these countries that food losses of 30-50 percent often occur. In the United States, where food packaging fills the grocery store shelves food losses are less than 3 percent.

Food packaging can decrease solid waste generation. Packaging protects our food from bacteria, oxygen, light and disease that can come form insects and other small creatures getting into food before it ends up on your dinner table.

Food packaging can reduce waste. For example, a pod of fresh peas is 62 percent inedible. In order to get a pound of fresh peas, about 2.6 pounds of peas and pods would have to be purchased, resulting in 1.6 pounds of discarded pods. However, buying 1 pound of frozen peas leaves the customer with only a 1-ounce plastic pouch to dispose of. The pods of the frozen peas remain at the food processor where they are turned into recyclable by-products such as animal feed. In New York City alone, consuming packaged vegetables annually eliminates the need to dispose of over 100,000 tons of fresh produce waste.

The U.s Chamber of Commerce developed an estimate:

On average, every pound of paper packaging eliminates 1.4 pounds of food waste. Plastic is even more efficient. One pound of plastic packaging reduces food wastes by 1.7 pounds.

Although food packaging can reduce solid waste that does not mean we are off the hook when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. Aluminum cans can be recycled an unlimited amount of times without their physical properties degrading. More than 60 percent of aluminum cans are recyclable so put in the extra effort to do so!

We can be encouraged that a lot of food manufacturers are trying to eliminate the size and weight of packaging and to use recyclable materials for packaging.

Aluminum cans are about 25 percent lighter than when first introduced.

Here are some simple ways you can reduce your food waste as well as reduce food packaging:

1. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables instead of that in cans, frozen boxes and bags.

2. Buy in bulk, using your own containers from home

3. Buy big boxes of cereal instead of individually packaged cereals.

4. Refrain from buying individual “snack-sized” boxes

5. Buy a large tub of yogurt instead of individual servings

6. Make your own popsicles using reusable molds.

Do you have any of your own tips to reduce food packaging? Share them with us!

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Plastic’s Days are Numbered

15 Feb

Looking back to our posts focused on disposables of the past we’ve covered event planning, plastic bottles, foam poison and introduced you to Janna who didn’t buy anything made in China for a year…

Today we are writing about the #s 1-7 which label every recyclable plastic and represents the chemical resin it is made from – these plastics are not intended to be single-use disposables but the numbers are often misunderstood and tossed in the garbage instead of sent to a recycling depot…

Sometimes it seems like modern America is one colossal plastic palace. The versatile material is in our cars, toys, packaging, clothing, home goods, food utensils, medical devices and so much more. It is also littering our streets, clogging our waterways and choking marine life. Many plastics can be readily recycled, but how do consumers make sense of all the different types and rules? (The Daily Green)

#1 Plastics PET or PETE (soft drinks, water bottles, mouthwash, etc)
Recycling:Picked up through most curbside recycling programs.

#2 Plastics  HDPE (milk jugs, household cleaners, shampoo bottles, etc)
Recycling:Picked up through most curbside recycling programs, although some allow only those containers with necks.

#3 Plastics  V (Vinyl) or PVC (detergent bottles, cooking oils, clear food packaging, etc)
Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.

#4 Plastics  LDPE (squeezable bottles, bread, frozen food, shopping bags, carpet, etc)
Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.

#5 Plastics  PP-polypropylene (yogurt containers, syrup/ketchup bottles, straws, caps, etc)
Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

#6 Plastics  PS-polystyrene (disposable plates/cups, meat trays, egg cartons, take-away containers, etc)
Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.

#7 Plastics  Miscellaneous (3-5 gallon water bottles, sunglasses, DVDs, ipod cases, nylon, etc)
Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programs now take them.

For more info visit the Daily Green or Green Guide for helpful tips on managing your plastic use…

Now that you know a little more about your plastics, stay away from #s  3, 4, 6, & 7  which are more difficult to recycle or stay away from plastic entirely and stick with glass!

Plastic Free?

25 May

To close up our May focus on packaging we wanted to share a couple more stories with you… We hope these examples inspire you to lessen your dependence on single-use, plastic-packaged products too!

We came across this silly music video from a ‘Rethinking Plastics’ campaign by Green Sangha.

Silly it may be – but with all the messages in our day that tell us to value convenience, perhaps we need more of these types of songs stuck in our heads!  Check out their campaign to read more about the real costs of single-use plastic bags:

Consequences of Convenience

We’re addicted to plastic, especially plastic bags.
If you are like 95% of US shoppers, whenever you purchase anything, it ends up in a plastic bag.  In the grocery store, most of us put our vegetables and fruits as well as bulk items into single-use plastic produce bags, and all those bags end up in a single-use plastic check-out bag.

