It’s no secret that single-use plastics are polluting the natural landscape. Petroleum-based, these one-time use bags, bottles and wraps can last anywhere from 20-1000 years in a landfill before they finally biodegrade.
One of the best ways to cut down on your single-use plastic consumption is to keep it out of your house altogether. Much of our household plastic comes in the form of packaging, especially from food products. Today’s blog post will be centered on specific ways that you can cut down on how much single-use plastic you bring home from the grocery store each week.
At Cub, a whole pineapple will set you back just $3.99. Assuming a whole pineapple (conservatively) weighs 32oz, this brings the price to $0.125/oz. By comparison, 12oz of pre-packaged pineapple at Cub costs $4.99, or $0.416/oz.
At Target, whole mangoes sell for $1.19 each. Assuming a medium mango weighs 8oz, this is a per ounce price of $0.149. Meanwhile, the pre-cut mango option is sold in a 15 ounce package for $5.99, or $0.399/oz.
The second major drawback associated with pre-cut produce is that the fruit’s natural packaging-- in the form of a peel or skin -- is removed and replaced by a single-use plastic container. That pre-cut pomegranate may save you 10 minutes of time now, but the plastic clamshell packaging will take upwards of 10 years to biodegrade under perfect conditions. If cutting up labor intensive produce (read: pineapples, mangoes, and pomegranates) daily seems daunting, try setting aside one day a week to prep your produce for the week. Personally, I’ve found that dedicating a half hour post-shopping trip to wash and cut all my produce saves lots of time in the coming week or two. By taking the simple steps of slicing peppers and washing spinach in advance, you are also able to save a lot of time when it comes to weeknight food prep. And of course, by storing this produce in eco-friendly containers (see point one), you are also going the extra mile to cut down on your household single use plastic waste.
These are just a few ways in which you can use your weekly grocery trips as an avenue toward more conscious, sustainable living. But don’t be afraid to get creative: are there other ways that you can get creative to reduce your waste at the grocery store?
Included in this article are links to examples of alternative products as well as websites with additional information. Minneapolis Climate Action is not affiliated with any of these sites. We are simply working to provide you with the information and resources needed for you to make informed, conscious decisions.
Outreach & Policy Intern
Minneapolis Climate Action