One Simple Swap – The Food Packaging Conundrum

There is no easy swap when it comes to ubiquitous plastic food packaging. Our Planetarian intentions get an A, but reality sometimes gets a C. Here are less-bad choices we make:

  1. Bring reusable bags and containers when shopping (for anything!, not just food).
  2. Buy in bulk.
  3. Whenever possible buy loose produce, bread in paper bags, pasta in cardboard.
  4. Freezer-aisle food is encased in plastic. Buy fresh in season and freeze it yourself at home.
  5. Request custom orders – deli, fish, meats—to be “tared” and put into your containers (or paper wrappers). Note: some states don’t allow this…. yet.
  6. Only chose products packaged in materials you know are truly recyclable in your area.
  7. Repurpose whatever packaging you can – jars, zipper-lock bags, cans.
  8. Rinse plastic trash so anyfood remains won’t anaerobically become methane.
  9. Nicely alert store management you want less plastic packaging.
  10. Support legislation to phase out/ban single-use plastics and encourage Extended Producer Responsibility laws.

Good news: consumer pressure on the packaging industry is spurring less-bad options, such as polylactic acid and biobased films.


Laura & Gil

Our friends Laura & Gil Richardson are, in their own words, “imperfect” but they are much further down this Planetarian path than anyone I know. They are a treasure trove of sustainable living inspiration and we’ve asked them to share one simple swap per week that they’ve made (and the products they love) in hopes it might inspire you to make them, too.

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