Feeling some eco-guilt about the amount of food packaging in your life?  We share our favourite hacks to give food packaging a second life.

Unable to make it to your local farmers market or bulk-food-buy shop, then find yourself wandering around a supermarket, shopping trolley loaded with packaged food? Bananas, which come in their own natural sunny wrapping, all packaged up with cling-wrap on a styrofoam tray?! Seriously?!  Rest up and lay off the guilt trip as there are ways to give inevitable food packaging a second life.  YFM shows you how…it’s as easy as re-using before recycling before throwing that packaging out. Yeh!

So what you can do…

Jars. We love jars! Possibly the easiest packaging to re-use: store food, use as a takeaway coffee/tea cup,  use as a vase, candle  holder, storage canisters, donate to your local food co-op…we could go on and on and on and on about our jar re-use love!

Egg Cartons. Save these up and either donate to your local food co-op for customers to use, take them back to the egg farmer at your farmers markets, use as a seedling starter tray or add to the arts and crafts stash for your local pre-school.

Zip lock bags. If you have a packet or have bought dry ingredients that come pre-packaged in zip-lock bags  simply wash, dry*  and re-use.  The zip-locked bags that come as part of pre-packaged food are made from a hardier plastic so if you are a fan of the zip-lock bag to prevent messy leaks it’s worth saving these, rather than throwing them out and cheaper too than buying new zip-lock bags. Double win!

* As a side note, if you have tiles behind the sink and you’ve just washed the zip-lock, just smack it on the wall and it’ll stick. You’ll know when it’s dry when it’s fallen off.

Styrofoam produce trays. Save these up and add to the nice collection you’re making for your local pre-school – they are perfect as paint palettes.

Foil. Depending on how icky it gets from the food it has covered, try washing, drying, flattening and re-using!

Cans.  Wash, dry and then decorate to use as storage canisters or get crafty and upcycle for a pretty tea-light holder.

Plastic shopping bags.  Use as bin liners or at at the very least save them, reuse for your next shop or if they are holey take back to your supermarket and place in their plastic bag recycling bins.

Plastic punnets. Check and see if the punnet has holes in the bottom of it.  If not save for your local pre-school or if they do have holes…do the right thing and recycle.

Aluminum lasagna pans. If not too saucey…wash, dry and reuse as a grill pan.

Fruit nets.  Simply remove any plastic or metal clips/ties, bundle up and using rubber bands or dental floss secure into a ball to use as a washing up scrubber.

Takeaway coffee cups. No KeepCup handy and lover of the odd takeaway long black coffee or tea?  Save the clean second outer takeaway cup that your friendly barista will serve you and take back for your next hot drink or stash for your local pre-school to use for their arts and crafts days. Have an aspiring green thumb? Use these as seedling starter pots to get your baby plants sprouting!

Image credit: @a.lagom.life

Maya Joachim

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