Eliminating, or even reducing, the amount of packing in our lives is an ongoing process. It isn't usually something that can be done overnight, but with conscientious shopping and a DIY spirit, there are countless ways to reduce waste. Here are some of our tips. What are yours?
What You Need
Your creativity and resolve
• Buy less. Curbing the impulse to shop and learning to live with less will help put you on the path to a packaging-free life.
• Buy used. When you do shop, rather than buying new, check thrift stores and salvage shops. Or borrow items through services like NeighborGoods.
• Bring bags. Don't forget your reusable shopping bags. Need help remembering? Check out these tips.
• Get crafty. Take up urban homesteading practices like growing your own food, home canning, and baking bread. Develop a network of friends and neighbors to share your individual efforts.
• Buy from bulk. For other foods, shop at farmers' markets, produce stands, butchers, and bulk bins. Bring reusable containers like produce bags and empty jars.
• Pack lunch. Take your lunch to work in a reusable container with eco-friendly sandwich bags.
• Carry provisions. Pack a reusable water bottle and snacks in reusable bags so you don't find yourself running to the vending machine or corner store.
• Do it yourself – house cleaning. Making your own cleaning products might not eliminate packaging completely (you still need to procure the ingredients), but it can help you cut down considerably. If possible, buy ingredients like baking soda in or from bulk, and if you're really ambitious, you can make your own white vinegar!
• Take a break. Re-think your grooming habits. We're not suggesting you let yourself go, but take a break from hair product, foundation, or anti-aging cream for a week or two and see whether you really "need" it. Chances are, you'll look and feel perfectly fine with less.
• Do it yourself – personal health. For the personal care products you do need, explore DIY options. For example, you can use baking soda for toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. Buying the raw ingredients might involve some packaging, but it's a step in the right direction.
• Go the extra mile. It's not for everyone, but you can also eliminate packaging by going toilet-paper free, switching to reusable feminine products, and using cloth tissues.
• Shop smart. Inevitably, you will buy some packaged goods, but consider packaging that's reusable and recyclable. Avoid excessive packaging like individually-wrapped produce and look for products in bulk, concentrate form, or refillable containers. If you regularly shop online, you might also consider buying more things locally to reduce packing material waste.
Do you have any other tips for packaging-free living?
(Images: Flickr member libookperson licensed under Creative Commons, Amber Byfield, Baggu Bags via AT:NY, Kathryn Hill, Emily Ho, To-Go Ware at Greenfeet, Vapur, Rachel Wray, Flickr member lobsterstew licensed under Creative Commons, moocowmomma's cloth wipes)