Wasteless Ways: Bring Your Own Container

You go to the store or the butcher, pick out your cut of meat or deli item, the assistant packages your goods in a bag or tray, attaches a label, then you buy it at the check out where it is packed in a plastic bag and then you go home.  At home you use the food and then immediately throw away the bag, tray and plastic bag – or use them once and then it all goes to landfill.  Apparently Western Australians are one of the largest producers of waste per person in the world! Not surprising given the scenario above, so what do we do about it?
That’s just how you do it, isn’t it?
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The alternative is actually very simple – bring your own containers!

You can bring any clean food grade container you have from home to the store to get your goods.  I have taken tupperware, disposable plastic takeaway containers that I’ve reused until they died, glass or metal containers with good lids and wide mouth jars.  So long as it is clean, it can be used.
The steps:
  1. Take your container to the counter and hand it to the assistant asking for your item to go in the container
  2. The assistant will place your container on the scale and press TARE (this sets the scale to zero so that you only pay for the weight of your food item)
  3. The assistant will then fill your container, weigh your food item and print or note the price
  4. You can ask for the printed label to be attached to your container – they come off easy enough
  5. Then take it to the cashier as normal
When you get home the container of food is stored as normal but at the end you don’t have all the waste. Simple!
By far the scariest part of this is asking the assistant to put your item in the container the first time.  If you go to Swan Valley Market – deli or butcher,  Hills Seafood or JB Butcher (Glen Forrest) they will be happy to help – they have been doing this for Jeannie and I for some time now 🙂  You can blame us if you like – “Jeannie and Amanda of Wasteless Pantry told me to try this“… I’ve had plenty of people comment that it is a great idea to bring your own container, it is much easier to store in the freezer and fridge because it stacks nicely without getting stuck together, and often times I can serve deli items straight from the container which is a little time saver.
Yes you need to plan your trip, but given that that is such an important practice in reducing food wastage you are killing two birds with one stone.

So we challenge you – for just one purchase this week, take your own container and then post a picture on our Facebook page or leave us a comment about whether you would do it again.

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5 thoughts on “Wasteless Ways: Bring Your Own Container

  1. I just tried this at my local woolies – their policy was: staff cannot pack the items into resusable containers (it has to be done by the customer themselves) due to health hygiene etc. This was fine with me…until it meant that they had to weigh the produce by first placing a plastic liner on the scales, then using the liner to pass the produce to me so I could be the one to put it into the container. Plastic liner then gets thrown away!!

    • There seems to be a lot of variation between stores and even more education needed too! My suggestion is to go where you get what you need without packaging and where you are able to put your money toward retailers doing the right thing. It really depends on your location but generally there should be someone around that will be more helpful. Good luck!

  2. Hi, how does the butcher pick up the meat from the deli shelves? My butcher uses a plastic bag.. how do I avoid the use of the plastic bag to pick the meat up?

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