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Green Your Grocery Trip: 3 Easy Ways to Be More Sustainable at the Grocery Store

Carrying your groceries is a common and wonderful way to green your grocery trip. Ready to take it to the next level? Check out the easy tips below to be a more sustainable shopper.

Carrying your groceries is a common and wonderful way to green your grocery trip. Ready to take it to the next level? Check out the easy tips below to be a more sustainable shopper.

Bringing your own tote bag to the grocery store may be as second nature to you as bringing your wallet. Or maybe you’re the kind of shopper who always remembers the bag… it just happens to be in the trunk and not your grocery cart.

Wherever you land on this scale of sustainable shoppers, you’ve probably realized how little changes can make big differences. Though bringing your own bag is a wonderful way to green your grocery trip, there are many other small steps you can make to be a more sustainable grocery shopper. As big believers and supporters of sustainability, we love sharing how you can make a difference. Here are three of our favorite tips that can make big change.

1. Bring Your Own Bag – For Everything!

Bag your fruits and veggies and bulk items too! Most grocery stores will even give you a bag credit for these if you ask them.

Bag your fruits and veggies and bulk items too! Most grocery stores will even give you a bag credit for these if you ask them.

Does bringing your own bag really make that much of a difference? YES! In the not so distant past, people had no choice but to bring their own bags to carry their groceries home; they also brought bags for the flour, tomatoes and nuts too! Expand your bag usage to the produce and bulk section as well. Feeling crafty? Make your own mesh produce bags in a snap. Not feeling so crafty? There are many companies now making reusable tote bags that you can purchase online & in some health food stores. Most of these bags can even be thrown in the washing machine along with your other totes. Does your grocery store give you a bag credit for your reusable bags? Many co-ops do this.  Bonus! You may even get additional credits with your reusable bulk and produce bags too.

2. Ditch the zip-ties for your bulk products – write it down!

Here’s a great example of a small change making a big difference. If you’ve shopped bulk before, you know that part of the system is tearing off a zip tie and writing down the product code. But what happens to those ties when you bring them home? Most of us throw out the ties made of plastic, paper and wire adding to our landfills and possibly washing into our oceans.

The bulk foods section can potentially be a wonderful way to reduce waste if you avoid the plastic ties and plastic bags to carry your items home.

The bulk foods section can potentially be a wonderful way to reduce waste if you avoid the plastic ties and plastic bags to carry your items home.

These small pieces of plastic are an example of the cause of death for many birds and sea turtles that mistake them as food then end up dying of starvation! Avoiding this is easy – skip the zip and write it down. If you carry paper and pen with you, write it there and just read it off to the clerk that rings you up. If you don’t have pen & paper, you can type it as a note in your cell phone. Either way, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made a small change that can make a huge difference.

Skip the extra plastic ties and write down the bulk item code. You can also store this information in your cell phone.

Skip the extra plastic ties and write down the bulk item code. You can also store this information in your cell phone.

3. Skip pre-packaged foods – if you can’t, go for glass!

Foods that are pre-packaged in plastic, paper and aluminum are the cause for a lot of waste from the grocery store. Many of these items, like hummus and almond milk, can easily be made at home. Got something on your list that you can’t skip? Check to see if it’s available in a glass package instead and reuse it when it’s empty. We were thrilled to hear about how many of you are already reusing glass jars when we posted this article on reducing waste by buying glass and reusing.

If the items you need come packaged at the grocery store, do your best to get glass so you can reuse them for your bulk items in the kitchen or for storage for toiletries, art supplies, etc.

If the items you need come packaged at the grocery store, do your best to get glass so you can reuse them for your bulk items in the kitchen or for storage for toiletries, art supplies, etc.

With these three simple tips, you will be doing your small part towards a more sustainable future.

What are your favorite tips for reducing waste? Share in the comments section below so we can all learn from you.

Comments

  1. Michaelann Dahlman says:

    I save & re-use the zipties, if I need them. And I re-use glass & plastic containers. I often find when I am making stock that I run out of freezer containers. I had a horrible accident using glass in the freezer 3 years ago & I have a had several crack while thawing. Now I save the plastic container that mayonnaise come in. They are perfect for soup stock (beef, pork or chicken). I recycle every bit of plastic, glass, metal & paper that I can.

    • Ana Victoria says:

      Hi Michaelann,
      Thanks for your tips! I too had that glass/freezer experience – it was not pretty! We love all the tips. Thanks again for sharing!
      Ana

  2. I’m heading to the store in a bit. I always reuse plastic bags for things around the home if I forget to bring my cloth ones to the store. But I never even thought about reusing the individual produce bags for more produce the next time! For sure going to start doing this.

  3. Heather says:

    Old lace curtains (think curtains that you would NEVER put in your house, but that your mother/grandmother used during the ’80s) could be easily sewn into breathable produce bags.

  4. I take my bag to the health food store and they give a ten cents discount for your own bag. So, I carry a couple in the car and always have them whenever I shop anywhere.

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