It can be discouraging to go to the grocery store and see all of the wasteful packaging that’s being used. Its almost impossible to find a single product that isn’t wrapped in plastic or packaged in a non-recyclable material.
On top of the waste issue, grocery stores are one of the most prominent places that shady marketing tactics, like greenwashing are used. This can make it difficult to differentiate between a product that is actually eco-friendly and one thats just pretending to be.
As big companies continue to develop a monopoly on brands in grocery stores, it becomes increasingly important for shoppers to be aware of the impact their choices have on the environment and the well-being of the people working for these companies. These tips will help you practice eco-conscious shopping habits and avoid unethical brands while shopping.
Bring Your Own Bags
The most obvious way to reduce plastic waste when you’re shopping is to bring your own reusable grocery bags. If you’re looking for a bag you can check out the ones I make here, or you can get them from your grocery store. Most stores offer an incentive for using reusable bags that can save you money when you bring them.
Try to keep the bags in your car so that you’ll always have them when you need them. It may be hard to remember at first, but eventually it will become a habit to bring them with you! Another plus is that reusable bags can usually hold much more than plastic ones, and break less easily.
Skip The Produce Bags
If you’ve been looking into living a more sustainable lifestyle, you’ve probably seen or heard of reusable produce bags. While these are a good alternative to the single-use produce bags at the store, you probably don’t need to use a bag at all. If you’re washing your fruits and vegetables anyways, you don’t really need a bag to put them in at the store.
Shop Locally If Possible
Local farmer’s markets are a great way to reduce packaging waste because most of the time sellers will display produce unpackaged and you can take it in your own reusable containers. Buying locally also minimizes the carbon emissions from products that have to be shipped to grocery stores.
Another upside of purchasing from local producers is that you get to support small business owners, who are more likely to practice ethical production techniques. While your nearby farmer’s market may not have everything you need, even getting just your produce locally can have a big impact on your sustainability efforts!
Buy Less Meat Products
Water consumption, land usage, and methane release are just a few of the things that make the meat industry unsustainable. On top of environmental effects, eating less of certain meats like beef can have positive impacts such as:
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Saving money on groceries
- Promoting a healthy weight
I’m a person who lives in Texas and doesn’t eat red meat, so I understand that this option may seem crazy to some people. However, I’m not saying that you have to cut out all meat from your diet, incorporating meatless meals throughout your week can make your diet much more sustainable.
Make Your List Before You Go
You’ve probably been told that you shouldn’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach because it can cause you to buy more food than you really need. A similar philosophy is making a list before you go to the store.
This not only prevents you from buying things you don’t need, but ensures you bring enough reusable containers or bags for everything you need.
Buy In Bulk
Many stores now have bulk food sections that you can bring your own reusable containers to and get food with no waste. If there’s no stores near you that have this option you can also buy your packaged products in bulk.
This saves money and reduces waste from buying food in small amounts. Just make sure that you’re able to use up all of the bulk item, so that it doesn’t go to waste.
I hope these tips will help you be a smart shopper and make your grocery habits more eco-friendly. If you try any if these out let me know! Everyone has different ways of living sustainably so I’m always interested to hear what people find useful, or hard to incorporate into their routines. Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!