How to Reduce Packaging While Shopping

It is time for a change!

Reducing is key to eliminate as much plastic waste as we can. But how do you start? Where do you start? All it takes is one step. Then another and another. Start small and with the easiest changes.

My number one suggestion for cutting out waste in the beginning is to make an inventory of the items you purchase on a regular basis. Section them off, room by room to better organize the list. Highlight the items that are wasteful like single use plastics (SUP). Work on those one or two at a time by choosing a product in biodegradable packaging like paper or box board. Don’t just switch to a recyclable plastic packaging as that is just as bad as waste plastic. We want to Reduce everything we can. Find a bulk store like bulk Barn for example. Here you can bring your own containers and/or cloth bags. Shop local like at the Farmer’s Market. Many items you will find plastic free and ask for a plastic free packaging option if you dont! Be bold and ask!

Reducing plastic waste is one solution but reducing all packaging is another. Box board and paper also take resources.  Package free is certainly best if you can find that option. Also making your own homemade goods. Homemade is much better anyways, you know what goes into it!

Shopping local is key to reducing waste; carbon footprint waste. Try to find your products as close to home as possible. Transporting or shipping products over seas or long distances has a big impact on the environment. Shopping seasonal is another change you can make; we are not quite there yet. Doing some research and talking to your local farmers will help to source out those products. This is on my to do list!

A product type not on my list below is clothing. I am still learning the “ropes” but I do know that I will not be purchasing polyester type clothing any longer. As well as clothing mixed with plastic particles such as plastic decorations and sparkles. Microfibers and microplastics get washed off the clothing every wash cycle and then led out to sea, creating a marine life crises that is already happening.

This is a page I am still working on. I have items to add as we have expanded our diet. Also, I need to collect some photos that are not yet posted. I feel like I need and want to share this now so others can see that eliminating SUP is possible without getting bent out of shape. I will be editing/adding some additional information in the coming weeks including unit price comparisons to show that “zero waste” is not more expensive!

This is a visual list of household purchases we use regularly in a given year, almost everything. The right side are products before we changed our wasteful practices and the left are products to date, less wasteful. I will add, some items such as cleaners and body products have been switched to more environmentally friendly ones. Like many others, we are still achieving, growing and learning to do better. We are a family of 7 with 5 children ages 2-10 with a cat a fish.

Cleaners
Before Less Waste
Present
Dawn Dishsoap. Rated a “D” on EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.

Down East Dish Soap. Buy in large containers or find a bulk location to refill your own container. Down East has a program for that. Plant based, no harsh Chemicals. Container is destined for recycling/landfill. Can be reused repeatedly with refill station.

