Posts tagged "wrapping"

Green Halloween: how can I reduce the amount of sweet/candy wrapping?

Continuing in our Green Halloween series…

What with food safety issues and all the urban legends about razor blades & whatnot, nearly all trick-or-treat treats these days are shop-bought and individually wrapped – possibly the worst way to eat sweets or chocolate in terms of packaging waste, especially as it’s mostly plastic wrappers which can’t be recycled.

Do you do anything to minimise the amount of sweetie packaging you give out – or collect?

What are the most reusable or recyclable options?

One way of to reduce, of course, is to opt out of the whole trick or treating thing altogether – but are there any other alternatives?

And while we’ve covered this before in the long dim and distant past, any new reusing/upcycling ideas for the wrappers – transparent ones like in the picture or opaque ones used on mini chocolate bars etc?

(Photo by eisenbahner)

How can I reuse or recycle waxed paper sliced bread wrapping?

This one came to me in my sleep the other night – the waxed paper type wrapping you get on some loaves of sliced bread. I obsessed about it until morning so I wouldn’t forget to write it down and let me tell you, I had some weird packaging related dreams that night.

ANYWAY, waxed paper bread packaging. We’ve had bread bags and the film stuff from fancy fresh supermarket baked bread but not the waxed paper option. It’s not as common as it used to be but some brands still use it across the board.

The wrapping is not currently recyclable but carefully opened, it can be opened out into a decent size wipeable sheet. It can then be reused for it’s original purpose again and again – wrapping around homemade bread or sandwiches – but has anyone done anything more involved with it?

From a reduce point of view, you could make you own packaging-free bread or source packaging-free bread from a local baker/independent store. If you have to rely on supermarket but also have decent plastic recycling facilities in your area, you might prefer to buy bread in easy-to-recycle plastic bags – that seems to call back to our discussion the other week, about whether or not you choose to buy things with more packaging or in this case packaging which on the face of it seems worse for the environment (paper versus plastic) but is actually easier to recycle.

How can I reuse or recycle wine gift bags?

We’ve covered reuses for old gift bags in general before but Meri emailed asking about one particular type:

I have a growing collection of wine bags – mostly paper – that are too nice to toss.

How can I recycle them – get them to people who might reuse them?

Most people I know reuse wine bags (and all gift bags) as many times as they can while they’re still in good enough condition to pass on. There is a bit of a tradition in my family to leave gift tags bare or written using a soft pencil to facilitate multiple uses.

If you’d rather not re-uses them yourself and have a number to give away, offer them on your local Freecycle/Freegle list. Scrap stores would probably welcome them with open arms too, as would organisers of local charity events like tombola or raffles, to make the prizes fancier/more mysterious.

Any other suggestions on where to pass them on? And what about reuses for the tall thin gift bags like these?

How can I reuse or recycle plastic deli counter wrapping?

We’ve had an email from Iona:

The deli counter at Sainsburys insists on wrapping every item in its own yards of plastic wrap including multiple plastic sheets and then the plastic bag. Can they be recycled with carrier bags?

Plastic bags are usually made from polyethylene – which can be high-density (HDPE – resin code 2) or low-density (LDPE – resin code 4). I’m not certain – so please correct me if I’m wrong – but I believe the plastic bags from food counters are LDPE. LDPE is collected for recycling in many areas but you might want to check with your local council to see if you can add it to your doorstep recycling, or if you’re using a carrier bag drop at a supermarket, see if there is any information on the box about that sort of thing.

Before thinking about reuses and recycling ideas though, try to reduce if you can. Ask them to use a single sheet if they must use one at all or swap to non-deli items with more recyclable packaging – although that’s easier said than done because so many refrigerator items from supermarkets come in hard to recycle plastic. (Our little independent butcher in Leeds used as much plastic as any supermarket counter I’ve ever seen too.) I know some people (Mrs Green from My Zero Waste for example) take reusable tubs for the deli people to use instead – I suspect stores’ policies will vary on whether or not they let people do this but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Has anyone any advice on getting the fresh food counter people to cut back on the amount of plastic or use tubs you’ve brought from home?

And are there any reuse ideas for plastic sheets etc?