Living sustainably means shopping consciously – that includes being aware of the the environmental impact you make while grocery shopping. Zero-waste grocery shopping sounds like a heavy feat. How in the world do I shop for food without making any trash? I promise, it’s a lot easier than you may think! ? Here are my top 4 tips for zero-waste grocery shopping.
Bring your own bags!!!!! I cannot stress how important this simple action is. ?
- The average plastic bag has a “use” time of 12 minutes.
- The average family takes home about 1,500 bags per year.
- It takes over 500 years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill; however, the bags don’t break down completely. Instead, they photo-degrade and become microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.
I bring 2-3 big tote bags to carry out everything along with 10-15 mesh/cotton bags that I use instead of the plastic produce bags set up around grocery stores. I use those bags for fresh fruits and veggies! I can also use these to buy bulk items since it won’t affect the weight of my purchase as much. ?
You can use any cotton bags you may have at home or grab some here!
BUY IN BULK
Buying in bulk is HUGE in a zero-waste lifestyle! This eliminates unnecessary packaging, allows you to buy the exact amount you need and (most often) ends up being much cheaper than buying pre-packaged items!
To buy in bulk, simply bring your own container (i.e. mason jar) or produce bag, grab what you need from the bulk section of your store, write down the PLU number (I type it out in my phone to avoid making paper trash) and then take it to the cashier when you are ready to checkout where they will weigh it out for you.
Some of my favorite things to buy in bulk are oats, beans, nuts & rice!
Note: if you are bringing a heavy container like a mason jar, either come prepared with the tare weight or ask a cashier to weigh it before you put your items in it to avoid a fuss or accidentally pay extra. ?
VISIT YOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKET
Apart from my local co-op store, the farmers market is my favorite place to grab some fresh goods. Not only is it immensely beneficial to support your local farmers, it is also very easy to shop completely waste free at farmers markets! It’s also fun to spot things that aren’t normally available loosely or in bulk at grocery stores. I always buy my berries at farmers markets opposed to grocery stores, where they always seem to come in plastic clamshells.
To buy bulk at farmers markets, I bring my tote bags, produce bags and mason jars. When purchasing berries, I simply let the vendor know I’ll be grabbing a few berries in my own container and grab what I need. Every vendor I’ve bought from has always been very happy to honor my request. You’re creating zero-waste and allowing them to reuse their packaging. It’s a win-win all around!
AVOID BUYING WHAT YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME
Stop buying milk, bread, nut butters – instead, make them at home! ?
Since transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle, I’ve grown quite fond of making things from scratch. It does take a little extra time but the benefits of less waste, knowing exactly what’s going in your food and adjusting everything to your liking outweighs any hassle.
I love to make my own oat milk, almond butter and bread. All of the ingredients used to make these are things I can easily buy in bulk; therefore, eliminating any potential waste produced if I were to buy already made items!
Zero-waste grocery shopping does require a bit of preparation, but it is SO worth the positive impact you are making. Any little bit you do to reduce waste matters a great deal!
PLUS, shopping zero-waste inevitably steers you towards a healthy whole foods diet. Processed junk is most often wrapped in plastic or stuck in excess packing…avoiding waste allows you to open your shopping cart up to a plant based diet, which is not only extremely beneficial to the planet, but also to your own health!
Hopefully you can take some tips with ya next time you grab your groceries. ?
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN…
What are you doing regularly to lower your waste while grocery shopping? Are you a bulk shopper? Leave me comments and let me know!
With love, always,
‘Till next time, babes.