Energy Diet

Cutting Back on Packaging

The topic of store purchases, when it comes to being on an energy diet, is a difficult one to consider because it’s fraught with problems. All that packaging can make it hard even to see the product, sometimes.

As I mentioned earlier in the challenge, I have stopped using plastic grocery bags. And because I am human and forget things, if I must use a plastic bag I keep them handy in my house. I can use them for various things, containing my lunch when things might leak or things like that. It’s a significant change for me because I had never used re-useable bags prior to this. This also goes for when I am clothes-shopping too. As much as I can make a difference, I really try to make sure that I don’t use a plastic bag or at least mesh three trips into one bag, or something.

All of the packaging that goes into both food and other products is pretty outstanding these days. It’s difficult to avoid, however it can be done. I don’t think I’m ready just yet to begin my journey into a waste-free challenge of some sort, but I can certainly do my very best to reduce the amount of product I buy with harsh packaging. Most pre-packaged convenience items such as individual salads or kits for that matter have many different plastic bags inside them that are fairly unnecessary so buying in bulk can help lighten the load there.

Although heavy for the car-free shopper, glass instead of plastic jars seem like a smart idea because a student like myself can always use glasses around the house or a really trendy tupperware set! I recently spent the week in Calgary last week, and the yoga studio I practiced at used jars if you forgot your water bottle instead of plastic. They were selling them for only 3$ a jar. I think that’s a pretty swell idea, if I do say so myself.

I’ve been to many gyms / yoga studios / fitness facilities that sell plastic water bottles in case you forget, while claiming to be earth-friendly and sustainable. Again, after being informed of the harsh reaction that bottled water has on the planet and humans, if only we commit to one thing, it should be the elimination of bottled water. Completely. It can be more important and cost-worthy at the start to do this instead of installing new low-flow toilets or some of the more expensive options (although those, too, are of course beneficial).

I’ve also been attempting to replace certain food items with the organic version when grocery shopping. This is also very expensive but it can be done the smart way. I assume you should replace the things that you consume the most of — perhaps milk or bread — with organic options.

I think that the most beneficial way to reduce the consumption of packaging is to eat fresh. It’s the diet secret America is waiting to hear. Stick to the outside of the grocery store, avoid the inner aisles. This means the fruit, veg, meat, and milk. I also use my glass milk bottles for vases and sometimes water. Or return them for money. It’s do-able.


  1. Summer
    March 7, 2011, 4:22 pm

    It is great to hear that you are easing into going waste free and avoiding overly packaged foods. Did you know that the average American school child throws away 67 pounds of waste a year during lunch time alone? For great information and tips on creating waste free lunches, check out our site, We look forward to staying updated on your progress!

  2. Carly Wilson
    Canberra, Australia
    March 8, 2011, 2:30 am

    Great post!
    I think half of it is just getting into the habit. I find it really hard to remember to bring my shopping bag to the grocery store but by keeping them in my car I can remember at least half of the time which is a start! It definately is sad just how packaged everything is, isn’t it? It’s so wasteful and so pointless!

  3. Lindsay
    March 16, 2011, 3:01 pm

    It’s hard to stray away from the pre-packaged efficient goodness that is presented at the grocery store. Having a lunch already made up with the dressing in a little compartment, I have to admit, is strangely satisfying and makes my fridge look like a tetris game.

    Carly, so true! I mean even if we do forget, we are making progress and we can keep those bags for other things, not throwing them out!