Eco Friendly Products Use Less Packaging

Eco Friendly Products – Look at their Packaging

 

In my previous blog, we saw(much to the disgust of my friend) that just because a product says “eco friendly” or “green” on the bottle, it isn’t necessarily an eco friendly product.  It might be – or it may be greenwashing.

So, how can you tell?

Later, I’m going to look at what WE can do.   But first, here are the things that manufacturers can do to make eco friendly products.

Because there are in fact a large number of things that can be done to make a product green (or greener), I’m going to categorise them into the eco friendly ‘mantra’ of Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

reduce reuse recycleNow, a lot of people focus on the “recycle” part – and that’s good.

But those 3 words are in that order for a very good reason.

Reduce is the most important of the three.

Eco friendly products Reduce their impact on the environment

1.  Packaging

As a general rule, products which have less packaging are more eco friendly.

Why?  Because they use less resources to create (using less Styrofoam and plastic for example, is good because they are both made from petroleum).  And what happens when you get home?  You open the product and discard the packaging, which goes to landfill.  Even if you recycle (and not all kerb-side recycling accepts it), it’s still better not to buy it in the first place.

Sometimes, buying in bulk reduces the packaging.  (Just make sure you don’t end up using more than you normally would, just ‘because it’s there’).

Also, buying produce from the “help yourself” or “bulk bins” section in supermarkets – especially if you bring your own re-usable produce bags (I keep mine in the car) – can often reduce packaging.  Fruit, nuts, spices, grains, beans, cereals and more can all be bought this way.

reduce packaging with bulk food binsTip:  Often, (though not always) you’re getting a more genuinely natural product than if you bought the equivalent packaged variety (for example, some nuts have oil and salt added when they’re packaged, but not if you buy the right fresh nuts from the bulk bins).

Tip: The bulk bins should list the ingredients, just like packaged items.  You can improve your health this way!

Tip: Although most stores have a weighing scale, you can also bring your own measuring cup if you prefer.

Tip:  you can buy only the exact quantity you need, so you reduce waste at home.  For example, small amounts of spices you don’t use often, or larger quantities of things you use a lot, so you don’t have to shop as often.

Tip: worried about the freshness?  Ask the bulk bin manager how often their stock is replenished.

Tip: At home, store your produce in (reusable) airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

(Where can you find bulk bins?  Whole Foods Market (USA and UK) promote their bulk bins well, but all the leading supermarket chains have bulk bins as well as many health stores. We’ve even got some on my little tropical island).

According to the EPA, packaging makes up 30% of consumer waste.  Imagine being able to reduce your household rubbish!

The nice thing about buying products with less packaging is how easy it is to spot!  You don’t need to read anything, just look, it’s easy!

Look for reduced packaging in everything you buy – from food to cosmetics, electronics, games, clothes, everything!

Next: Organic and Natural products – what to look out for.

 

Photo Credits:  

Reduce = phtotbucket, bulk bins = tradefixtures

25 comments… add one

Your thoughts and opinions are important to me! Do tell me in the comments below!

  • shamrk 1st April 2013, 10:14 PM

    Increasing Eco-friendly public awareness is necessary to continue action to improve our world

    Reply
  • Small Footprints 20th November 2012, 8:29 PM

    Just imagine what would happen if everyone simply looked at products with an eye towards packaging … if we decided to always buy things in the most Eco-friendly packaging possible. Even if we don’t have bulk available, we can choose the least offending package. Thank you for great tips!

    Reply
  • Dating Expert Los Angeles 14th April 2012, 7:40 PM

    Hi Green Goddess,

    That certainly is an excellent attribute to look for in genuinely green and ecofriendly products that they have less packaging of them.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

    Reply
  • Body language of relationships 13th April 2012, 11:05 AM

    Clare, I like how you break down how to tell if the packaging of a product is really eco friendly.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

    Now go implement!

    Reply
  • Cherie Miranda 13th April 2012, 9:31 AM

    Great tips! I can’t believe how much excess packaging is used in so many applications.

    Cherie Miranda

    Reply
  • Michael D Walker 13th April 2012, 9:29 AM

    I’m in complete agreement, especially when it comes to reducing styrofoam usage. Not only does that material annoy me to no end but it doesn’t decompose.

