When looking at where we create waste in our lives, sometimes we find some of the biggest culprits in the most mundane activities, for example going to the grocery store. With excessive use of plastic packaging, plastic bags and unsustainable practices, it is no surprise that in 2017 it was found that just one British supermarket chain produced 252,000 tonnes of plastic.
While zero-waste shops are the best option for sustainable grocery shopping, there are tricks that you can use to avoid plastic at the grocery store and make your next supermarket trip more sustainable.
Take A Reusable Bag
This trick for eco-friendly grocery shopping is perhaps the most publicised method for cutting down waste at the grocery store, but it is an important one. Roughly 500 billion plastic bags are used each year and all this plastic creates a huge contribution to increasing plastic pollution levels.
As well as increasing plastic pollution levels, nearly 100 million barrels of oil are needed to produce all those bags. All this oil processing creates an increase in carbon emissions while oil mining has vast negative impacts on fragile ecosystems.
Taking a reusable bag to the grocery store is a great option for helping the environment and as an added bonus, personalised shopping bags look trendier too!
Leave Those Veggies Naked
Many supermarkets offer plastic packaging for customers to wrap their vegetables and fruit in. Like with plastic bags, all this plastic packaging ends up contributing to plastic pollution and creates a driving force for oil processing. As most health experts recommend washing fruit and vegetables before eating it, wrapping your fruit and vegetables in plastic packaging comes with little advantage to you and offers a big disadvantage to the environment.
So make your next trip a more sustainable grocery shopping experience and leave those vegetables unwrapped.
See Where Your Food is Coming From
This tip for eco-friendly grocery shopping is important for all products, but is particularly important when it comes to seafood. Overfishing threatens species and upsets delicate ocean ecosystems, and yet, the World Wildlife Fund reports that more than 30% of fisheries are culprits of unsustainable operations and practices that go beyond sustainable biological limits.
Next time you are planning your trip to the grocery store do some research to find companies that only use responsibly sourced seafood and check sustainably sourced gradings on any seafood.
Buying food that is in season has numerous benefits for both you and the environment. Growing food out of season requires massive amounts of energy to artificially maintain environmental conditions.
While the other options for selling out of season food involve shipping food in from other areas of the world or long periods of refrigeration that once again all add to carbon emissions. Buying food in season is not only cheaper and often tastes better but it also reduces the carbon footprint required to produce and keep out of season food.
Buy in Bulk
This one can be a bit of a double-edged sword but when done right is a great way to make your supermarket trips sustainable. Buying products in bulk requires less plastic packaging and as such makes less waste than regularly buying small amounts of the same product.
The trick is though to make sure you only buy products in bulk that have an extended shelf life, this way your products won’t spoil before you can eat them and contribute to food waste levels.
Together We Can Make a Difference
Taking steps to embrace sustainable grocery shopping methods is something we all can do. Shopping seasonably, taking a reusable bag and choosing not to wrap your vegetables all helps to cut down on plastic pollution and waste and make a more eco-friendly grocery shopping experience. In the end, it is all these little steps we all do together that help to make a more sustainable future for us all.