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5 Smart Strategies to Save Money, Reduce Waste

By Marie Oser, Managing Editor
July 20, 2009
File under: Saving money, Waste Reduction


Consider Packaging for Savings at Landfill and Check Out Register

One dollar of every ten-dollar purchase goes to the cost of packaging, and package waste accounts for more than half the trash in the U.S. These days, clever packaging can influence a purchasing decision and can be an important component in building brand recognition.

The purpose of packaging is to prevent damage and provide important information to the consumer about ingredients, usage, manufacturer and country of origin. Unfortunately, the ongoing quest to find new ways to safeguard food and transport products has become a slippery slope on the road to overload.

Smart shoppers know that packaging can add as much as 45 percent to the cost of a product. Shrink-wrapped, pre-cut produce on a plastic tray is twice as costly. Choosing popular prepackaged salad mixes can take a bite out of your food budget while adding to the avalanche of unnecessary package waste clogging our landfills.

Savvy shoppers choose the least packaged products available; a strategy that is both cost effective and practical.


1) Avoid trendy little water bottles.
Those ubiquitous water bottles contribute heavily to the glut of practically indestructible plastic polluting the planet. Invest in a water filtration system and durable metal type sports bottles instead.

2) Buy food staples in bulk. Natural food stores and coops stock bulk bins with varieties of rice, lentils, dried beans, fruit, nuts, seeds, and cereals. Buying in bulk is economical and convenient, allowing you to buy in exactly the amount you prefer.

3) Buy fabric softener and detergent and in “ultra” or concentrated strengths. Smaller containers mean fewer for the product itself and in shipping. Toothpaste packaged in conventional tubes produces 70 percent less waste than the pump-type toothpaste container. And you get almost two ounces more toothpaste in the tube then the pump.


4) Choose reusable totes to carry groceries instead of paper or plastic, to reduce waste and the toxic pollutants emitted in the manufacture of plastic bags, save trees, and avoid dependence on foreign suppliers of petroleum.

5) Breastfeed your babies! Mother’s milk comes in the best packaging of all and human milk straight from the breast is always sterile.

Breast-fed babies are less prone to childhood ailments, and don’t require all the unnecessary packaging and accessories associated with bottle-fed babies (click here to learn more). Commercial baby formula costs over $1,000 in the first year. Nurse your baby and you will be giving away at least 1,100 calories a day, and that means you will get back in shape a lot sooner… and it’s free! Click here for some tips on effective breastfeeding.

Click here to learn more about your Carbon Footprint.

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