Though it might seem like it is a large money investment at first to become a zerowaste shopper. It truly isn’t, you just need to be resourceful. To help curb the out of control plastic pollution situation, avoid purchasing any plastic containers if you do insist on buying dedicated container to begin with. I recommend using metal, paper or glass as these materials have a high recyclable rate. That also goes for any packaging you do purchase, avoid materials that can’t be recycled, such as pasta in plastic packaging.
Make a Plan!
Here’s a small list of containers and bags I have available to take with me when I need to stock up. Some bags do double duty and they can easily be used for many types of foods. I always plan out my food shopping first so that I can already know what jars and bags I will need, it helps to curb overspending too.
1 reusable hemp bag from Chicobag – used for package-free bread
1 reusable cotton bag (found at the thrift store, originally from Bath & Body Works) – used for bulk deli meat wrapped in parchment paper
Various sized mason jars (found at the thrift store) with dry erase labels and marker
At least 2 reusable shopping bags
Don’t Overpay! Find Your Tare Weight
For all these items, the food you put in them will end up being weighed. So before filling your containers, you need to make sure they have their tare weight clearly labeled for the cashier.
Some product bags, like the ones I have from Chicobag come pre-weighed and labeled from the manufacturer. If you fail to pre-weigh your container you will be paying for the weight of your container as well as your food and that’s not something you want to be doing especially with glass. It’s heavy!
Though Terracycle does accept many different hard to recycle items, it takes even less resources to not purchase those items in the first place. That was a large determining factor for me to make the switch to purchase my milk in glass bottles. Though they might require an extra $2 bottle deposit, I will always get that money back if I return it. It creates much less waste than a plastic milk jug or tetrapaks. As well as being infinitely recyclable!
Don’t forget about the ultimate zerowaste food: produce and veggies. Be sure to purchase them without any additional packaging. They come protected by their own skin from Mother Nature! Find farmers markets for true zerowaste product and veggies without produce labels. I hope these tips help you see how easy avoiding packaging can be!