bananasPackaging bananas in bags is......BANANAS!Here in Bermuda the vast majority of the waste we produce is destined to be burnt at the Tynes Bay Incinerator, which at last count burns over 60,000 tons of trash a year. Most of the trash we produce is a by-product of our consumption, the packaging for consumable goods.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that "in most parts of the developed world, packaging constitutes as much as one-third of the non-industrial solid waste produced." Don't forget we have also already paid for the packaging to be shipped to Bermuda!

So, what actions can we take as individuals to reduce the amount of trash we, and cumulatively Bermuda, produce? The following are a few tips to get you started:

Don't package it twice: It is a common sight in Bermuda supermarkets to see rolls of single-use plastic produce bags, which are used in their multiples each and every visit to the grocery store to hold the vegetables and fruit you are buying. As most fruits & vegetables, bananas, avocados, onions, potatoes, etc., come with their own packaging, why put them into more bags for the short journey from the grocery store to your home?

butternutBuy WHOLE fruit & veg. It's cheaper and will stay fresh longer.YOU CAN bring your own dedicated produce bags when you go shopping. These can simply be clean reusable shopping bags, or custom reusable produce bags specifically designed to hold and then store the produce you purchase. Either way, remember to also say No Thanks! if offered additional bagging at the checkout.

YOU CAN avoid buying pre-packaged/ bagged vegetables or fruits. Buying individually displayed produce will not only allow you to cut down on the packaging, but also allow you to choose the best and freshest produce to bring home. Remember also that the freshest produce on the island is locally grown, and found at farmers stalls island-wide. Imported produce travels thousands of miles to get to Bermuda, and loses its freshness and nutritional qualities on its way.

chickenAsk your butcher to wrap in paper instead of plastic.YOU CAN ask to have your meat wrapped in butcher's paper instead of using a styrofoam tray and plastic wrap. Most butchers will do this even if they automatically reach for a tray. And many of the pre-wrapped joints of meat or chicken are well heat-sealed and have no need of an extra plastic bag - so remember to say "No Thanks" to that at check-out.

Reusable Egg Cartons: Like most households you probably buy a carton or more of eggs a week, so what do you do with the used cartons?

YOU CAN support local farmers and buy either Windy Bank Farm or Wadson's Farm eggs. Both of these farms accept & reuse their egg cartons. You can drop off your collected egg cartons at Windybank Farm Market every Saturday from 6:30 until 12 Noon. Wadson's Farm is open from 10am - 6pm Tue - Fri, and on Saturdays from 9am - 1pm, and they have a large wooden box outside the store for you to place your returned egg cartons or lettuce clam shells.

coffee podsChoose reusable filters over disposable pods.Single-serve Coffee pods: The one-cup coffee pod or k-cup, has become increasingly popular locally in offices and homes alike. While very convenient, they are not at all an environmentally friendly way to drink coffee. It is estimated that in the US alone, 9.1 billion, 19 million cubic feet of these pods, wind up in US landfills each year. Here in Bermuda they are destined to be burnt at Tynes Bay with the rest of our waste. So what options do you have if you already own a single-serve machine?

YOU CAN purchase reusable filters and at least eliminate the waste produced by the disposable pods. Better yet: a french press, regular filter coffee or an espresso machine are lower waste choices. To further make your coffee drinking greener, purchase locally roasted beans, grind them yourself for full flavor and freshness. Not only will your coffee taste that much better, you have helped further eliminate a lot of plastic packaging.

There are many things that you probably do already, or can do to help reduce the amount of trash Bermuda produces. Help spread the message, and share your ideas with us by joining us on and posting your suggestions, also take a look at for more ideas, and at the Say No Thanks! to Single-Use Bags page for more information.

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