I am on a never-ending quest to minimise the waste created by our purchases. However, I regard the ‘zero-waste’ trumpeted by some as a somewhat false achievement. Even if your purchase is transported home in your own bag, jar or basket it is almost certain that there was packaging, most likely plastic involved in getting the product to you.
Think about any product and trace it back to the source. A good example is our free range eggs from our chickens. At first glance they may seem to be ‘zero waste’ but, no, the grain for the chickens comes in a 20kg plastic bag.
So, one of the best things we can do is to try to buy things where the packaging can be re-used. Remember, that re-use is far better than recycling. I was reminded of a couple of examples where I can literally close the loop.
My ideal would be to grow food from seed but I am sufficiently honest with myself to realise that this is not often possible whilst holding down a full-time job. So, I end up with plastic seedling trays but I was delighted to recently discover that these can be returned to the seller at the market for re-use.
On another note, I buy my laundry and dishwashing liquid from a local manufacturer at a market stall. The product is sold through retail outlets in 1 litre bottles, however, if pre-ordered from the market stall it is presented in re-used 2 and 3 litre juice bottles and I am even able to return those bottles when emptied.
It is worth thinking critically about the source and packaging of your purchases to ensure that you have the opportunity to make informed choices.