An often blogged about business that is taking a lead on selling products with little or no packaging is London’s Unpackaged store. Set up in 2006 to provide a better way to sell food you can only purchase items if you bring your own refillable storage containers with you. There are some items in cans and glass that can be recycled for purcahse and we love the wooden crates and super large paper bags that contain a range of fruit and vege. They only stock products that are good for the environment. As they say on their website recycling will not be enough to reduce the amount of packaging waste that goes to landfill so we need to consume items with little or no packaging first – again it’s about reducing our consumption to reduce our waste.
For those living in Christchurch Piko (and Lyttle Piko in Lyttleton) is probably the closest wholefoods store that we have that also has a policy of bring your own refillable containers. Last year they celebrated their 30th birthday and are now a favourite of many who live sustainably. As well as great bulk produce (some organic) they have a great range of seeds (for growing your own produce – no packaging), fair trade goodies and organic goods. There is some packaging but most can be recycled. If you need to use a bag they have brown paper bags which can go straight in the compost.
Keep a look out for other ways to shop with less packaging – visit farmer’s markets, fruit and vege stores that package in old cardboard boxes, grow/make your own, reusable bags for the supermarket (especially reuse those plastic bulk bin bags) and recycle what packaging you do get. And for businesses – start looking at the amount of packaging you produce for your product (or service) and think of ways to reduce or provide packaging that can be recycled (or returned to you for recycling as part of a Product Stewardship scheme) or better yet – can you do without packaging?
Reduce First, Reuse Second, Recycle Third and then only landfill if you really have to.