by Pamela Lundquist
Avoid single-use, disposable packaging.
Bring cloth bags to your supermarket to carry groceries home.
Buy in bulk, whenever possible. Purchasing the least-packaged option sends a clear message to manufacturers and retailers alike.
Choose refillable containers. Glass, for example, can be reused for food storage.
Choose packaging that's made from truly recyclable materials: paper, glass, metal cans. (Purchasing recycled paper products completes the recycling loop.)
Bring your own container to salad bars, yogurt shops, etc. -- any place you'll be served in plastic.
For wrapped foods, choose butcher paper, waxed paper or cellulose bags. Reuse aluminum foil whenever possible.
Choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE) whenever plastic cannot be avoided. These are the most commonly recycled plastics.
Avoid plastics that aren't readily recyclable: #3 (PVC), #4 (LDPE), #5 (PP), #6 (PS), #7 ("Other").
Choose storage containers made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel (where appropriate). These can be reused endlessly.
Microwave foods and drinks in oven-proof glass or ceramic and cover with an oven-proof glass lid or plate. Never let plastic wrap touch food while in the microwave!
Avoid plastics that leach questionable chemicals: #3 (PVC), #6 (PS), #7 ("Other," usually polycarbonate).
Avoid plastic cutlery and dinnerware. Use stainless steel utensils and look for recycled paper products.
When purchasing cling-wrapped foods from the supermarket or deli, slice off a thin layer where the food came into contact with the plastic and store the rest in a glass or ceramic container, or non-PVC cling wrap (see Products).