Daily purchases and the environment

The goods and services you buy and use on a daily basis, such as your morning coffee, have a direct impact on the environment. Be proactive: consider how you can help prevent pollution or waste when buying food and other items.

On this page

Preventing food waste

There are many ways you can prevent food waste and save on food costs.

  • Make a grocery list before you go to the grocery store. This will help you remember items needed and help you avoid buying too much of one item.
  • Make a meal plan to help you buy only what you need when you go to the store.
  • Keep track of expiry dates, ensuring that you consume food prior to expiry. For more information on reading food date labels, visit Health Canada's website.
  • Save leftovers and compost scraps to lessen the amount of food waste you create.
  • Grow your own fruit and vegetables in a garden at home, or get involved with a community garden in your neighbourhood.
  • Shop at local businesses and buy only what you need. Avoid buying perishable foods in bulk, which is associated with increased rates of food waste.
  • Consider eating and buying locally or regionally grown foods to reduce pollution. Check the food labels or grocery store signage to determine where the food was grown.

For more information, check out the Healthy eating and the environment, as well as the Food loss and waste pages on Canada.ca

Preventing packaging waste

Before you buy a product, look at the type of packaging that it comes in.

Recyclable packaging

Many items for purchase are wrapped in paper and plastic. You can check to see which of these can later be recycled, repurposed or composted.

Single-use packaging

Many types of plastic are not compostable or recyclable, so be aware of the types of products you are buying and disposing of. Consider buying products with little to no packaging to reduce the amount of waste you produce.

Buying non-perishable foods in bulk may help to reduce waste associated with single-use packaging. You may also consider using a refillable water bottle instead of purchasing one that is single-use, as well as taking your own bags to the grocery store.

For more information on single-use packaging, please visit pollution and waste management.

Pollution prevention resource finder

Looking for more practical pollution prevention tips, tools and guidance? The Pollution prevention resource finder (P2 Finder) is Canada's one-stop database of online pollution prevention resources.