Live intentionally, be sustainable #2: outsmarting products’ packaging devils

Live intentionally, be sustainable #2: outsmarting products’ packaging devils

Unless you become a zero-waste practitioner, you’re still going to have wasteful containers and packages around your house (even if minimal), sometimes making you feel guilty about having bought them in the first place rather than reusing some other container and buying in bulk or producing your own product at home. Unfortunately, some products we need and feel comfortable using, and that are good for us, may become in bad packages and be bad for our planet… So, it’s super important that we outsmart them so we don’t stress about it, be cool, and do the best we can. Then, if you do decide to buy packaged products, you can always follow some tricks.

Choose bigger packages (jumbo, family size, etc.) if it’s an everyday and/or long-lasting product

By choosing bigger packages, you can reduce your footprint. Usually, the packaging material used in a bigger package is less than if you’d bought multiple smaller packages. Also, by using a product that will last longer, you’re also reducing logistics’ waste that would be produced to ensure the product goes from the manufacturer to your house more frequently (even if just on the last step of the process by having you go fewer times to the shop).

Buy smaller packages if it’s something you don’t use that often so to avoid product waste, choosing the package size that will be most efficient

Sometimes we’re so obsessed about buying bigger packages, that we just waste money and product. Even though some of the products may be biodegradable and environmentally-friendly, it’s still waste that can be avoided. Like I said in some previous posts (here and here), living intentionally and being sustainable is not only about the environment but about a holistic balance. For instance, if you find yourself not using the full packages of a product within the timeframe that period is good to use,

Chose packages that you can easily and widely open, and cut and open packages before disposing of them if necessary.

I swear this is one of the things that annoy me the most… the amount of product we throw away just because we may think it’s not cool to be seen as the one that cuts and opens the package to use it until the very last bit. Let me tell you that the ones not doing it are the ones that are not cool nowadays. If you think about this long-term, you’ll see you could be saving money and at the very end not buying one additional package of something. But, please, be careful when cutting packages, so you don’t harm yourself and you don’t contaminate the product with whatever material you’re cutting.

To avoid this cutting drama, we can always opt for packages that enable us to use all the product, such as traditional containers or boxes with lids. Sometimes we can even reuse these other containers for anything useful around the house.

If possible, opt for better materials rather than buying the plastic alternative

Sometimes it’s not possible, I know, but sometimes it his. Glass is harder to recycle but you can reuse it and will be way better for your health too. Aluminum is more recycled than other materials so, for instance, go for beverages in aluminum cans instead of in plastic bottles. In fact, having canned food is easier and cans are easily recycled but please consider that some brands use an epoxy resin inside, to linen, so they have BPA, something we want to run away from in the first place by ditching plastics to improve our health. You can read a bit more about each type of material here and here. Ultimately, even when using recycled and recyclable BPA-free plastic, plastic can still be harmful to our health so we always need to be very careful about how we use and store it if the plastic package is the only alternative.

Before you go, I recommend you reading this article by The Guardian about some 2014 problems regarding packaging and recycling. 5 years later, we continue to see the same challenges and problems.

I’m sure there are a lot of other ideas; so, how do you outsmart packaging devils? Comment below and share with us all your ideas and what are you currently doing.

See you soon,

11 Replies to “Live intentionally, be sustainable #2: outsmarting products’ packaging devils”

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  9. Yes! I was a bit ashamed by the number of yogurt cups I was throwing away every week. So now I started buying those big buckets, which last for the whole week. One plastic package instead of eight. Victory!

    When buying groceries at the supermarket I’ve the (single use) plastic bags with a reusable net bag. That allowed me to reduce the number of plastic bags at home to zero. Win!

    I think it’s up to each person to be aware of the waste they produce, and challenge themselves to cut and cut until they reach a minimum (doesn’t have to zero as long as they reuse and recycle). Challenge accepted? 😛

    P.S: The 3rd point was not clear to me. Maybe an example would help clarify your intent.

    1. Thanks Diogo! I’m glad you challenged yourself, that’s the way to go. Indeed, we don’t need to change every behaviour all the sudden but we can change bit by bit and start with easier changes. The third is a bit about packages that have liquids, toothpaste, creams… food or beauty products, or even other supplies! It’s about when the package itself is not optimized to use all the product and then some of it just stays inside the package so you can’t get it out unless you open or cut it wide open.

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