Grocery shopping is one of things you have to do, whether you like it or not. It is not a chore I particularly enjoy. But since I have started being more intentional about how I shop I have found it more enjoyable. I think it is because I do the bulk of our grocery shopping online and I have found some brands I really love.
If you do a trash audit (which you should do) you will probably realise that the bulk of your waste is from grocery packaging. It can be tough to eliminate it completely – we are still trying but we have drastically reduced it. You don’t need to shop from a bulk or waste-free store for it to be eco-friendly. If you just pay attention to what you are buying, it will make a huge difference.
Eco-friendly Grocery Shopping Ideas
Stick to your budget. Before you go shopping make sure you are clear on what your budget is. I set a budget for each of the different places I buy from and I make sure that I stick to it.
Shop local. This has been the best thing we have done. I love my list of local suppliers. It might take some time but you will find a local supplier for just about anything you need. Avoid buying fruit, veggies and flowers that are not naturally in season. I have started compiling a list of local zero-waste suppliers – check it out.
Remember your reusable bags. If you are heading out to a store, remember your resuable bags – including your veggie bags. We get our fruit and veggies weekly from Vula but if I do need to get a few from the store, I only buy the loose produce. In some cases it actually works out cheaper than the pre-packaged items.
Add more veggies. Eating more veggies and less meat is kinder to the environment. This does not mean you have to become a hardcore vegan. Just focus on adding more veggies to your meals. I cut out meat last year for Veganuary and while I do now have meat, it is only a few meals each week. This means we buy less meat which is not only kinder the environment but also kinder on our budget. I have also found that since getting our veggie boxes the kids are so much more involved in what we eat and are happy to snack on peppers or carrots rather than asking for cookies or other similar snacks.
Buy less. Are you buying what you need or what you think you need? It can be so tempting to stock up on items that are on sale but do you really need them? Food waste is such a big problem, I am still working on making sure we have no food waste. Most of the time the waste comes because we have bought more than we need and that can be eliminated simply by buying less.
Read the labels. You should be reading labels to check for nasty ingredients but also, you need to be checking if the products are fair trade, non-gmo, organic etc. These labels help you to identify if the items you are buying are kind to the environment. Also check where the products are made – avoid buying basic items that have been imported.
Check packaging. When you are shopping be mindful of the packaging you are opting for. Avoid buying plastic jars, rather opt for glass jars. Put your fruit and veg into a net bag, take along a bread bag and get freshly baked bread. Small changes like this all add up and make a difference in the amount of waste your home is producing.
I am working on a comprehensive waste-free guide to help you make the switch. If you want to receive it, please subscribe to my weekly newsletter and be the first to have access.