Make your regular trips to the grocery store a little greener by incorporating the following eco-friendly grocery shopping tips into your routine.
Spend more time planning and shop less often. Meal planning every week means not only proactively planning wholesome, nutritious meals for your family (and therefore reducing chances of falling into the fast food trap when feeling uninspired), but also helps you plan more efficient trips to the grocery store.
Reviewing recipes you’ll be using for the week ahead and purchasing everything you need minimizes those last minute trips to the store and, as a result, reduces gas consumption and emissions.
Some families even plan for the whole month and will do one major shop with quick, biweekly or so trips to the grocery store for fresh items as needed.
Skip the paper and the plastic. Real eco-friendly groceries are the ones with the least amount of waste related to them. Look for opportunities to avoid extra packaging. Try reducing the number of plastic baggies you use in the produce section – does your bundle of bananas really need to go in that flimsy bag?
Consider bringing your own plastic or glass container for deli meats. Once they’ve weighed your items, just slip them into your own container and put the sticker on the outside or the lid. Your items will probably stay fresh longer in a sealable vessel anyways.
Avoid individually packaged items wherever possible. You can do just as good a job packing single portions in reusable containers with minimal effort. What we perceive as increased convenience is really little more than extra packaging that ends up in the garbage. A
Bulk up. Buying in larger quantities is typically more cost effective and reduces wasteful packaging materials. Whenever possible, purchase items from the bulk food bins – they are ultimately the least expensive and greenest way to shop. You could even reuse those plastic baggies from previous trips and transfer items to a container, preferably glass, when you get home. If you feel weird about reusing the baggies, just make sure you recycle them instead.
Feed the masses – one shopping trip at a time. Especially for those major trips to the big box grocery stores, it’s a great idea to phone family and friends first and see if there’s anything you can pick up on their behalf or large quantities of items you could share.
BYOBags. Most of us have been on this bandwagon for years now, but for those who haven’t made the leap, there’s no time like the present! Many stores offer inexpensive canvas or sturdy plastic bags and some even provide them for free with your purchase. My personal favourites are the giant, blue plastic bags from Ikea. Toting your groceries in these reusable bags makes them easier to manage, less likely to topple over on the car ride home and just makes good sense.
Choose local and organic. Supporting local producers whenever possible is a great way to practice your conscious community spirit. There are so many wonderful products being produced locally it’s hard to justify purchasing the same items sourced overseas.
Check out what local companies can bring organic groceries right to your door! Companies like Organic Box and Spud offer a wide range of produce, as well as other environmentally conscious products like free-trade coffee and cleaning products and deliver them to you.
We often think that switching to living green is about making life-altering, sweeping changes, but really there are so many simple changes, like incorporating these eco-friendly grocery shopping tips, that aren’t difficult to do, and make a real impact.
About The Author
Serial Entrepreneur, Technologist and Inventor.
My objective is to develop useful products that have a net positive effect in the lives of those that use them and the environment that we live in.
CEO of Mission LED Lighting Company Ltd.
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