11 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic When Food Shopping
Food shopping is one of the most common trouble spots when it comes to plastic waste piling up and ruining the environment. Here are some easy ways to cut down on plastic when food shopping.
1. Steer Clear of Plastic Shopping Bags
These are extremely dangerous to land and marine animals. Depending on what they are made of, they can take more than a thousand years to break down. Use reusable shopping bags for all your purchases.
2. Buy in Bulk
Buy staples in bulk such as cereal, pasta, and rice. The food is cheaper and you are cutting down on packaging.
3. Cook Your Own Beans and Soups from Scratch
Most tinned food items have a plastic coating inside and out, which can leach into your food. Many canned goods are also very high in salt (sodium), which is used as a cheap preservative but can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Buy your beans in bulk and boil them up for your various recipes. Add fresh fruits and vegetables to make your own soups.
4. Buy Concentrated Juice
You will find small tubes in the freezer aisle. Defrost, dilute, and pour into a glass bottle or jug rather than buy plastic containers of juice every week.
5. Steer Clear of Frozen Meals
These tend to have a lot of packaging. In particular, watch out for TV dinners. If you must use them, check the plastic tray for the recycle symbol and the number inside the symbol. Then check with you local sanitation to see which types of plastic, numbered 1 to 7, they are able to recycle. If they can’t accept them, think of ways you can reuse them yourself and make these TV dinners a rare treat only – not something you eat every day.
6. Buy from the Deli Counter, Not from the Refrigerator
If you love ham, bologna and so on, buy from the deli counter to avoid the plastic that pre-packaged cold cuts usually come in.
7. Bring Reusable Packaging to the Deli Counter
This will also help you cut down on the plastic package they usually use for cheese, cold cuts, and so on.
8. Buy Fresh Bread from a Bakery
Don’t buy your bread wrapped in plastic. Buy a fresh loaf and wrap it in a cloth bag.
9. Shop Locally
Online grocery shopping is very convenient, but it also results in a great deal of packaging. Where possible, shop at local farmer’s markets instead. This will cut down on gas, the produce will be fresher, and your money will help sustain the local economy.
10. Avoid Tetra Paks
They may seem green – a neat little cardboard container, but the truth is that Tetra Paks are treated with a plastic coating to make them waterproof. Buy your milk in glass bottles instead.
11. Avoid Teabags
Teabags are actually very resource heavy and can be unhealthy for you. The bags are sometimes treated with plastic, or bleached to make the paper very white. They usually come in large cardboard boxes wrapped in plastic. The bags also often come with string, paper tags and staples. All of these would have to be removed if you ever wanted to compost the tea leaves. Use loose tea with an infuser instead and use a travel mug to take your tea with you wherever you go.
With these tips and substitutions, you can do your bit for the environment every time you go food shopping.