Best Ways to Reduce Waste – Refillable Containers

Every time a new product is made it takes a lot of resources – raw materials, energy to manufacture and fuel to transport to the store.  Reducing and reusing is one of the most effective ways to conserve natural resources. And there are actually a few easy ways to start and make an impact!

It turns out that there have always been places where we can shop and avoid single-use containers.  Below are a few ideas but once you start to look you’ll find other ways to reduce unnecessary packaging.  It does take a little more time and planning but it’s worth it.

Below are my personal suggestions:

    • The Portsmouth Health Food Store: Bring your own container for coffee, tofu, nuts, grains, shampoo, conditioner and more. Be sure the cashier weighs the container before you fill it so you aren’t paying for its weight. Check out local health food stores.
    • Hannafords: I bring my clean plastic olive container and refill it (they probably wouldn’t allow this but who’s to know?)
    • Golden Harvest:  Buy local milk in glass bottles and pay a deposit for the bottle, all the veggies and fruit can be bagged in bags from home.
    • Terra Cotta Pasta: Olive oil and balsamic vinegar (buy the bottle the first time and then refill)  for years I reuse the plastic container for olives but have been told that’s no longer allowed, they’ve changed to compostable containers, but that only works if you remove their labels and put it in an industrial composter like Mr. Fox.
    • Harris Farm: From Dayton, ME, milk will be delivered to your door weekly in reusable glass bottles, 6-quart minimum and $3 delivery fee.
    • Make your own yogurt: It’s easy once you figure out the timing, and it is delicious.
    • Make your own carbonated water(Soda Stream is one brand name) so no more seltzer bottles in the Clink! bag.
    • We Fill Good: Has opened up across from the Golden Harvest.  It supplies goods, like shampoo and conditioner, and you supply the container.  No more single-use bottles and plastic containers that are disposed of after one use.
    • Farmers Markets: there are many reasons to support our local agriculture and the ability to buy everything without packaging is one of them.  If you want to separate your potatoes from your onions, reuse plastic bags from home or use cloth bags.
    • Cafes: only allow yourself a coffee out if you stay and use their mugs or bring your own reusable mug.

Look at your recycling container and start imagining it empty because you no longer use single-use containers.  It’s a great feeling.

Hilary Clark

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