I am definitely someone who is new-ish to living less waste. A recovering packrat, I feel like because of my hoarder like tendencies, I was doing my part by keeping it all, right? NO. Got it. But as I have said previously in another post, I am on the road to more conscious living, and grocery shopping takes one of the top spots in regards to places I am overhauling my methods consistently. I watched a lot of videos on zero waste and I felt inspired to change my practices. Now, I will say that it is easier to do bulk shopping in other countries (get with it America!), but there are still ways to get it done. You may be asking, why should you attempt a change in how you grocery shop? Why should you care? You ask good questions. Changing the way you shop will help reduce the amount of waste that goes into our landfills, oceans and harms the environment. It will also ensure you are shopping in a more sustainable manner. One time investments in items that can be used for years. It is not very hard to shop with materials that help reduce our waste amount, and here I will share the tips and tricks on how I do it!
Canvas totes are a popular items now. Some companies even use them as their primary method of bagging your items (yay them!). One BIG reason why we should all be using reusable bags is that plastic is not the best. In California, you have the pay for your plastic bags at checkout. And honestly, reusable bags can just carry more things. I have WAY TOO MANY in my trunk, but at least I know I’m never without an alternative. I have been know the run out to my car to grab more while I’m being checked out, or walk through the mall with my purchases (receipt in hand, because ain’t nobody got time for the shenanigans) because I DO NOT want or need another plastic bag. You can wash them and have them at the ready for whatever store you find yourself in. IKEA even makes a bag that folds up into a tiny square. Very purse friendly. And also, great travel accessory (you’re welcome).
Mason jars, Mesh and Fabric bags
I have a love for Sprouts that cannot be denied. When I really started shopping there this year I realized all the ways I could switch up my shopping routine and also purchase great, quality products at a decent price. Sprouts sells bulk items. Instead of using the plastic bags to gather your grains or dried fruit, you can use mason jars. You have an employee weigh the jar (tare it), fill the jar with whatever you’re purchasing, then when you check out, you hand them your tare weight that was given to you and the jar. They will subtract the weight of the jar from the weight of the item you’re purchasing. You now have your item in a more sustainable container and don’t need transfer it once you’re home.
When it comes to produce, there are those same plastic bags. A great alternative are mesh bags. They do not add a significant amount of weight to your purchase (probably less than the excess water all over your loose leaf spinach bundle) and are a great investment. You can have them weigh your mesh bags when you come in if you feel like the fabric is heavier. Again, you can wash and reuse these bad boys and never have to get another plastic bag again.
Fabric bags are great for storing bread so they last longer. Or if you choose to bake your own bread. That might be what I try next. Bread does not come inside this house because I will eat it. All of it. In one day. So, yeah.
Metal Food Storage Containers
One thing I love about shopping at Sprouts is the butcher area. Something about having my purchased bacon wrapped up in brown paper like a Chipotle burrito just does it for me. I know this isn’t the best practice, so I plan on purhasing an airtight metal food container for when I get the meats. Again, have them tare (you’ve got the lingo by now) the container, then head on over to the butcher counter. Some containers are large enough to fit whole chickens, so there is a size to fit every lifestyle. You can store your food in the same container if you do not plan on cooking it the same day. So easy!
So those are ways to minimize your carbon footprint doing a life task. How can we keep our food longer once it leave the store? You again ask great questions. For your leafy greens, wash them thoroughly and then store them in a well fitted container with an absorbent towel in the bottom to grab any excess liquid that could spoil the greens. Items like potatoes, garlic, onions and shallots should be kept in a dry, cool area away from sunlight. My kitchen gets a lot of sun, so I made paper bags out of craft paper and store mine in the darkest corner on my counter. Lemons stay freshest in the crisper (something I did not know), so store them there. Lastly, have a half cut onion you won’t need for another couple of days? Wrap it in plastic wrap, or beeswax paper, and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
These are my ways that I am helping myself be more sustainable when grocery shopping. It has become more seamless and is quickly becoming second nature.
Which tips do you think you can implement your next shopping trip? Tell me below. If you have any other ideas, please share below. I want to grow my arsenal! Happy shopping!