In her book ZeroWaste Shia Su suggests to take a closer look at your garbage bag in order to identify your waste problem zones by searching for garbage patterns. In my own bag I identified three main categories: 1. plastic packaging, 2. cuttings and peels of veg and fruit and 3. paper kitchen towels. First I decided to look at the packaging issue, which is what I’m looking at more closely in this section.
I have already been carrying a fabric shopping bag around for a while, so I never have to get additional bags at the shop. I also put fruit and veg without any further packaging in there, which apart from cherries and berries is no problem at all.
We eat a lot of rice, oats, pasta and polenta at home and they mostly come in plastic foil bags or paper board packaging containing plastic elements. Therefore in order to cut down on the plastic waste I got a series of glass jars for storage and decided to give a “without” shop a try.
Those shops offer all sorts of pulses, pasta and grains, nuts and teas without any packaging. The foods can be filled into small containers, fabric bags or paper bags. You can take your own containers and bags, or buy some at the shop. At home you fill the foods into jars or containers, which also has the advantage of keeping the food fresh and the bugs out. Using transparent containers improves the stock overview.
I have been doing this for a couple of weeks now and apart from my garbage bag taking noticeably longer to fill, I found that I can get most of my small shopping into my laptop rucksack. Especially the rice and oats in soft bags tend to sit very snuggly on the bottom of the rucksack and take up a lot less space than the same amount in other types of packaging.