Waste reduction

greens in paperAlthough I should be thinking about ‘waist’ reduction as well as ‘waste’ reduction, I’m going to leave the topic of my burgeoning girth for another day and instead focus on reducing grocery waste.

I technically live in the suburbs of Toronto where we still have weekly garbage collection, but it’s difficult not to be affected by the garbage strike that’s been dragging on just a few miles from my front door. In fact, the strike has made me very aware of how much Styrofoam packaging and plastic comes with my groceries – especially the produce.

I took the picture of this paper-bagged lettuce at the Brickworks Farmers’ Market last Saturday because it’s such a great example of how retailers can make simple changes to help all of us reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste we produce each week.

I’m heartened to see that some of the bigger food companies are making their packaging more earth-friendly, too. For instance, Frito Lay Sun Chips in the US and Canada’s Natrel bagged milk now come in bags made from biodegradable materials. I like it!

What smart packaging have you seen recently? Or, better yet, what great ideas do you have for reducing cooking and grocery-related waste?

9 Responses to Waste reduction

  1. Rebecca says:

    Instead of packing Jeff’s lunches using a thousand individual sandwich bags, I’ve started using one divided plate with a lid. Usually, I can just fill it with leftovers after dinner. A little practical recycling.

    I’ve also started using those 99-cent fabric grocery bags as gift wrap. They’re usually cheaper than gift bags and much more practical.

  2. Diva says:

    “Waist reduction” … ergh, let us speak of other things!

    I’m trying, with moderate success, to reduce the amount of plastic grocery bags coming into my home. I say moderate because while I have a lovely set of re-usable fabric grocery bags, I don’t always remember to tuck them into my purse before shopping. I’m getting better about it though. In addition, I’m trying to lay off the bottled water and not using as many of those thin plastic bags when I buy fruits and veggies at the market. The brown bagged lettuce is a wonderful idea! Let’s hope it catches on.

  3. Amanda Laird says:

    When I’m shopping for produce in the supermarket, I try and use as few of those filmy plastic bags as possible. I load up one bag with as many tomatoes, peppers and carrots as I can, and then unload them all when I get to the register. The cashier can ring them through separately and then I just throw them back in to the same bag together.

  4. You’re right Dana, I too have never realized how much packaging there is on all the food we buy, and most of it isn’t even necessary.
    You can always buy fresh mushrooms in bulk and use the paper bags that are provided at the grocery store. They can easily be recycled weekly, just toss them in your bin. Some of Canada’s mushroom growers are also looking into renewable trays made from palm fibre for pre-packaged mushrooms (http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=20182), rather than the styrofoam or plastic trays.
    – Brittany

  5. Barb says:

    I try to use fabric carying bags and, when that is not possible, I reuse the bags at least once sometimes more after that.

  6. I bring reusable fabric bags to the grocery story and put my fruits and vegetables right into the grocery cart, not into plastic bags first. I used to have mesh bags for produce but have lost them over time. Must replace them.

    At home I use (and reuse) special vegetable bags so the food stays fresh.

    Mushroom? I buy loose and put in paper bags. Interesting to see they are looking at palm fibre.

    While I’ve managed to cut back on much of my food waste, the organic salad has increase my waste in some area. It comes in a plastic container, which is recyclable, but still a waste. Guess I’ll have to revisit that one…

  7. danamccauley says:

    Love the idea of using fabric bags as gift bags. Good one. Rebecca!

  8. cheryl says:

    I know there’s more I could be doing on this front, but it was interesting how difficult it was for me to buy bottled water while traveling. That was something I never gave much thought to on past trips, but now that I’m such a convert to stainless steel water bottles it was painful to be forced to regress, however temporarily, while on the road. Airports are the worst!

  9. Natashya says:

    I haven’t made it down to the brickworks farmers market, thank you for reminding me about it.
    My son has two friends that live near the park “dumps”. They are getting sick, it’s terrible. Makes me glad I left the city.

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