One of the best ways to make your lifestyle greener is to make small easy changes in your routine. Find something you do often, and then look for ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle.
Grocery shopping is one of those opportunities. It’s something you have to do, and you probably do it often. By making small changes and eco-friendly purchasing choices, your weekly grocery shopping routine can be an easy way to make your lifestyle greener.
Here are five easy things you can do to make grocery shopping greener.
When possible, buy items in recyclable containers
Glass containers can be recycled over and over and most recycling services will accept your glass containers for recycling. Glass is easier to recycle than plastic, and some recycle centers only accept certain types of plastic. Plastic containers are labeled with a recycling code indicating what type of material it’s made of. The recycling service I use will accept #1 – #5 plastics, but some services may only accept #1 and #2. Try to buy your products in containers you know you can recycle easily.
Shop local and close to home
When you go grocery shopping, you have an impact on the environment in more ways than you might realize. For instance, where you shop and how you get there can affect your total impact. Buying your produce from local growers means fewer chemicals, processing, and less shipping. The more your food had to travel to get to your table, the more impact it had on the environment along the way. You can also make different transportation choices that will reduce your grocery shopping footprint. How about carpooling with a couple of friends and grocery shopping together? Or perhaps there’s a grocery store closer to your home than the one you currently use.
Buy more fresh food & less pre-packaged food
Instead of buying food that’s been heavily processed and packaged, opt for fresh food whenever you can. It’s probably healthier for you – especially if you can find organic produce – and fresh foods don’t take as much of a toll on the environment. Think of all the resources that go into processing, packaging, and shipping a can of corn. A fresh ear of corn from your local farmer’s market is a much more eco-friendly (and healthier) choice.
Packaging is another thing to look out for. Ever notice that when you open some food packages, it seems like they’re half-empty? Some of the packaging you’ll find in grocery stores is absolutely ridiculous. Fortunately, some companies are making efforts to reduce their packaging and not be so wasteful. Look for those products and choose them whenever possible. In the produce section, don’t grab for the plastic produce bags. Who says your green pepper has to be in it’s own bag, separate from your cucumber? Just put your produce straight into the shopping cart, or use a recycled bag or canvas bag.
Avoid or Buy Fewer Individually Packaged Items
Let’s face it – a lot of us have gotten in a habit of choosing our personal convenience over the welfare of the planet we live on. I’m no exception. I like convenience as much as the next person. However, we all survived fairly well without some of these conveniences and it could make quite an impact on the earth if we could find one or two conveniences we’re willing to live without. Food packaging has become more and more convenient, but I’m not sure the cost to the Earth is worth it. Look for products that aren’t individually wrapped that you could learn to live with. For example, buy a large glass container of juice and pour it into a thermos for the kids’ lunches instead of buying the single-serving sized juice boxes.
Paper or Plastic? Neither.
If you absolutely have to use paper or plastic, make sure you’re recycling them. But the eco-friendly choice is simple: Take your own shopping bags with you to the store. Don’t have your own? You can buy eco friendly shopping bags from any of these online retailers:
“Since 2003, we’ve led the reusable bag movement, offering the widest selection of high-quality, reusable bags, baskets and totes anywhere – helping people curb the need for thousands of plastic and paper bags. We now offer hundreds of different styles, including ultra-compact bags that fold down to fit in the palm of your hand, string bags, shopping bag sets, foldable baskets and more. Our proprietary reuseit line includes dozens of best-sellers, and we also carry a variety of bags from other outstanding brands. Plus, we are constantly adding new, innovative products from the latest, most sustainable materials available”
Looking for something more unique? In addition to standard shopping bags, The Ultimate Green Store has WeBe Bags and bags made from recycled seatbelts. They even carry Retreads – a line of bags made from recycled tires!
Amazon is one of my favorite online stores because they have such a huge selection. You’re bound to find the style you want at a price that’ll fit your budget.
While your’e shopping, check out the rest of Amazon Green