Clorox Bleach. Rated a “F” on EWG. Container Destined for recycling/landfill.
Nature Clean Oxygen Bleach. Rated a “A” on EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.
Liquid Tide Cold Water Detergent. Rated a “F” on EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.
The Farmer’s Wife Laundry Soap. Container can be returned to be reused and a small refund upon returning. Plant based ingredients and essential oils.
Finish Dishwasher Detergent. Rated a “D” on EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.
Nature Clean Dishwasher Powder. Packs are rated a “A” on EWG. Comes in a compostable box with just a sticker covering the opening.
Bounce Dryer Sheets. Rated a “D” on EWG. Sheets are waste not compostable.
Wool Dryer Balls. Wool is compostable and these balls are reusable. I find if I put synthetic clothing in the dryer (polyester especially) the clothes are super staticky. Those type of clothes hang to dry. Dryer time with these is cut down a little bit, 10 minutes. I put clothes pins on the balls to help with static. (pretty sure I could take them off since I found the tip about not putting synthetic clothing in the dryer)
Windex Spray Bottle/Refill bottle. Rated a “D” on EWG. Container is destined for recycling/landfill
The Farmer’s Wife Cleaning Soap. Container can be returned to be reused and a small refund upon returning. Plant based ingredients and essential oils.
Lysol Cleaner. Rated a “C” on EWG, but I could not find the specific kind in this picture. Many Lysol products are rated “F” on EWG.
The Farmer’s Wife Cleaning Soap. Container can be returned to be reused and a small refund upon returning. Plant based ingredients and essential oils.
Downy Fabric Softener. Rated an “F” on EWG. Container is destined for recycling/landfill.
Do not need this product. If need be, use a cup of Vinegar in the rinse cycle.
Tide Oxi Detergent. Rated a “F” on EWG. Container is destined for recycling/landfill.
Do not need this product. Bought it because it was cheaper than regular Tide.
Lysol Toilet Cleaner. Rated an “F” on  EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.
The Farmer’s Wife Cleaning Soap. Container can be returned to be reused and a small refund upon returning. Plant based ingredients and essential oils.
Febreeze. Not on the EWG. Do not need this cleaner. Do not need the container. Looking at the ingredients is enough to make me not buy it. Seeing Fragrance/Parfum is enough for me to say no. That ingredient is actually made of many ingredients, and by law, they do not need to be published to the public. Here is a documentary for a great example! Trailer for Stink!
Do not need this product
Arm and Hammer Carpet Deodorizer. Not on the EWG. Fragrance added.
Baking Soda. Same thing without the fragrance and extra packaging.
Comet Cleaner. Rated a “D” on EWG. Container is destined for landfill.
Baking Soda. So simple, just add a touch of water.
Scrub pads. Destined for landfill, packaging too.
Rag and baking soda. Soaking. Elbow Grease. Reuse the rag over and over, Cotton is compost. (dye free).
Cerama Bryte, Stove Top Cleaner. Not on the EWG. Container destined for recycling/landfill.
Baking Soda and Water Paste, again, so easy! If there is a stubborn spot, salt is a great abrasive too.
Paper products
Before Less Waste
Present
Cashmere Toilet Paper
Large Cashmere pack(24+) or Royale, (looking for the environmentally friendly choice)
Bounty Paper Towel
cotton rags
Kleenex or Scotties Tissues in a bulk package
Single tissue boxes(on sale) or single Swan tissues(cheapest) and Handkerchiefs
Toothpicks, Diamond
Toothpicks, Touch brand
Bags and other plastic
Before Less Waste
Present
Bread Bags
Breadbox
Small garbage bags
Xlg garbage bags
Compost Bags
Compost Bags
Xlg Blue Bags
Xlg Blue Bags
Parchment Paper
Don’t really use Parchment Paper anymore
Tin Foil
Rarely use Tin Foil anymore
Plastic Straw
Steele Straw

Ceran Wrap
Bees Wax Wraps and Containers
Glad/Ziplock Bags
Containers and Bees Wax Wraps
Bathroom
Before Less Waste
Present
Purel Refill Bottle
Purel Refill Bottle
Liquid Soft Soap Pump Bottle
Handmade Bar Soap(The Farmer’s Wife).
Menstrual Pads
DivaCup

Disposable Razors
Disposable Blade
Toothbrush
Toothbrush
Crest Toothpaste
Crest Complete, recyclable container
Kids Toothpaste
Kids Toothpaste
Dove body wash
Local bar soap(The Farmer’s Wife).

Shampoo + Conditioner

Shampoo Bar(The Farmer’s Wife)

Kids Shampoo, Loreal
Shampoo Bar (The Farmer’s Wife)

Johnsons’ Baby Body Wash
Local Bar soap (The Farmer’s Wife)
Body Spray + Perfume
Body Spray

Degree and Speed Deoderants
Homemade Deoderant
Foundation, mascara, eye and brow liner
Arrowroot and cocoa foundation, mascara, eye and brow liner, cocoa eye shadow
Johnsons’/Dove’s Baby Lotion
Shea Butter and cococut oil (2:1 ratio)
Pantry
Before Less Waste
Present
Gallio Olive Oil
Gallio Olive Oil
Compliments Canola Oil
Mazola Canola Oil
Mazola Vegetable Oil 2.8 litre
Mazola Vegetable Oil 2.8 litre
Compliments Vinegar 5%
Compliments Vinegar 5%
Gravy Packet
Bulk Barn
Taco Spice Packet
Taco spice Packet
Boullion Cube

Bulk Barn
K-cups
Bulk Barn ground coffee
Red Rose Tea
Red Rose Tea
Hot Chocolate Packets
Bulk Barn
Billy Bee Honey
Local PEI Honey

Molasses carton
Bulk Barn

Wrapped Chocolate Bars
Bulk Barn, Box board or tin foil wrapped
Compliments Ice Cream Cones
Compliments Ice Cream Cones
Candy
Bulk Barn or boxed