    Michael

    Reply
  • Kevin Hogan 13th April 2012, 8:45 AM

    I always pass by the bulk bins at our local market, and notice they are only full of candy. Is there a good way to recommend or hint towards the company adding more to their lineup of bulk product?

    Mark Hogan

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 13th April 2012, 11:44 AM

      Absolutely Mark!
      1. Take your custom to a market which does sell nuts, spices, rice, sugar, beans etc in bulk bins, so you can choose the exact amount you want, without excess packaging.
      2. Speak to the manager of the store, and ask why they don’t carry anything other than candy in bulk bins. If you’re told there’s no demand, and/or they don’t plan to do so, see 1. above!
      3. Think of something YOU or your family would buy regularly from bulk bins, and suggest to the manager that they stock that as a trial. Then, once the store sees there’s demand, they should start stocking more.

      Reply
  • Lyle R. Johnson 13th April 2012, 6:56 AM

    I support the bulk approach.

    However, coming off Chemo – no immune system – I cannot buy bulk for the next several months.

    Live Long and Prosper
    Lyle

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 13th April 2012, 4:15 PM

      With no immune system, I can only imagine how restricted your food must be.
      Stay strong!

      Reply
  • Dan 13th April 2012, 6:13 AM

    Great point about “Reduce”!

    Reply
  • Jc MacKenzie 13th April 2012, 4:28 AM

    It’s interesting that the packaging is often so much bigger than the product it holds…in this day and age of concern for the future of the planet.
    Food for thought. Especially when I think of my teenage daughters.

    Thanks

    Be Well.

    Jc

    Reply
  • G.E. Moon II 12th April 2012, 11:54 PM

    In our house we are big fans of the bulk bins. You are definitely getting a fresher product. Great tips. I also agree with you…reducing consumption is probably the most important thing that we all can do.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

    Reply
  • Shane 12th April 2012, 10:01 PM

    Where I live these options are easy but when a travel to different states it seems like the options are very limited.

    It is amazing how they are cutting back on the consumer side of the issue by making you feel guilty if you don’t bring your own bag for groceries, yet 99% of the things in the store are packaged in the very things bags are made of. It would be nice if both the consumer and the Manufacturers could cut back on the practice!

    Great Post

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 13th April 2012, 11:49 AM

      Excellent point Shane, I agree!

      Reply
  • Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. 12th April 2012, 9:53 PM

    It drives me crazy when I buy a product and I have to go through so much packing material – such a waste. Thanks for the great tips. I love buying in bulk, that way I can get just enough.
    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy

    Reply
  • Neil Dhawan 12th April 2012, 9:44 PM

    Hi Green Goddess,

    Great tips about going “greener” … though I am not a big fan of bulk bins, I do like your idea to actually ASK the manager how often they replenish the supply – this will help to alleviate some worries. Also, I do try to reuse packaging as much as possible – even though I didn’t know that it makes up for as much as 30% of consumer waste … now I’ll be even MORE careful.

    To a Life of Success, Neil

    Reply
  • Sabrina 12th April 2012, 9:43 PM

    Great information. I’m often amazed at the way some things are over-packaged when less packaging would work just as well!

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES

    Reply
  • Suzanne Laramore 12th April 2012, 8:22 PM

    I agree that reduce is the most important. I wish more manufactures would take that advice.

    Thanks,

    Suzanne

    Reply
  • Rachel 12th April 2012, 7:31 PM

    Thanks for these valuable tips! They are simple things that everyone can easily do.

    Reply
  • Sonya Lenzo 12th April 2012, 7:04 PM

    I love bulk bins because I can buy just the amount I need. And I store everything in airtight tins…this just makes sense…but its an excellent reminder,Thanks Clare!
    Sonya Lenzo

    Reply
  • Margarita Slavkova 12th April 2012, 6:46 PM

    Clare,
    I like your mantra “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”. I have never paid attention to reduced packaging before, but now I am aware. Thanks for the tip.

    Reply
  • […] Earth-friendly packaging: 30% of consumer waste is packaging. Learn to minimize it. […]

  • shamrk says:

    Increasing Eco-friendly public awareness is necessary to continue action to improve our world

  • Just imagine what would happen if everyone simply looked at products with an eye towards packaging … if we decided to always buy things in the most Eco-friendly packaging possible. Even if we don’t have bulk available, we can choose the least offending package. Thank you for great tips!

