From orange juice and milk cartons to Pringles cans, the average camper creates a lot of trash by eating.
In fact, it’s not just campers. Just a simple stroll around the grocery store will tell you that great swaths of our landfills are made up of convenience food packaging.
But if you’re looking for new ideas on how to reduce waste, the secret might be simpler than you think: Don’t just throw away those “disposable” packages. Repurpose them into reusable food containers!
Examples of How to Reduce Waste
One of the easiest ways to reduce waste at home is to recycle the stuff you’re already using. And even if you clean and sort every last tin can and water bottle, there’s more you can do.
If you want to reduce daily waste, try rethinking whether or not a given object needs to be “wasted,” so to speak. You might be surprised at how many purposes you can come up with for simple everyday objects!
How to Reduce Packaging Waste
Wondering how to reuse waste materials and reduce your environmental impact? Here are some simple, but crazy-clever ideas you’ll be shocked you didn’t already think of.
1. Candy Tins
Constantly chewing on mints or gum that come in those tiny metal tins with hinged lids? Do not, I repeat, DO NOT throw them away!
Especially in a cramped RV environment, these little tins are a perfect way to get organized. Say goodbye to that scary, jumbled junk drawer!
2. Ice Cream Cartons
After you’re done with your frozen indulgence, get a little crafty to create customized picnic baskets, purses, or treasure boxes for everyone in your family. (If you really want to hack the system, keep the kids busy by inviting them to participate in the artsy-craftsy fun. Perfect for a rainy camping day!)
3. Soda bottles
If you buy soda in two-liter bottles, think twice before you send those plastic containers to the recycling bin. You’d be surprised how many creative uses you might come up with for them, like this adorable automatic pet feeder!
4. Jelly Jars
Jellies and jams come in high-quality glass containers with screw-on lids that are perfect for all sorts or repurposing, from the cute succulent planters pictured above (thanks, Home Jelly!) to simply storing other foods. Whatever you do, don’t put them in the trash!
Reusable Containers for Food
Here’s an idea: Use leftover food storage containers… to contain and store other foods!
5. Yogurt Containers
If you buy one of those two-pound containers of yogurt, there’s absolutely no reason to ditch that nice plastic container. It’s even got a perfectly-fitting reusable lid!
Aside from storing other refrigerated foods in there, you can also repurpose yogurt containers as dry good storage for grains like rice and beans, or even take it out of the kitchen entirely. Here are a bunch of great ideas for reusing yogurt containers from CubeSmart.
6. Plastic Juice Bottles
The best thing about buying the fancy orange juice and lemonades that come in those nice plastic jugs — you get a reusable, pourable storage container in the bargain. (Hey, free is way better than almost $10, right?)
These guys are obviously perfect for other liquids, whether that’s cucumber water or sangria, as well as pourable dry goods like cereal or pet food.
7. Spaghetti Cheese Cans
Once you’re through with that Parmesan, don’t just toss it out. You can repurpose these containers for nuts, candy, and other dry goods. Just ditch the wrapper so you can see how much you have left!
8. Coffee Creamer Bottles
If you’re a java fiend, you’ve got a steady supply of perfectly pourable storage containers at hand — literally. Coffee creamer bottles can be used to store other liquids, snacks like nuts and candy, or even, as in this picture, pre-cracked eggs ready and waiting to be scrambled up for breakfast. Yum!
Check out this and several other inventive ways to reuse coffee creamer bottles at Lifeaspire.com.
Cheap Reusable Food Containers
If you’re looking for another great way to be eco-friendly in your RV’s kitchen, consider purchasing reusable plastic food containers and simply avoiding the processed foods that come in the packages described above. It’s been remarked that the healthiest foods are on the perimeter of the grocery store — that’s where you’ll find all the fresh produce, meat, and dairy — so by avoiding foods in boxes, bags, and cartons, you can help your own health as well as mother Earth’s!
There are plenty of different types and styles of reusable food containers to choose from, but for RVers, we recommend ones that are easily stackable and square or rectangular in shape. These use space in the most efficient manner possible, which will allow you to maximize how much delicious, nutritious food you can store in your RV’s small kitchen and refrigerator.
You might also choose glass reusable food containers in order to avoid chemicals that can be present in certain plastics, as well as to avoid staining from foods like tomato sauce or stew. Here are a few great camper-friendly sets of reusable food storage containers we found on Amazon. (Best of all, they’re all pretty affordable!)
Freezer and microwave friendly, these plastic containers are perfect if you’re looking to start up a meal prep routine. And you can get a set of 50 for under $20!
Airtight and high quality, these BPA free storage containers are perfect for even the most concerned and careful consumer — or parent.
If it’s glass you’re after, you can’t go wrong with this set of 18 containers of various sizes by Utopia kitchen. Snap-on lids are super secure and easy to use, and the whole thing is less than $30.
Bon appetit, campers!
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