Uncle Bens White Rice
Bulk Barn

Canned Soups
Canned Soups
Spaghetti
Spaghetti
Lasagna

Lasagna

Ragu
Ragu
Taco Shells
Taco Shells
Compliments Bacon Bits
Bulk Barn

Fresh Gourmet Croutons
Bulk Barn

Nestea Iced Tea Powder
Canned Iced Tea
Panko Bread Crumbs
Bulk Barn

Mr. Noodles
Do not need this product
Knorr’s Side Kicks
Do not need this product
Kraft Dinner
Do not need this product
Pam spray oil can
Baking
Before Less Waste
Present
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
Bulk Barn
Salt
Bulk Barn
Compliments Vanilla extract
Club House Vanilla extract 455ml
Spices
Lots of kinds at Bulk Barn for refill
Redpath Sugar
Bulk Barn
Quaker Large Rolled Oats
Bulk Barn
Robin Hood Flour
Robin Hood Flour
Redpath Brown Sugar
Bulk Barn
Redpath Powder Sugar
Bulk Barn
Fry’s Cocoa
Bulk Barn
Magic Baking Powder
Bulk Barn
Fleischmann’s Corn Starch
Bulk Barn
Compliments Coconut
Bulk Barn
Sprinkles
Bulk Barn
Decorating Icing
Homemade

Fluffo Shortening
Bulk Barn
Breads and Breakfast
Before Less Waste
Present
Kraft Peanut Butter
Bulk Barn

Nutella
Homemade Hazelnut Spread
Homemade since 2016
Home made
Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
DIY
Corn Flakes
Corn Flakes
Cheerios
Bulk Barn, when available
Shreddies
Bulk Barn
Raison Bran
Bran Flakes and Raisons at Bulk Barn.

Snacks
Before Less Waste
Present
Compliments Granola Bars
DIY
Pretzels
Bulk Barn
Orville Boxed Popcorn
Bulk Barn
Mott’s Fruit Cups
Do not need this product
Almonds
Bulk Barn
Cashews
Bulk Barn
Pistachios
Bulk Barn
Peanuts
Bulk Barn
Crackers

Crackers

Grahm Crackers
Bulk Barn
Chips
Chips
Packaged Cookies
Homemade
Juice Box
Reusable container
Double Bubble Gumball Refill Carton
Bulk Barn
Rice Cake
Do not need this product
Goldfish Crackers
Do not need this product
Fruit and Vegetable
Before Less Waste
Present
Prince Edward Island Potatoes
Prince Edward Island Potatoes
Bulk onions in mesh bag
Single onions
Bulk Garlic in mesh bag
Single Garlic
Packaged Lettuce
Farmer’s market lettuce or single lettuce

Multiple Turnips in bag
Single Turnips
Packaged carrots
Single bunch of carrots from Farmers Market.

Berries in clam shell
Seasonal and local berries
Apples in bags
Buy in bulk single apples
Oranges in bag
Buy in bulk single oranges.

English Cucumbers
Local English Cucumber, no plastic requested
Frozen Veggies in bag
Buy in bulk fresh single string beans
Broccoli wrapped
Buy single broccoli with no wrapping
Peppers in bag
Buy single peppers
Refrigerator
Before Less Waste
Present
ADL Whole Milk and Chocolate Milk
ADL whole Milk and Chocolate Milk
ADL Coffee Cream
ADL Coffee Cream
ADL Sour Cream
ADL Sour Cream
Scotsburn Cottage Cheese
Scotsburn Cottage Cheese
Black Diamond Cheese
Black Diamond and Dairy Isle Cheese
Source, Yoplait Yogurt Tub
Homemade Yogurt
Iogo Nano Yogurt Drinks
Homemade Yogurt Drinks
Cesar Salad dressing
Cesar Salad dressing in a jar
Bold BBQ Sauce
BBQ Sauce in a jar
Jam
Jam in Jars or DIY

