How to avoid plastic packaging while provisioning
How to avoid plastic packaging while provisioning

Reducing plastic waste while provisioning is crucial for sailors who want to protect the ocean and make a positive impact on the environment.

How to Avoid Plastic Packaging While Provisioning

As sailors who have chosen to leave the rat race behind and embrace the open sea, we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment. One of the most significant ways we can do this is by reducing our plastic waste, particularly when it comes to provisioning our boats. In this article, we will explore practical tips and strategies for avoiding plastic packaging while stocking up on supplies for your sailing adventures.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Problem: Plastic Pollution
  2. Planning Your Provisioning
  3. Shopping Tips for Reducing Plastic Waste
  4. Reusable Containers and Bags
  5. Bulk Buying and DIY Solutions
  6. Supporting Eco-Friendly Brands
  7. Disposing of Waste Responsibly
  8. Conclusion

Understanding the Problem: Plastic Pollution

Before diving into the practical tips, it’s essential to understand the problem we’re trying to solve. Plastic pollution is a global crisis, with millions of tons of plastic waste entering our oceans every year. This waste has devastating effects on marine life, as well as the health of our oceans and the planet as a whole.

As sailors, we have a unique connection to the ocean and a responsibility to protect it. By reducing our plastic waste, we can help to combat this crisis and preserve the beauty and health of our oceans for future generations.

Planning Your Provisioning

The first step in reducing plastic waste while provisioning is to plan your shopping trips carefully. By creating a detailed list of the items you need and organizing them by category, you can minimize the number of plastic-packaged products you purchase.

Here are some tips for planning your provisioning:

  • Prioritize fresh, whole foods: Opt for fresh fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods whenever possible, as these items typically have less packaging than processed foods. Plus, they’re healthier for you and your family!
  • Research local markets: Look for local farmers’ markets, co-ops, or other stores that prioritize eco-friendly practices and offer items with minimal packaging.
  • Consider alternatives: If a product you typically buy comes in plastic packaging, research alternatives that use more sustainable materials or come in bulk.

Shopping Tips for Reducing Plastic Waste

Once you have your provisioning plan in place, it’s time to hit the stores. Here are some shopping tips to help you reduce plastic waste:

  • Bring your own bags: Always bring reusable shopping bags with you to avoid using single-use plastic bags. Many stores now offer reusable bags for purchase if you don’t have your own.
  • Choose loose produce: Opt for loose fruits and vegetables instead of those wrapped in plastic. You can also bring reusable produce bags to avoid using the plastic bags provided by the store.
  • Look for minimal packaging: When purchasing packaged items, look for those with the least amount of plastic packaging. For example, choose a cardboard box of pasta over a plastic-wrapped one.
  • Avoid single-use items: Steer clear of single-use items like plastic cutlery, straws, and disposable plates. Instead, invest in reusable alternatives that you can use throughout your sailing adventures.
  • Say no to plastic bottles: Instead of buying plastic water bottles, bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at water stations or from your boat’s water supply.

Reusable Containers and Bags

Investing in reusable containers and bags is a crucial step in reducing plastic waste while provisioning. Here are some suggestions for reusable items to have on hand:

  • Reusable shopping bags: Look for durable, washable bags that can hold a variety of items. Some bags even fold up into a compact size for easy storage on your boat.
  • Reusable produce bags: These lightweight, washable bags are perfect for holding loose fruits and vegetables. They’re also great for bulk items like nuts and grains.
  • Reusable food storage containers: Invest in a set of high-quality, leak-proof containers for storing leftovers and other food items. Look for containers made from glass or stainless steel, as these materials are more eco-friendly than plastic.
  • Reusable water bottles: Choose a durable, insulated water bottle that will keep your drinks cold (or hot) for hours. Stainless steel bottles are a popular choice for their durability and insulation properties.

Bulk Buying and DIY Solutions

One of the most effective ways to reduce plastic waste while provisioning is to buy items in bulk and create your own DIY solutions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Buy in bulk: Look for stores that offer bulk bins for items like grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Bring your reusable bags or containers to fill up on these items without any plastic packaging.
  • Make your own snacks: Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, make your own at home using whole ingredients. Some ideas include homemade granola bars, trail mix, or popcorn.
  • DIY cleaning products: Create your own eco-friendly cleaning products using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. Store these solutions in reusable containers for easy use on your boat.
  • Refillable toiletries: Look for stores that offer refill stations for items like shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Bring your reusable containers to fill up on these products without the need for plastic packaging.

Supporting Eco-Friendly Brands

Another way to reduce plastic waste while provisioning is to support brands that prioritize eco-friendly practices. Look for companies that use sustainable materials, minimal packaging, and give back to environmental causes. By supporting these brands, you’re not only reducing your plastic waste but also encouraging more companies to adopt eco-friendly practices.

Disposing of Waste Responsibly

Even with the best intentions, it’s likely that you’ll still end up with some plastic waste while provisioning. It’s essential to dispose of this waste responsibly to minimize its impact on the environment. Here are some tips for responsible waste disposal:

  • Recycle: Always recycle any plastic waste that you can, following the recycling guidelines for your local area or marina.
  • Dispose of trash properly: Never throw trash overboard or leave it on the beach. Always dispose of your waste in designated trash receptacles or take it with you until you find a proper disposal site.
  • Participate in clean-up efforts: Join local beach or marina clean-up events to help remove plastic waste from the environment. This is a great way to give back to the places you visit and make a positive impact on the health of our oceans.


Reducing plastic waste while provisioning is an essential step in protecting our oceans and the planet as a whole. By planning your shopping trips, investing in reusable containers and bags, buying in bulk, and supporting eco-friendly brands, you can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste you generate. Remember to dispose of any remaining waste responsibly and participate in clean-up efforts whenever possible. Together, we can make a difference and preserve the beauty of our oceans for future generations.