  • Dating Expert Los Angeles says:

    Hi Green Goddess,

    That certainly is an excellent attribute to look for in genuinely green and ecofriendly products that they have less packaging of them.

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell

  • […] I talked about genuinely eco friendly products Reducing their impact by having less packaging – an easy thing to […]

  • Body language of relationships says:

    Clare, I like how you break down how to tell if the packaging of a product is really eco friendly.
    Scott Sylvan Bell

    Now go implement!

  • Cherie Miranda says:

    Great tips! I can’t believe how much excess packaging is used in so many applications.

    Cherie Miranda

  • Michael D Walker says:

    I’m in complete agreement, especially when it comes to reducing styrofoam usage. Not only does that material annoy me to no end but it doesn’t decompose.

    Michael

  • Kevin Hogan says:

    I always pass by the bulk bins at our local market, and notice they are only full of candy. Is there a good way to recommend or hint towards the company adding more to their lineup of bulk product?

    Mark Hogan

    • Clare Delaney says:

      Absolutely Mark!
      1. Take your custom to a market which does sell nuts, spices, rice, sugar, beans etc in bulk bins, so you can choose the exact amount you want, without excess packaging.
      2. Speak to the manager of the store, and ask why they don’t carry anything other than candy in bulk bins. If you’re told there’s no demand, and/or they don’t plan to do so, see 1. above!
      3. Think of something YOU or your family would buy regularly from bulk bins, and suggest to the manager that they stock that as a trial. Then, once the store sees there’s demand, they should start stocking more.

  • Lyle R. Johnson says:

    I support the bulk approach.

    However, coming off Chemo – no immune system – I cannot buy bulk for the next several months.

    Live Long and Prosper
    Lyle

  • Dan says:

    Great point about “Reduce”!

  • Jc MacKenzie says:

    It’s interesting that the packaging is often so much bigger than the product it holds…in this day and age of concern for the future of the planet.
    Food for thought. Especially when I think of my teenage daughters.

    Thanks

    Be Well.

    Jc

  • G.E. Moon II says:

    In our house we are big fans of the bulk bins. You are definitely getting a fresher product. Great tips. I also agree with you…reducing consumption is probably the most important thing that we all can do.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

  • Shane says:

    Where I live these options are easy but when a travel to different states it seems like the options are very limited.

    It is amazing how they are cutting back on the consumer side of the issue by making you feel guilty if you don’t bring your own bag for groceries, yet 99% of the things in the store are packaged in the very things bags are made of. It would be nice if both the consumer and the Manufacturers could cut back on the practice!

    Great Post

  • Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. says:

    It drives me crazy when I buy a product and I have to go through so much packing material – such a waste. Thanks for the great tips. I love buying in bulk, that way I can get just enough.
    Yours In Health!

    Dr. Wendy

  • Neil Dhawan says:

    Hi Green Goddess,

    Great tips about going “greener” … though I am not a big fan of bulk bins, I do like your idea to actually ASK the manager how often they replenish the supply – this will help to alleviate some worries. Also, I do try to reuse packaging as much as possible – even though I didn’t know that it makes up for as much as 30% of consumer waste … now I’ll be even MORE careful.

    To a Life of Success, Neil

  • Sabrina says:

    Great information. I’m often amazed at the way some things are over-packaged when less packaging would work just as well!

    Sabrina Peterson, NASM CPT, CES

  • Suzanne Laramore says:

    I agree that reduce is the most important. I wish more manufactures would take that advice.

    Thanks,

    Suzanne

  • Rachel says:

    Thanks for these valuable tips! They are simple things that everyone can easily do.

  • Sonya Lenzo says:

    I love bulk bins because I can buy just the amount I need. And I store everything in airtight tins…this just makes sense…but its an excellent reminder,Thanks Clare!
    Sonya Lenzo

  • Margarita Slavkova says:

    Clare,
    I like your mantra “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle”. I have never paid attention to reduced packaging before, but now I am aware. Thanks for the tip.

  • […] Next: what does make items ‘genuinely green’, eco friendly products? […]