10 Tips to Avoid Plastic While Shopping: Our Green Living Hacks

We can see mountains of plastic getting higher and higher. In some countries, entire towns have turned into heaps of rubbish. You might have already noticed that most of this plastic waste is a direct result of packaging and shopping bags. It seems like it is impossible to avoid plastic while shopping.

While it is super handy to grab a plastic bag and carry it back home, the consequences of excess plastic are disastrous. While this plastic also pollutes our land area, it literally wreaks havoc in the marine environment. Research has shown that over 8 million tons of waste plastic end up in the ocean.

A study has shown that about 80% of all ocean debris making its way to deep oceans every year is plastic. Marine animals both consume this non-degradable waste and get entangled in it_threatening crucial marine life.

While you may find it hard to completely get rid of plastic in your daily life, you can still stick to some simple rules to reduce it drastically.

In this Chlorine post, we have discussed 10 easy principles to avoid plastic while shopping:

1. Shop with a Backpack or a Cloth Bag

Probably the simplest tip: Take a rucksack, shopping basket, or cloth bag with you to carry your shopping. It is best to always have a cloth bag in your (hand) bag or in the car to hand.

2. Avoid buying Finished Products

Ready-made products are quick and easy to prepare – but mostly packaged in plastic and are unhealthy. For the sake of your health and the environment, you should buy fresh food that is not shrink-wrapped in plastic and cook it yourself more often.

3. Meat, Sausage, Cheese at the Counter

Cheese, sausage, and meat can usually only be bought packaged in plastic packaging in the supermarket. In more and more markets, however, you can bring your own storage jars made of stainless steel or glass and have the fresh goods filled there directly at the counter.

However, due to hygiene regulations, this is not possible everywhere – it is best to ask your supermarket right away to avoid packaging waste.

4. Avoid Plastic Bags For Fruits, Vegetables

The best way to buy fruit and vegetables is fresh and regional at a weekly market. In the supermarket, you should reach for fruit and vegetables that are not already packed in disposable packaging.

You should also do without the small plastic bags – for larger fruit and vegetable purchases there are reusable bags and nets, for example, or you can use cloth bags or linen bags that you have brought with you.

5. Drink Tap Water Instead of ”Mineral Water”

Instead of drinking water from plastic bottles, switch to tap water. This not only saves money and plastic waste, but it is also easy on your back, as there is no longer any need to lug around the bottles.

6. Avoid Plastic: Use Returnable Bottles Instead

When buying drinks, make sure that you buy reusable bottles, i.e. refillable bottles, instead of disposable ones. You can recognize this by the reusable symbol on the bottle. Reusable glass bottles, for example, can be refilled up to 50 times – which benefits the environment and climate protection.

7. Use a Non-Plastic Bag for Bread, Rolls

In order to avoid plastic waste, you should not buy rolls for baking in the plastic packaging and you should also keep away from bread packaged in the plastic bag. Better buy fresh pastries from the bakery. You can also have these filled-in fabric bags or linen bags that you have brought with you.

Related: My Low Waste Living: Grow These 7 Vegetables From Leftovers

8. Prefere Glass Containers, Paper Packs

Buy yogurt in jars instead of plastic cups. Almost every supermarket also offers milk in glass bottles. Tip: You can reuse many glass containers around the house and fill them with food such as rice, muesli, or flour – this even protects against food moths.

And instead of buying the individual packs of handkerchiefs in the plastic packaging, take the handkerchiefs from the box dispenser – it’s best to use the handkerchiefs made of recycled paper right away.

9. Buy Groceries in Bulk When Possible

You can also avoid rubbish by countering the trend towards mini-packaging in retail and buying groceries in bulk. This not only saves packaging waste – it is also easy on your wallet because the smaller packaging often goes hand in hand with hidden price increases. But refill packs are also useful for household cleaners or care products as they contain lesser plastic content.

10. Shop From ‘Unpackaged’ Stores

You can also avoid plastic by visiting “unpackaged” stores. Because, as the name suggests, you can find all products from olive oil to detergents without packaging. You can take your own containers and bags or else you will be offered reusable and returnable ones. These stores are already operating in many cities. You can make a list of them by google searching your area.

Bonus tip: Unfortunately, you may not always be able to avoid plastic packaging while shopping. However, you can simply dispose off unnecessary packaging right in the supermarket. You will find collection boxes almost in every market. The retailers and manufacturers will most probably recycle the waste.


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