Despite the frustrating lack of options that most of us have to deal with, there are still ways we can reduce our shopping and food packaging waste without access to bulk. I, myself, only have one store within 30 miles of me that carries a diminutive amount of bulk options so I use the following tips a lot to keep my zero waste goals in view.
7 Ways to Reduce Food Packaging Waste Without Access to Bulk
Avoid Plastic Bags
Related: We’re Breaking Up with Plastic Bags
Avoid Plastic Packaging
Buy the Largest Container
Eat a More Plant-Based Diet
Cutting more animal products out of our diets has many health and environmental benefits. Most animal products are packaged in non-recyclable plastic packaging which usually leads to most of the waste we toss after we prepare dinner.
By making fruits and vegetables a bigger part of our diets, we not only lessen our trash waste but also contribute to overall energy, water, and greenhouse gas reduction.
Grow and Can Your Own Food
If you have space, start a garden! Gardening will save you money, eliminate a lot of packaging waste, and is pretty darn rewarding!
Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you go to the store to buy fresh herbs and you are paying $5 for a plastic clamshell of a few sprigs?
Yea – no thank you! Keep pots of herbs on your patio or deck and have them all summer for you to access. A lot of herbs can also be brought indoors during the winter – and you can dry them.
Canning your excess garden produce is another fantastic way to stock up for the year and reduce food packaging waste.
Every year I plant a few tomato plants and can crushed tomatoes, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, soup, ketchup, and tomato paste that lasts me the whole year.
You may think that I just spend my whole summer canning food but that is absolutely not true.
I dedicate a couple of weekends in the summer to get all of it done and that’s it. Definitely worth it for the amount of food I stock up on and the money I save!
Start Making More Food From Scratch
There are a lot of prepackaged foods we buy that can be easily made with less waste. Now, I’m not saying that you have to start churning your own butter, but spending a weekend to make a years’ worth of jam will save some waste and money.
Also, salad dressings, ketchup, and mustard are easy things to whip up.
You can also get your kids involved on taco night by having them help make homemade tortillas. Getting back in the kitchen and cooking with our families has more than one benefit! Check out my article HERE for tips on cooking Zero Waste.
Compost and Recycle
Composting and recycling are key steps for those who do not have access to as many package-free food options. Compost your paper and cardboard and recycle your glass and metal to keep them out of the dump.
Related: How to Compost in an Apartment
City drop-off locations or pick-up programs are also options for composting. You can also see if a friend or family member will let you dump your organic waste into their compost – if they have one.
As you can see, there are so many ways to reduce food packaging waste without having access to bulk. In my opinion, some of the above options are better than buying out of the bulk bins, anyway.
What are the ways you reduce food packaging waste without access to bulk?