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How to Shop like a Conscious Consumer

Interested in learning how to shop like a conscious consumer? With the new year present, there is no better time than now! A key element to conscious consumerism is sustainable shopping. To shop sustainably you first need to consider the environmental impact of both products and packaging before making a purchase. And, since most products must be packaged before being sold, it’s crucial to also consider the impact of packaging from a full life cycle. Check out the 3 tips below to learn how to shop like a conscious consumer. 

1. Consider the full life cycle impact of packaging. 

Three key components should be recognized to understand the full life cycle.

  • Manufacturing: materials, energy and water used, and emissions generated
  • Use: transportation costs, shelf life, and potential waste
  • End of life: recycling potential versus landfill waste generated

Oftentimes, many different packaging types exist for the same product. Before you decide which one to grab, consider these facts about different types of packaging for various products. 

  • Baby food packaging:
    • When glass jars are manufactured, they use 1,294% more water than stand-up flexible pouches
    • Compared to flexible pouches, 30% more plastic thermoformed tubs end up in landfills after use.
  • Coffee packaging: A steel can and plastic canister respectively use 453% and 518% more fossil fuel than a stand-up flexible pouch.
  • Ketchup packaging: The manufacturing of PET bottles produces 58.8% more greenhouse gas emissions than flexible, inverted pouches. 

As you can see, items in flexible packaging are a sustainable option for shoppers!

2. Explore options offered by your favorite retailers.  

Today, brands and retailers focus on reducing their environmental footprint. However, do you spend time actually looking into the steps they take toward sustainability? Many retailers offer in-store drop off programs to help consumers recycle plastic that can’t go into the curbside bin.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for product packaging with a How2Recycle label on items such as grocery, produce, and bread bags, and sometimes on plastic wraps, plastic mailers, and cereal bags. Visit this link to see what is accepted through the How2Recycle program.

Another great resource to use is the TerraCycle database to find local recycling options for different types of flexible packaging, along with anything else you wish to recycle! Just select items you wish to recycle (plastic bags and film, six pack rings, or reusable bags) and type in your address to find stores near you that have a drop-off location. 

3. Chose Reusable Packaging 

Recycling isn’t always an option, but that doesn’t mean it has to go straight to the trash! As a matter of fact, the U.S. EPA Waste Hierarchycites source reduction, or being able to reuse packaging, as the most preferred method for waste management. One of the many benefits of flexible packaging is that it can be reused for many different items! By deciding to reuse the packaging that your products are stored in, you’ll be playing your part as a conscious consumer. Check out this blog post for 16 different ways to reuse flexible packaging. 

By adopting the 3 tips listed above, you’ll be ready to start shopping like a conscious consumer today! For more information about flexible packaging, visit our resources page here

Find Your Local Flexible Packaging Recycling Location