Welcome back to our zero waste series! Can you believe we’re already on part four?? That means we’re officially done our zero waste series! Today we’re tackling one of my favorite topics: Zero waste grocery shopping!
If you missed our previous installments in our zero waste series, you can catch up right here:
Week one: Zero waste kitchen
Week two: Zero waste bathroom
Week three: Zero waste laundry routine
The waste from our kitchens, bathrooms and even laundry rooms all usually come from one universal place: the grocery store.
Food is stored in plastic, cardboard, Styrofoam, cans, jars, etc. And once the food is out of said packaging, the packaging goes to…you guessed it! Waste!
There are very few alternatives or uses this plastic can be used for once they’re done. Which is why they got their fabulous name: single-use.
But how can you shop zero waste when almost everything comes in some type of packaging?? Well, you can’t really. Not ZERO waste anyway. (Sorry!) But you can shop very low waste! Which is more practical and realistic.
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Zero waste grocery shopping:
1. Reusable shopping bags
You all could’ve assumed this would be number one on the list.
Avoid disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. Even paper bags, while better, aren’t the best option. It’s best to ditch them altogether and just remember your reusable bags.
But remembering them is often the hardest part. I’ve set reminders, left them by the door, left them in my car, you name it, I’ve tried it!
I’ve found the most success with these Baggu reusable bags. Not only are they adorable but they fold up into little baggies that fit so perfectly even in the smallest bag.
So as soon as I’ve unloaded my groceries, I fold them up and stick them right back in my bag!
2. Produce bags
If I’m being honest you don’t really need to put your produce in anything. Put your bananas, peppers, zucchini’s, etc loose in your cart. You should be washing them before eating anyway so it doesn’t really matter.
The only time you should need a bag is for those little loose items like green beans, etc.
The grocery store has those little plastic baggies you can use, but we’re here to NOT do that.
So pick up some reusable produce bags for such an occasion so you never have to reach for a plastic one. These ones from Earth Hero are by far my favorite. They’re super well made so they won’t break any time soon and can hold a lot of produce.
3. Farmer’s market
Not everyone will have this option and not always year-round. But when and if you can head to a farmers market to buy your fruits and veggies!
Farmer’s market produce doesn’t usually come in packaging and you’re supporting local farmers in your community!
(To get into the farmers market mood a little bit more, check out this handmade farmers market tote! Big and sturdy enough to hold all your fresh produce!)
4. Buy in bulk
Bulk options vary from store to store and even town to town. Some places have exclusive bulk stores (Thank you, bulk barn!) but other chain grocery stores have smaller bulk sections if they even have any.
If you can, buying in bulk is truly the best option as it has zero packagings.
Unless you use the plastic baggies at the store which I advise you not to do.
People have gotten created with what to use instead including things like mason jars. I’ve found it a bit complicated as the weight of the jar can add to your total price at the end.
These bulk bags from Earth Hero are the best option in my opinion. They’re 100% cotton a virtually weightless meaning no extra weight to your bulk items! I usually store my bulk items in mason jars when I get home!
5. Don’t buy in plastic – A lot of food comes packaged. There’s no getting around that and some of these items are necessities. Especially for those who do not have access to bulk options.
If you can, avoid buying food in plastic packaging. This type of plastic is usually on its last leg and cannot be recycled again. Buy your food rather in cardboard, glass or even metal containers.
Glass and metal have infinite life cycles and can be recycled infinite times making them the better and less wasteful option.
You can also upcycle glass jars and tin cans into storage and crafts.
6. Eat less meat and dairy – I’ll be quick to say that I am not vegan. I don’t know if I’ll ever be at a place where I can cut out meat as a whole (due to health reasons) But I do try to eat as little meat as I can and not make it the focusing factor of each meal.
Meat and dairy are always packaged in disposable packaging making it near impossible to consume these products without wastefulness.
Not to mention the harmful impact factory farming has on the environment. But that’s another post for another time. If you can find a local farmer or butcher who will allow you to bring your own containers (glass) for the meat and/or dairy to be packaged in.
Zero waste grocery shopping isn’t as hard as it may seem. It just takes a little shift in perspective from what we’ve grown up doing. Little effort for a long term result! Happy zero-waste grocery shopping!
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