Reduce Your Waste By Using Less Plastic Food Packaging

By Jaclyn Hurley

We hear constantly from environmental advocates about the amount of waste produced by modern society, and about the negative effects that waste has on the environment. Most people want to make a difference, but it is easy to feel as though that is impossible. With modern conveniences like plastic food packaging and bottled water, we often create waste without even thinking about it.

These days, creating waste is as simple as purchasing something from a restaurant or a grocery store. In some ways, it is more difficult to avoid participating than it is to participate. That doesn't mean, however, that you cannot make a difference. You may need to be more mindful, and spend some extra time, but you can definitely find ways to ensure that you and your family create less waste.

Here are a few tips for re-using things and reducing the amount of plastic you consume. This will, in turn, reduce the amount of trash that you produce.

Use your containers more than once. If you order food to be delivered or purchase anything from a deli, you will inevitably be given plastic containers. The only way to completely avoid them would be to not buy prepared foods at all. Even if you can't avoid them altogether, however, you can make sure that you use them more than once instead of throwing them away immediately. They can be used to store food, so you don't have to buy the nags, foil, and Tupperware you might otherwise use for that purpose.

Re-use plastic bags. This goes for both grocery bags and storage/ sandwich bags, like Ziplocs. The grocery bags can be used as trash bags for smaller garbage cans. Surprisingly, they also make great shower caps! Storage bags can be washed out and re-used for their original purpose. Unless they were used for raw meat or something else that could be dangerous, there is not need to throw them away after one use.

Do not buy snack foods that are packaged individually. They create more trash, and they also cost more money. You can buy things in bulk instead, and then divide them on your own. Buy a full sized package of tissues, for instance, and put them in sandwich bags you have saved, so that you can carry them in a purse or pocket. The same goes for chips, crackers, and other snacks.

Another good thing to avoid is purchasing a lot of individually sized sodas and bottled water. This is one of the hardest habits to break. One way to reduce this waste a little bit is to save the bottles you have. Next time you leave the house, take water or soda or tea with you in a bottle you are re-using. Then you will be less likely to purchase a new one.

Make sure you recycle! Realistically, we are all going to create waste. Regardless of how many times you re-use a container, you will eventually have to throw it away. You can't save everything forever. When that time does arrive, try to recycle things rather than putting them in the trash. That way you aren't contributing more to a landfill.

No one person or one family can completely end the problem of excess trash we as a society produce. However, the more people who commit to making a change, the more likely it is that the change will have results. At the very least, you will save a few dollars and feel better about your own habits.

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