Making the move towards a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t have to mean drastic measures. All it takes is a few small changes in how we go about our daily lives. Taking the time to prepare your grocery shopping list before you visit the stores can make all the difference. Zero waste grocery shopping can be your first step to going plastic-free. Check out these zero waste tips for your next grocery shopping trip!
1. Take Your Own Bags
The first step towards a zero waste shopping trip is to take your own bags with you. Tote bags or useable shopping bags are perfect as they are fashionable, durable, and they reduce the use of single-use plastic. They also roll up easily meaning that you can keep them in your purse or store in your car for those impromptu shopping trips.
2. Buy in Bulk
Plastic free shops and bulk stores are popping up all over the place these days making it easier for you to buy certain food items without all the plastic packaging. Take along some tupperware boxes or recycled jars and bottles to stock up on the items you need. Bulk-buy stores will weigh the empty containers first and then again when full of whatever produce. Not only does it cut down on waste but can also work out cheaper as you aren’t paying for extra manufacturing costs of packaging.
3. Avoid Plastic Wrapped Produce
If you don’t have a bulk-buy store close to you, you can still shop for produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic. Most grocery stores have fresh produce, such as fruit and vegetables, that are loose and without any packaging. For an easy way to bundle and carry loose items of fruit, use a reusable mesh bag or light cloth that can allow for easy weigh-in at the cash register.
4. Plastic-Free Alternative Packaging
There are certain items which are harder to find in zero waste shops, things such as washing-up powder, cleaning products, and certain food items. You can still make these purchases zero waste by choosing items packaged in recyclable material, such as cardboard, glass, or cans. Don’t forget that you can make eco-friendly homemade cleaning products with all-natural products from your kitchen cupboards!
5. Deli Counters and Markets
Instead of buying meat produce or cheese from the chilled section, all wrapped in plastic, head to the deli counters, specialist stores or markets. Using the deli, butcher, cheesemonger or fishmonger means less styrofoam and plastic waste. Many service counters will wrap fresh food items in paper too, which can be recycled.
6. Look for Alternatives
With some items on your shopping list, it’s not just the packaging you need to be worried about, but the item itself. Single-use items such as paper towels, cotton swabs, and disposable razors all contribute to a huge amount of waste. Skip the paper towels and choose reusable/washable napkins or cloth. Swap the plastic water bottles for stainless steel or glass bottles. Instead of buying more plastic wrap, use beeswax wrap or storage containers. You’ll cut down on buying, reduce waste, and save money in the long run!
7. Buy Fresh
While buying frozen fruits and vegetables is an affordable and convenient way to get your 5-a-day, they are plastic wrapped and contain preservatives. For a zero waste approach, buy fresh fruit and veg and freeze it yourself at home. Not only will you know it’s free from added preservatives, but you’ll also know exactly how long the food has been frozen and you won’t have added more plastic to the landfill.
8. Buy Only What You Need
Food waste is a huge problem. Tonnes of food ends up in landfills, rotting, adding to greenhouse gases and contributing to climate change. Not only does food waste have an effect on the environment, but it’s also hitting your wallet! Avoid buying more than you need or impulse buys by checking the cupboards and making a shopping list before heading to the grocery store.