Shoppers worldwide are using 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags per year.
This translates to about a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth.  And the number is rising.

Those numbers are overwhelming – it may even seem like we shouldn’t bother trying to make changes on an individual level since the scale of plastic waste is so grand.  But meet Beth Terry – a resident from Oakland CA who has committed not to buy new plastic.

Do you think it’s possible to live life without plastic? Or to at least live with less of it?  Check out this list of plastic-free alternatives and see for yourself.

My name is Beth Terry, and I don’t buy new plastic. What does that mean? It means refusing foods in single-use packaging; finding plastic-free personal care products; looking for secondhand electronics and other durable products rather than buying new, or repairing the things I already have. And it means not eating food from plastic containers because of the toxic chemicals that can leach from them.

“Know that we have choices, that our personal actions do matter, we can all refuse single-use plastics…  We have the power to change the menu that’s been offered to us and we have the power to change the world.”

Keep It Fresh

8 Aug

In our daily food consumption habits the majority of us are accustomed to keeping our food fresh through refrigeration.  And many of us in Canada and the US have large refrigerators to do just that.  However, considering how much energy it takes to run a fridge, are there other ways to keep food fresh?  We came across an article from Treehugger titled, “Saving Food From The Fridge: It Will Taste Better, May Even Last Longer And Reduce Your Energy Bills” and it had a few helpful tips for those of us thinking about reducing our fridge use…

© Jihyun Ryou

Fridges are a recent invention; for thousands of years, people lived without them, but had many low-tech ways of making food last. Today most fridges are filled with stuff that would last just as long and probably would taste a lot better if it was never lost in the back of the fridge. They are expensive air conditioned parking lots for what Shay Salomon called “compost and condiments.”

© Jihyun Ryou Keeping roots in a vertical position allows the organism to save energy and remain fresh for a longer time. This shelf gives a place for them to stand easily, using sand. At the same time, sand helps to keep the proper humidity.

Korean designer Jihyun Ryou, has developed a series of modern designs that rely on traditional techniques, learned from her grandmother and other elderly people in the community, the ” traditional oral knowledge which has been accumulated from experience and transmitted by mouth to mouth.”

Here is an interesting and complicated example. Many fruits give off ethylene gas as they ripen; a lot of people put their tomatoes in paper or plastic bags to make them ripen faster. That’s why putting fruit is a fridge is so silly, the ethylene builds up inside the sealed box and the fruit goes rotten faster. But some vegetables react differently to ethylene; with potatoes and onions, it suppresses the sprouting process. Put a banana in a plastic bag with a potato and the banana will be rotten in no time, but the potato won’t sprout. Jihyun Ryou’s response: “Apples emit a lot of ethylene gas. It has the effect of speeding up the ripening process of fruits and vegetables kept together with apples. When combined with potatoes, apples prevent them from sprouting.”

© Jihyun Ryou

“The more food you can keep out of the fridge, the smaller it needs to be and the less energy it will consume. The designs described above show a refreshing way to do that, although it should be remembered that these are artworks, not consumer products. Using similar methods when storing food in a basement or a specially designed root cellar – the traditional way – will give better results.”

Smaller fridges use less energy, of course, take up less space and make good cities. Furthermore, these techniques are not relics from the past, they are templates for the future. In the hands of a talented designer, they can look beautiful, too.

Some people are designing their kitchens without refrigerators altogether (see photo below from treehugger.com) and others,  like Vanessa Farquharson, are getting rid of their fridges step by step.  What food preservation tips (new or old) do you use??  Leave us a comment!

Sayonara Saran-Wrap!

2 May

Welcome to May when our focus is on packaging.  Last year we wrote about disposable paper cups, The Clean Bin Project, a lenten plastic fast, and closed off with a great post on single-use plastic bags, a Ted Talk on the pacific garbage patch & living life without plastic… Check out May 2011‘s posts to catch up.

For today we want to encourage you to evict the plastic wrap that has been living in your kitchen drawers for far too long and welcome in some handy alternatives!

Why make the switch??   Yes plastic wrap (Saran, Ezeewrap) can be convenient to wrap up odd sized food items for storage, or to cover a dish missing its lid.  But plastic wrap  is rarely reused and is very difficult to recycle.

