Tap to Read ➤

How to Reduce Food Packaging Waste

Renuka Savant
Environmental awareness is really hot right now. Want to know how you can do your bit to keep our beloved planet green? Let's begin with the simplest of things by limiting packaging waste. Yes, you'd be surprised to know the extent of damage our packs and wrappers cause, but here's how you can go about avoiding that...
It's really funny how our health consciousness leads us to drink fat-free latte (from Styrofoam take-away cups), eat yogurt (from plastic cups with plastic spoons), followed by a salad (in a disposable container with a plastic fork) and then wipe our (not-so-dirty) hands with regular tissues or (oh no!) sanitized wet wipes (we're germ-free now, yay!).
Being concerned about our expanding waistlines is perfectly acceptable, but wouldn't it be better if we show a little bit of the same concern for our planet? Awareness about environment preservation is all over the place, and most of us try to put in as many efforts as we can towards it.
Separating the trash is where it begins and ends for most of us, but what if we were to focus on minimizing waste generation? Wouldn't it make our lives even easier?
Packaged foods have become such an integral part of our lives that it is hard to imagine how life was before cling wraps and Styrofoam came into being. Going overboard and doing away with them entirely is not recommended, of course, but as with all good things, striking a balance holds the key.
The tips that follow can be implemented effortlessly, and they do a wonderful job of warming up your insides with a feeling of doing a little bit for our battle-worn Mother Earth.

Tips to Reduce Food Packaging Waste

Watch What You Shop!

» We see any food product double and triple wrapped (for extra freshness!), and we immediately think of it to be the best. Of course, there are certain delicate foods which are required to be packed in a certain manner.
But let's get real - do we really need a loaf of bread to be packed in multiple layers of plastic? No we don't, and this is where you start reviewing some of the packaged foods that unnecessarily use layers.
» If there is a particular brand or type of packaged food that you really love, it makes more sense to buy that in bigger packs instead of several small ones. If you're concerned about the freshness factor, empty out those big packs in air-tight glass or steel containers that are reusable.
» Buy yogurt in quarts instead of tiny cups if you consume it often. Similarly, blocks of cheese are better than separately wrapped slices. The same applies to your favorite cereal brands also.

» Consider doing away with tea bags and purchase loose tea leaves. Sure, making tea will take some extra time, but what's eco-friendliness without a little effort?
» Pay attention to the packaging material used and as far as possible, pick items packed in glass or paper over those packed in plastic or Styrofoam. Again, remember to take your reusable shopping bags every time you step out to shop.
» Speaking of avoiding plastic wraps, buying meats from a butcher or the deli section in a grocery store is sensible, especially if you consume it in large quantities.
» We know how fresh fruit and vegetables are better than the tinned versions, and yet we keep on buying the same, old, preservative-laden versions that are drowned in sugar syrup or vinegar. Buy these if you're going to be away from humanity for a while, but otherwise, choose to eat fresh.

While in the Kitchen...

» Try using cloth napkins where ever possible - for cleaning and dining.

» Try cooking scratch and reduce packaging waste. (You may have extra packaging waste of each item, but you can control this by shopping in bulk)

» Try packing your meals in reusable containers instead of cling wraps or aluminum foils.
» Try baking in reusable pans in place of disposable trays.

» Try using a salad spinner to dry salad leaves instead of paper napkins.

Always and Otherwise

» Invest in a travel mug that you can carry to your coffee shop, giving those awful Styrofoam cups a complete miss.

» The same applies to your drinking water bottle. Keep a reusable bottle at work, so that you don't have to make frequent trips to the cooler.
» Replace zip-lock bags, wraps, foils and boxes with reusable containers.

» Carry these containers along when you want to shop for groceries in bulk.

» Keep some silverware in your office so you can refuse the plastic spoons and forks that come with every meal you order.
Some of these tips may have seemed easy to implement, while others must've felt like too much of a bother. Then there could be other things that you might be doing, which may not be a part of the list here. It would be nice if we incorporate some of these things in our everyday life to limit our contribution to our planet's downfall.