82.2 million tons of packaging waste were produced by the U.S. in 2018.

Packaging materials are a regular part of our lives and serve many different purposes. They're used to keep and protect many products.

A cartoon cat saying,

The major problem with packaging materials is that most are designed for single-use. Despite this, there are ways to reduce waste and help the environment in little ways!

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Bring reusable bags to the grocery store

Woman holding a canvas bag while saying

This might seem obvious, but bringing an eco-friendly bag to the store is not what everyone actually practices.

💡Eco-bags are environment-friendly and they offer many advantages:

  • save money

  • more durable than grocery plastic bags

  • made from compostable materials like cotton, jute, or canvas

  • easier to use for loading and unloading groceries

  • choice of different sized bags to fit all your grocery needs — there are even smaller sizes for your vegetables!

Buy in bulk

Image of a supermarket aisle with products on either side. Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

Buying necessities means a lot of packaging materials. Why not buy in large quantities?

💡 Bulk buying is a good idea if you want to:

  • be cost-effective by saving more money in the long run

  • save time instead of repeatedly ordering or buying

  • reduce the number of packaging materials generated from groceries

Quiz

You're planning to buy something in bulk at the store. Which of these products can be bought in large quantities? Select all that apply.

Invest in reusable beverage containers

There are many benefits to making the switch to using reusablehigh-quality drinking bottles or coffee mugs.

  • You can avoid the use of single-use paper cups or plastics

  • Keep your morning drink warmer for a longer time

  • Save money while keeping hydrated

A series of reusable cups

A water bottle covered with stickers

💡 Remember to look for drinking containers that are durable, made of high-quality materials, and fit your style!

But if you already own one, there's no need to buy one! 😉

Read this Byte to find useful tips on choosing the right reusable bottle for you.

Choose items with minimal packaging

GIF of two old women smiling and waving while wearing plastic bags as caps.

Single-use plastics are out, eco-friendly packaging is in! It's better to buy products that are not only reusable but also sustainable.

💡 Most products sold in the market have useless boxes or wrappers.Chooseproducts that use paper, glass, or recycled packaging materials.

❌ Instead of these...

  • Shampoo bottles

  • Plastic teabags

  • Cling wrap

  • Single-use food containers

✅ Choose these...

Shop at a zero-waste store near you

Image of multiple glass jars filled with dry foods, stacked one on top of the other. Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

This might be the best way to reduce packaging waste. Zero-waste stores promote sustainable lifestyles, therefore they encourage everybody to BYOC (bring your own container) .

💡 Reuse your glass bottles, jars, or even sturdy plastic containers to shop at your local zero-waste store for a packaging-free shopping experience!

Image of a zero waste store with shelves containing products in eco-friendly packaging showing instructions on how to shop.

Most stores offer the same products as supermarkets or local groceries from food ingredients, reusable straws, and cups to cleaning products! Read this article to learn more.

Take Action

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It's not too late to begin a sustainable lifestyle. Make sure to apply everything you just learned, and don't worry if you start small!

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This Byte has been authored by

JR

Janella Recaplaza

ESL Instructor | Learning Designer