Plus – to make plastic so thin and pliable plasticizers are used which can leach harmful chemicals into  hot or fatty foods.  These chemicals are said only to be harmful when we’re exposed in large amounts, however we must consider the compound effect of how many times we’re exposed to harmful chemicals every day and how many toxic items we add to our landfills which in turn can pollute our soil, air and water…

It is true that both Glade and Saran make a PVC-free plastic wrap but it’s still a single-use plastic product.  Tin foil is considered a better alternative since most municipalities will accept it in their recycling.  Although it is incredibly resource-intensive to mine and refine putting it no further ahead than plastic wrap in terms of environmental impact.

So aside from the obvious solution of using reusable containers, here are a couple of reusable ‘wraps’ if you are still in desperate and immediate need to wrap something….

  1. Reusable storage container covers made from laminate cloth.  Apartment Therapy includes photos and a very handy DIY guide for making your own.  Check out these beauties:
  2. Abeego Flat Wraps – beeswax infused hemp cloths. Watch the video to learn how to use these genius things:

These wraps are especially awesome because Abeego is totally plastic free!  Their packaging includes: Glassine paper, labels printed with soy based ink.  Here’s a little blurb from their product:

Abeego products are inspired by nature and believe natural materials are ideal for keeping real food fresh. The blend of pure ingredients, known for their preservative properties is the essence of Abeego. Abeego crafts natural and original food storage, used multiple times and in many ways that you can feel good about whole-heartedly.
Abeego was created in 2008 as an alternative to plastic film for food storage. Plastic film has only existed for fifty odd years. The human race has been storing food for ages.
Roll or fold Abeego and keep it with your other food packaging or your linen drawer. Or layer between cutting boards to store flat.

Their website shows you how to use them, care for them and they even send you a stack of “Abeego Bits” which can be used as a replacement for tape when you order them.

Any other ideas on plastic wrap alternatives??  Leave us a comment!

Easy Alternatives to Everyday Disposables

23 Feb

Seeing as today (Ash Wednesday) is the first day of lent and people all over the world are fasting from their own vices, we thought it would be appropriate to bring up another ‘bad habit’ to change…  Here is a list of common single-use items that are thrown away by the bag full and yet have fairly easy to find, long-lasting alternatives (taken from the good human):
Instead of…

  • Single use ballpoint pens, buy refillable pens.
  • Disposable razors and/or razor cartridges, try a straight razor…or just stop shaving your face.
  • A paper coffee cup, get yourself a reusable coffee mug or thermos.
  • Regular batteries, buy rechargeable ones and a charger.
  • Buying bottled water, get your own reusable bottle and never pay for plastic bottles again.
  • Disposable diapers, look into using unbleached cloth ones.
  • Using plastic wrap at home, get yourself some resealable glass containers.
  • Plastic straws, get your own glass one at GlassDharma.
  • Single-use sponges, buy some washable sponges – they are washing machine friendly.
  • Virgin plastic garbage bags, find ones made from recycled plastic.
  • Plastic utensils on a picnic, bring your metal ones from home.
  • Paper towels, buy some dish rags and keep them handy in a drawer.
  • Tissues, try out a handkerchief!
  • Paper or plastic, bring your own bag when you go shopping.
  • Using the produce bags, just put the produce in your cart. You’re gonna wash it before you eat it anyway!
  • Using plastic bags for bulk purchases, bring your own reusable container. The store will weigh it for you to get the tare weight (the weight of the empty container) before you use it.
  • Using paper coffee filters that get thrown away, get yourself a gold filter that you can wash each day.

Could you make a switch (or 2 or 7?) and shrink the number of garbage bags you put out every month?  If you haven’t already adopted a fast or challenge for this lent season, consider a fast from single-use products…

Forest Conscious

1 Jun

Welcome June!  This month we will be focusing on relating to nature through enjoying the outdoors, gardening and conservation.  We’d like to kick it off by highlighting World Environment Day coming this Sunday June 5th!

World Environment Day (WED) is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. WED activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.

WED is a day for people from all walks of life to come together to ensure a cleaner, greener and brighter outlook for themselves and future generations.

Everyone counts in this initiative and WED relies on you to make this happen! We call for action – organize a neighborhood clean-up, stop using plastic bags and get your community to do the same, plant a tree or better yet organize a collective tree planting effort, walk to work, start a recycling drive . . . the possibilities are endless. Check out the WED pack for interesting suggestions on what you could do

Here is a list of potential activities you could get involved with in your own communities! 

Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference.”  –UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

2011’s theme for World Environment Day is “Forests: Nature at Your Service

 

Forest Facts

Saving forests requires a change in lifestyle

If you ever wondered how it would be possible for you to save an entire forest then look no further than making simple lifestyle changes. Forests play multiple roles in our lives, including providing a source of livelihood, refuge for many species, and clean air for all.

