It doesn’t cost money, but our environment can stay much cleaner. If we finally stopped using plastic bags, everyone would benefit from it. With a few small tricks, we can do a lot for a common goal!
Although the Hungarian government said goodbye to most disposable plastics in the summer of 2021, disposable grocery bags remained, and people clearly don’t want to part with plastic bags.
There are several reasons for this: on the one hand, plastic bags are free in many places (for example, when buying fruits and vegetables in the supermarket), on the other hand, we often do unplanned shopping trips, so when we are at the counter, we automatically reach for the bags placed there.
Yet we can do a lot to reduce plastic pollution: it is already a good start to buy unpackaged products. This may sound daunting at first, but it does not require serious effort - you can start package-free shopping with minimal preparation following the points below and taking steps for sustainability.
Goodbye, grocery bag! The above problem can be overcome by bringing a washable, reusable bag instead of a plastic bag. You can buy them, but it’s cheaper to sew some for yourself: old pillowcases, cloth, leftover curtain fabric can be used, but actually any fabric will do. Their use is facilitated by the fact that in most supermarket chains you can select the type of packaging on the fruit and vegetable scales, and in the case of foods whose peel will be removed anyway (e.g. watermelon, melon, banana, ginger), or those with larger stems (zucchini, eggplant), you don’t even need a bag. Apply the sticker directly onto the vegetables and fruits!
Avoid pre-packaged products! Obviously, it isn’t about not buying toothpaste in tubes, or even taking milk home by hand from now on but try to avoid unnecessary packaging when possible. Using the example above, instead of pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, choose products that can be put in your own bag!
Try to shop in stores offering unpackaged products! They do exist. In these small shops, everything is packaging-free, from raspberry syrup to almonds and soap. You can buy recyclable bottles and containers in the shop, but you can also stop throwing away mason jars, wash them out and use them when shopping. In such stores, you can get a lot of products without packaging; it is up to you how far you go with your packaging-free life.
Always have a canvas bag with you! Or a basket, it doesn't really matter. The point is to always have something like this with you, otherwise you pay a small fortune in the shop for paper bags when doing impromptu shopping. A paper bag degrades more easily than plastic, but it is still not a completely environmentally friendly solution. Therefore, it is best to use a bag or basket many times during its lifetime.
Have a shopping list! In fact, if you can, compile a shopping list for the entire week ahead. This is useful not only because it makes shopping more conscious, which limits impulse shopping that, in turn, saves money, but also because you can plan your shopping trips to the above-mentioned non-packaging shops and producer markets.
State at the counter that you do not need packaging! Or if you do, put that 100-gramme block of cheese on paper rather than in a plastic bag ...
Packaging-free shopping, even if not done perfectly, makes the fight for sustainability more effective. Even by following the first two points, you can significantly reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. As a result, less packaging is produced, and thus there will be less artificial material that are difficult to degrade, even in the short term.
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