Kraft Parmesan Cheese
Bulk Barn
Aunt Jemima Syrup
Aunt Jemima Syrup and Real Maple Syrup, local
Eldo Paso Salsa
Eldo Paso Salsa
RealLemon Lemon Juice
Single Lemon
Miracle Whip
Miracle Whip
Blue Bonnet Margarine Squares
Compliments Margarine
Boxed canned Pop
Boxed Canned Pop
Becel
Compliments Margarine
Heinz Relish Container
Heinz Relish in jar
Compliment’s Mustard in container
Mustard in jar
Heinz Ketchup in container
Heinz Ketchup in large can
Feischmann’s Active Dry Yeast
Bulk Barn
Feischmann’s Instant Yeast
Bulk Barn

Heinz Worchestershire Sauce
Heinz Worchestershire Sauce
VH Soya Sauce
VH Soya sauce
HP Sauce
HP Sauce
Compliments Bacon
Pleasant Pork Bacon
Deli Meat Packaged
Deli Meat
Kolbassa Sausage packaged
Pleasant Pork Kolbassa Sausage
Compliments Hotdog
Compliments Hotdog
Eggs in Carton
Local free range eggs, return carton

Apple Juice
Five Alive Citrus Juice
Fruitopia Carton
Cans, if/when bought
Yoplait Yogurt Tubes
Do not need this product
Kraft single cheese slices
Do not need this product
Freezer
Before Less Waste
Present
Compliments Waffles
Homemade Waffles
Packaged Meat

Summerside Butcher Shop

Cavendish Farms French Fries
Cavendidh Farms French Fries
ADL or Scotsburn Ice Cream
ADL or Scotsburn Ice Cream
Freezies

Homemade slushies
Chocolate Chips
Bulk Barn
Bagels in bag
Single Bagels at Bakery
Pizzaronis
Pizzaronis
Arctic Garden Frozen Vegetables
Do not need these products
Medicine cabinet
Before Less Waste
Present
Coppertone Sunscreen
Coppertone Sunscreen
Ombrelle Sunscreen
Ombrelle Sunscreen
Off Bug Spray
The Farmer’s Wife, Bugger Off bar soap
Afterbite
Afterbite
Kids Tylenol
Kids Tylenol
Tylenol
Tylenol
Advil
Advil
Tums
Tums
Bag of Halls
Hall Stick
Arts and Crafts
Before Less Waste
Present
Pack Of Bubbles

DIY

Chalk small pack
Large Chalk Pack
Construction Paper
Construction Paper not wrapped
Crayola Paint, small size
Crayola Paint, large size
Crayons and Pencil Crayons
Crayons and Pencil Crayons
Markers
Markers
Googly Eyes, Pipe Cleaners, Pom Poms
On Hold
Stickers
On Hold
Glue Sticks

Homemade Glue
Baby Supplies
Before Less Waste
Present
Pampers Diapers
Cloth Dispers and Reusable Liners
Johnson’s Baby Powder
Arrowroot Powder, Bulk Barn

Homemade Paper Towel Wipes

Cloth Wipes
Vaseline for Baby
Coconut oil, Bulk Barn
Diaper Genii Refill bag
Do not need this product
Other Groceries
Before Less Waste
Present
Duracell Batteries
Duracell Batteries, hold charge longer
Tape
Masking tape

Brita Filter Cartridge
Brita Filter Cartridge
Gift Bags
Plain Gift Bags
Wrapping Paper
Plain Wrapping Paper
Balloons

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Paper Fans
Streamers
Paper streamers
Pets
Before Less Waste
Present
Cat Treat Bag
Cat Treat Container
Meow Mix Hard cat food
Meow Mix Hard cat food
Fancy Feast wet cat food boxed set
Fancy Feast wet cat food individual cans
Arm and Hammer Cat Litter, small box
Economy Cat, Natural clay

Tetramin Fish Food
Tetramin Fish Food
Nutrafin Fish tank Conditioner small size
Nutrafin Fish Tank Conditioner large size
Aqua-tech Fish Tank Filter
Aqua-tech Fish Tank Filter

A lot of our products at home have changed, but I think it is for the better. By changing what I buy (where and how) I find we are eating healthier too!! I would love to be able to make much more things from scratch, but a person only has so much time for everything, especially with a large household to look after as ours!

Items are still changing for the better. Some items I have a plan for change, just need time to adjust or find the right switch. I have learned that if you rush into making changes, mistakes are made resulting in more waste. Take your time but continue steadily.

You can follow our family’s weekly progress from start to present here, Managing Our Waste at Home page!