As a result of the growing global pollution levels forests have often come to be referred to as the ‘lungs of the earth’. This is particularly because deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which forests would absorb if carefully managed.

Broadly, there are three main sources of forest degradation: commercial logging, fires, and gathering wood for fuel. Insects and pests also cause considerable forest degradation.

Difference between deforestation and degradation

Deforestation is the reduction of forest cover, notably viewed by the loss of trees. Commercial logging and fires are examples of causes of deforestation. It is however possible to use forests in a properly managed way that maintains their existence. There is therefore no deforestation if there is a guarantee of continuity in maintaining the forest cover.

Degradation refers to the loss of quality of the forests, rather than coverage. The quality of a forest can be observed through monitoring the survival rates of its ecosystem, for example vegetation layers, soil, flora and fauna. Some of the causes of forest degradation are the gathering of wood for fuel, and insects and pests.

Benefits of forests

As a resource, forests provide many important natural resources, such as timber, fuel, rubber, paper and medicinal plants. Forests also help sustain the quality and availability of freshwater supplies. More than three quarters of the world’s accessible freshwater comes from forested catchments. Water quality declines with decreases in forest condition and cover, and natural hazards such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion have larger impacts

Climate change Mitigation
It’s well known that forests play a key role in our battle against climate change; storing carbon and sucking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locking it into their biomass.

Products / Benefits (water)
But what’s less well known is that the products and services they provide are essential to every aspect of life. By regulating water for many of the world’s rivers, they help secure water quality, and supply nearly half of the world’s largest cities from Caracas to New York.   They also help decrease the impacts of storms and floods, whilst helping control erosion.

Biodiversity
As the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, forests are home to more than half of terrestrial species, from the great apes to the smallest of creatures.

Economics and Livelihoods
They also provide homes, security and livelihoods for 60 million Indigenous peoples, whilst contributing to the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide.

Products & Biodiversity
The impact of forests reaches even further. In many developing countries more than 80% of total energy consumed by people and industry derives from forests. Such as fuel wood and charcoal. Trade in timber and other forest products, is estimated at almost 330 billion US Dollars /year. Its value multiplies as its processed into a myriad of products used globally every day. Use of the genetic diversity within forests enables the development of new medicines; progress in healthcare and science.

The numbers

Forests cover 31% of total land area while at the same time supporting 80% of terrestrial biodiversity that live in them. Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in these forests, making them crucial to sustaining ecosystems. Not only animals live in the forests, as they also provide a home to more than 300 million people worldwide.

World Environment Day and forests

Beyond supporting the natural habitat, forests sustain economic growth. In 2004 trade in forest products was estimated at $327 billion. Continued and uncontrolled deforestation therefore not only has devastating consequences for the environment, the wildlife and communities, but for economies around the world.

Rather shockingly, 36 million acres of natural forest are lost each year. World Environment Day (WED) chose this year’s theme, ‘Forests: Nature at Your Service’, to encourage forest conservation and sustainable consumption for green growth, and in support of the UN International Year of Forests initiative. Preserving forests throughout the world has to be in our collective consciousness so as to change our lifestyles.

What are we doing?

In September 2008, United Nations launched a collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in developing countries.

The UN-REDD Programme assists developing countries prepare and implement national REDD+ strategies, and builds on the convening power and expertise of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Programme currently has 29 partner countries spanning Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. REDD+ is seen as one of the most cost-effective ways of stabilizing the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid a temperature rise of two degrees Celsius.

But standing forests also conserve carbon while supporting the livelihoods of a large number of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities as well providing essential ecosystem services such as habitat for biodiversity and provisioning clean water supplies.

What can you do?

A quick and easy way to get involved is to make others aware of the forests issues by sharing this website, organizing an event, or participating in this years WED celebrations.

Governments should develop and implement policies that encourage sustainable use of forests. They should consider cordoning off areas inhabited by endangered species and promote forest restoration where they have been depleted.

Private companies have an opportunity to invest wisely into the new Green Economy whilst developing a socially responsible status with its consumers. They can develop procurement processes that buy only into sustainably managed forests, such as products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Be the first in your organization to shift your company policies towards green growth!

Civil society can play a significant role by independently monitoring all parties involved, raising awareness on forests and supporting grassroots initiatives.

Like private companies, individuals can make wise premeditated choices over what products they will buy and only purchasing forest products that originate from sustainable sources. This means checking that furniture, wood, paper and other products you buy are verified as coming from legal sources. A quick and easy way to do this is checking for an FSC certification logo.

