One of my most popular posts on my blog here is the one I did on having a zero waste kitchen. These days, people are trying anything they can to leave the world with a better carbon footprint that they found it. It’s one of the reasons I blog. I try to help others see just how simple living a greener or more Eco-friendly life can be easily obtained with only minor changes in how you live your life. Zero waste is a was to live more consciously of your choices and while the term can be a tad misleading if you do actually still create some waste (it’s often unavoidable) it’s a great place to strive to be.
Something I want my readers to understand is, living green is on a spectrum. You have people who feel that the only green way to be is 100% and others like me, whom I like to refer to as a lighter shade of green, who think small changes add up. Striving for zero waste is the ultimate goal, but I’m also a practical gal, so it’s not always possible and that’s OK.
One place that I think too much waste is created, though, is at the grocery store. Food packaging accounts for so much that ends up in our landfills and sadly, the ocean. Here are some of my tips for zero waste grocery shopping, though, so you can try some of them the next time you head to the store and adopt the ones that fit for you and make sense for your lifestyle and family.
Zero Waste Grocery Shopping Tips
Consciously pay attention to packaging, even the little things– Think about all the little things that are in our packaging these days- bread ties/tags, snap off tips of containers, etc. It can be increasingly hard to find containers that do not have these, but when you start to pay attention, you will be able to make a more conscious choice about packaging.
Buy reusable produce and bulk bags– You can buy reusable produce bags that do a great job of eliminating your need to plastic ones. They can be used for much more than produce, too. I like to use mine for bulk dry goods like beans, oats and rice, too. You can also pack bread fresh from the bakery, too!
Buy recyclable or reusable packaging- More and more companies are making packaging with greener living in mind. Look for packaging that is easily recyclable or made from recycled materials. Additionally, you can look at packaging and think of ways to use them again. For instance, one the rare occasion I buy jarred sauces, I always buy them in glass containers because I reuse them for all sorts of things from storing leftovers, to crafts and even do-dads around my house like screws. Plus, glass bio-degrades.
Find alternatives for your favorite items- If you have some items at the store that you love but they come in packaging that is less than ideal, maybe now is the time to find an alternative or skip them altogether.
Skip individually wrapped items- Individually wrapped items are truly terrible for the environment. They create so much useless package waste it’s almost unbelievable. Instead, but items in bulk or bigger and packs and individually wrap them yourself with reusable wrap or reusable sandwich baggies.
Bring your own shopping bags- This one seems like a no-brainer, but bringing your own shopping bags really is one of the easiest ways to save on waste from the grocery stores. I really like canvas ones because they are durable and wash well. I also love to toss one in my purse so I always have one on me. There are many fold up shopping bags available.
Shop at Farmer’s Markets– Farmer’s markets are a treasure to the zero-waste lifestyle. Most vendors do not use packaging and this allows you to bring your own very easily. I love bringing a big basket to carry home all my goodies.