We all know that we create too much waste. In Belgium, each inhabitant on average produces around 500kg of household waste every year. That’s about 1.5kg of waste per person every day! This is bad for nature and our health. What is less known however is that almost half of that waste is just packaging!
The solution: package-free shopping where products are not wrapped or using reusable packaging.
Packaging of fruit and vegetables has a function. It protects products during their travels so they’ll stay nice and fresh for longer. This means that less produce is wasted when crops have to travel further. In fact, the shorter the supply chain, the lower the chance of food waste. This is one of the reasons bulk stores often try to choose local producers. You can buy flour, pasta or rice for yourself or your family from a farmer a few kilometres away. In this way, you also support the farmers close to home.
Organic fruits and vegetables are also usually wrapped in plastic to prevent contamination from crops that have been sprayed with chemicals. In most cases, however, the packaging is superfluous and actually serves more of a marketing purpose than protective.
In packaging-free shops you can do your shopping for yourself or your family without creating loads of waste. You also avoid wasting food by not over buying. So how does it work? You bring your own vessel (jars, bags, …) and fill them in the shop. If you have forgotten yours, then you can use one of the recyclable paper bags on offer in the shop, or buy empty jars and bottles.
Bulk stores often work with local suppliers to limit transport and avoid food waste.
By opting for a packaging-free shop, you can cut your waste production in half. Better for the environment, your health and local farmers!
Check out the map to discover packaging-free shops in your area.