Most importantly, taking action on forests requires an ongoing commitment to changing lifestyle and therefore is not a one-off action. Your new lifestyle demands that you are forest-conscious in all your choices, consumption and actions.

Do One More Thing

10 May

Hello No Waste Wednesday-ers!  Many exciting things are happening this month…
If you’re in the Saskatoon area please join us for our Reconsider Reusing event at Caffe Sola between 7am-6pm on Wednesday May 11th.
And for everyone – enter to win the TRAVEL MUG CONTEST by sending us a picture of you with your favourite travel mug.  You could win a bag of coffee from Ten Thousand Villages mailed right to your door.

Email nowastewednesdays@gmail.com with your photo by May 31 2011.

For today – we wanted to explore some more information in regards to packaging, specifically food packaging.  It seems rare to be able to go grocery shopping today without accumulating plastic wrap, foam containers, tetra packs, plastic bags, etc.  And in Canada and the U.S., having a fast food restaurant and coffee shop within a 5 minute drive in every urban center, adds to the convenience of buying pre-packaged, prepared foods.  Since food and drink is so readily accessible at all times, us urbanites sometimes forget that we can make our lunches and lattes at home.

Hot drinks are an especially big problem because of their popularity and availability.  Most convenience stores, grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bus stations, etc… will sell you a coffee to go.  And the large majority of customers do not remember to lug their travel mugs with them thus creating mile high piles of disposable cups in trash bins and landfills.

It is alarming how many disposable cups are thrown away every day!

Considering how big the coffee industry has become, it’s difficult to determine just how many disposable coffee cups get used annually.  According to the paper industry, Americans consumed an estimated 23 billion paper coffee cups in 2010. 
The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year -Each person!
Read more at sustainabilityissexy and Clean Air Council.

However – this is not intended to be a gloomy message – many, many positive changes are happening.
Check out this initiative from a group of people in British Columbia who pledged to buy nothing and waste nothing for 1 year.  They’ve gone way beyond using travel mugs, to change their entire consumption pattern.  It’s called the Clean Bin Project and functions off of this bottom line: by bringing less stuff into our house, we’ll have less stuff going out of our house and into the landfill.

“The number one thing is to do one more thing.  Let’s choose one more thing that isn’t sustainable and change it to sustainable, and then just don’t stop.”

A little note worth sharing…

15 Mar

This little story came to us the other day and we thought we’d share it with all of you…

“In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back her day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks. But she’s right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right, they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled pens with ink, instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But that old lady is right. They didn’t have the green thing back in her day.”

“…it’s just so last century”

29 May

For the last Wednesday in May we were inspired to share about a grocery store in London, UK that offers only reusable packaging!  It’s called Unpackaged and began as a London market stall in 2006.

unpackaged veggiesUnpackaged is a unique and brilliant concept that is so simple it hurts, especially considering the sheer amount of packaging waste that is ridiculously filling our planet’s landfill sites. Within the beautifully designed shop, organic whole foods, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, even refillable oils, vinegars and wines are all available to place straight into your own containers, that you will have brought along with you … if you haven’t then reusable bags are available.” (weheart.com)

Unpackaged’s philosophy is really quite inspiring.  We’ve found many locally owned grocery stores are almost packaging-free but still use bulk bin plastic bags, disposable containers, single-use wrapping, etc.  Unpackaged has banned all packaging whatsoever!  In their own words..

The Problem with Packaging

Whilst some packaging is necessary in our modern industrialised food chain, unnecessary packaging is a waste:

Cost: It increases the price of the goods you buy. You are charged twice – first when you buy overpackaged products and then through council tax for disposing of your rubbish.

Waste: It wastes resources at every level: production, storage, transport and disposal.

Pollution: Landfill and incineration are the two main ways of dealing with un-recyclable packaging waste. These are major pollutants for people and the environment as they release greenhouse gases.

What about recycling? While some packaging is recycled, most ends up in landfill sites and some packaging is difficult and impossible to recycle. Recycling is certainly part of the solution, but it will only work if we use less packaging and adopt more ‘reusable’ ways of doing things – Unpackaged is based on this ethos.

Remember:

Reduce by only buying what you need
Reuse by bringing your containers for a refill
Recycle what you can’t reuse

And… if you can’t reuse or recycle it then don’t buy it!

unpackaged bulk bins

“It’s hard to visit a landfill site without being struck by the craziness of taking very valuable minerals and resources out of the ground, using a lot of energy, turning them into short life products and then just dumping them back into the ground. It’s an absolutely monumental waste of energy and resources. As someone from the fashion industry might say, its just so last century.” (Michael Pawlyn, The Guardian, November 21 2005)