Switching to reusable and refillable packaging has been a game-changer when it comes to reducing packaging waste in our kitchen. But I get that it can be a bit of a mindtangle... it's hard to know where to start and I know I felt a bit awkward the first few times I took my reusables. But once you get the hang of it, I reckon you'll be amazed at how damn good it feels.
Here are just a few of the ways I use reusables:
For evening meals, we phone ahead and ask if we can BYO containers - and then just make sure we get there 5 mins early to hand them over. Lidded containers are great or sometimes I even use pots! For things like sushi or cafe snacks I'll often just rock up with a plate from the office.
I always hit my local bulkstore with a stash of jars, bags, and containers. The first time I went, I just bought one item to get the hang of things - I started with popping corn. Now I refill my own containers with peanut butter, spices, flour, seeds, nuts, pasta, rice, dried fruit, muesli,
kombucha...the list goes on.
Our local butchery loves it when we bring our own containers.
For the kid's birthday parties, I BYO bags for confectionery from supermarket bulk bins.
I go armed with containers to our local farmers market when I need some fancy cheese.
Yep I even BYO containers to get ice cream sometimes. We have a local shop that does take-home packs of ice cream and they're always happy to serve it in my container instead.
I'm constantly amazed at what I can use my own containers for - it's often just a case of having the conversation (sometimes I feel more comfortable ringing in advance).
Oh and of course, I always make sure my containers are sparkling clean before I hand them over.
If you want a bit of a head start - here are a few handy guides:
A quick video of how to use reusables
The amazing Zero Waste Shopping Guide from the incredible humans at The Rubbish Trip.
The go-to Cafe Guide from the amazing team at UYO - listing cafes all over NZ that welcome reusables.
It doesn't where or how you start with reusables, just pick something and give it a whirl. Why wouldn't you? As my friend Jo said the first time she took her reusable container to get sushi - "it just made me feel really awesome, and now I'm hooked."