Take the Green Shopping Challenge! Green grocery shopping involves a few things: bringing your own tote bags, choosing organic over conventional, as well as local and seasonal, as much as possible. There is also another aspect: packaging. This challenge is about reducing the amount of packaging generated while grocery shopping.
At first, this is going to require a few extra minutes at the store, as youâ€™ll need to compare brands and even perhaps change brands. But itâ€™s all for a good cause: packaging means plastic, paper, adhesives such as glue and Styrofoam, all of which we must reduce and/or eliminate.
While plastic and paper can be recycled, their manufacturing and recycling generate energy that the planet could do without. Therefore, less plastic and paper packaging is better for our environment. So next time you stand in front of the yogurt section, instead of grabbing 6 individual yogurts, go for the big plain yogurt jar. Add sugar, honey, fruit, or jam at home to create different flavors. Do so with as many products as possible. If you need to pack lunch for work, use a glass container, such as Pyrex.Â
As for Styrofoam (also called polystyrene or PS), it usually cannot be recycled. Made of petroleum, it is generally not accepted in curbside collection recycling programs and it is not biodegradable. Over 20 US cities have banned the use of polystyrene in food packaging, such as Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Portland and Suffolk County, NY. When it is burnt for manufacturing and recycling purposes, Styrofoam emits greenhouse gases and dioxins. You will find Styrofoam packaging in the meat and fish section, as thatâ€™s what meat, poultry and fish food trays are conventionally made of. Some stores have started packing meat in plastic only: favor this packaging as much as possible. In the egg section also: stay away from eggs stored in Styrofoam and choose the cardboard packaged brand instead. Always look for the plastic symbol: if itâ€™s a # 6, stay away from it.
So your focus for this challenge is to:
stay away from Styrofoam packaging as much as possible
reduce the overall amount of paper and plastic packaging
Happy green shopping!