When it comes to grocery shopping, there are many simple ways to be eco-friendly. Not only do sustainable shopping habits save you money, but they help out the planet. Practices such as avoiding food waste and eliminating the use of single use plastics can do a lot of good for the Earth. Here are some easy tips for eco-friendly grocery shopping:
Utilize Reusable Shopping Bags
Whether grocery shopping for your household or bringing food to work, reusable grocery bags are always a better option than single use plastic bags. Not only are reusables more durable than single use plastic bags, they keep plastic waste out of landfills and oceans.
In an effort to encourage shoppers to be more sustainable, many grocery stores do not offer plastic bags for free. Skip the extra charge and reduce your plastic waste by opting for reusables. It’s a good idea to keep a supply in your car or with your bike so they are always handy when you shop.
Buy Local Products
One of the best things about buying local products is the fresh factor. Who doesn’t love locally grown produce? It does wonders for your health and your local community. You’re not getting something that was shipped across the world – getting your food further away requires tons of natural resources.
Locally grown fresh produce is often a healthier choice than packaged foods, which usually have lots of sugar and salt in them.
Another reason why you want to buy local products is that it helps the economy in your community and supports local businesses.
Shop In Season
It’s more eco-friendly to shop for items like strawberries and peaches when the local climate calls for them. If you’re getting out of season fruit in December, or produce grown in tropical places, they are most likely imported.
When you buy out of season, you’ll have a bigger carbon footprint because of all the resources required to get the products to your region. Instead of doing that, try to align your purchases with what is in season near you. You don’t want your food coming from long distances where it takes high carbon emissions to reach your destination.
Not to mention, you’ll learn how to incorporate what’s readily available into your diet. Another benefit of eating in season is that you’ll spend less money. Keep in mind the shipping costs, what it takes to preserve products on their journey, and other fees to have these products at your convenience.
When there are few intermediaries to bring the product to your region, you’ll get them cheaper. They’ll also taste fresher.
Eat More Vegetables
When you’re constantly buying meat, you’re aiding in higher use of land and water resources. Remember, it costs a lot to produce meat.
Not to mention, you’ll create a greenhouse effect, which detrimentally affects the environment. Animal consumption affects our planet, from deforestation to methane gases produced by animals. Additionally, we waste a lot of food as a country, so it’s best to use all of what we buy.
One of the best ways to become an eco-friendly shopper is to ditch animal products. Opt for a more plant-based diet. There are many benefits to having a plant-rich regimen, such as adding nutrients to your diet, lowering your risk for heart disease, and decreasing your chances of high blood pressure.
When you eat better, you’ll feel better. And the planet will be better off too.
Prevent Food Waste
We end up wasting 40% of the food we purchase because we buy too much. If it’s something you don’t envision yourself eating, it’s best to leave it on the shelf. This is important to keep in mind in an effort to stop wasting food.
Also, you’ll save tons of money. It’s the kind of money you can put toward other expenses such as adding more to your child’s college fund, paying bills, and even having more funds to support local businesses.
Avoid over-buying and impulse purchases by sticking to one shopping list.
Purchase Products with Eco-Friendly Packaging
While it’s best to buy items without any packaging, the next best thing is to choose products with eco-friendly packaging. It takes time to go through the labels at first when you’re not used to it, but you’ll get the hang of it in time. When you get used to the common eco-packaging language, you’ll be able to find items quicker.
Eco-packaging has materials that are less harmful for the environment. If you’re searching for them while you shop, look for recycled cardboard and paper, compostable packaging, glass, and PET plastic. You’ll find these listed on the back of the box to make it easier to identify eco-packaging.
Instead of discarding eco-packaging in your garbage, you can put it in a recycle bin. Keep in mind that some materials are compostable as well. Be sure to clearly read the labels before disposing. You can also reuse items such as durable plastic containers and glass jars for other household or food storage purposes.
Read the Labels when Shopping
This ties into eco-packaging, but it also relates into the quality of your food. Know what you’re purchasing. Does it say fair-trade, non-GMO, organic, or safe catch? These are items that are less processed than other foods on the market.
As a result, these items used fewer resources in their production. Not only does that mean you’ll help the environment, but it’s cleaner for you to eat. Organic products have few additives to them, which is better for you to consume.
It’s a better alternative because you’ll have a cleaner diet and they’re more eco-friendly.
Shop the Bulk Department
Items such as nuts, beans, flours, grains, and dried fruits can be found in the bulk department, where you can use reusable bags or mason jars for storage. You don’t have to use the plastic bags that are next to them. Your alternative storage options are accepted by bulk stores and most grocery stores. Kindly ask if a store associate can weigh your empty containers before you fill them up for the most accurate price of product.
When you’re planning to shop, keep a few of these reusable containers in your car to make it convenient for you. Another positive thing about having a clear mason jar is that you can have a sticker label. It’ll help you organize items once you’re back home.
You’ll save money shopping this way, rather than purchasing pre-packaged items. Additionally, these are healthier choices because they don’t go through the same processing as pre-packaged food.
Hand Wash Your Items
While getting your food pre-washed and pre-cut is convenient, it often requires additional single-use packaging. In addition, certain produce may suffer from lost nutrients or require extra resources to make it quicker for you to cook with.
If you use the pre-packaged foods over time, it’ll keep adding to overall single-use plastic waste. It’s better to buy your foods in their raw state. Take some time to hand wash and cut your items at home. This will save resources, cost you less, ensure your food is clean, and provide more nutrients.
The next time you’re grocery shopping, buy your fruits, vegetables, and nuts in a bulk section where you can carry them with your eco-friendly shopping bag. It’ll lessen the environmental impact of resources used.
Grocery Shop Smart
Make a list when you shop to ensure you pick up everything you need and avoid impulse purchases. Why? Having an organized list for your trip to the store will help you limit extra trips for forgotten items, reducing the gas required to get to the store. Secondly, if you avoid impulse purchases, you’ll likely to waste less food at home.
Another way to practice eco-friendly shopping is to walk or bike to the store. These modes of transportation will reduce your carbon footprint as they don’t require fuel.
Using reusable shopping bags, buying local and in season, eating plant-based foods, and avoiding single-use plastic packaging are just a few of the ways you can be more eco-friendly with your grocery shopping. We hope these tips are helpful and set you on the right path to shop smarter.