We all know we need to do our part to protect the environment, but it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. We believe that every little bit helps and small changes can make a big difference. We’re all about showing our love for Mother Earth, so we’re sharing 5 tips for waste-free shopping.
1. Bring your own bags
An oldie but a goodie, one of the best things you can do to be an environmentally conscious shopper is bring your own reusable bags when you shop. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year (Center for Biological Diversity), so this small action can have a big impact. Make sure to invest in some reusable produce bags too, so you can avoid using the plastic ones to hold your veggies!
Whether you’re heading to the grocery store or to the mall, packing a few of these babies will come in handy. Plus, there are endless options so you can show off your personal style while you shop!
2. Buy in bulk
Shopping at a bulk store or in the bulk section of your grocery store is a great way to go zero-waste. Buying items like nuts, grains, and seeds in bulk can reduce both packaging waste and food waste because you can buy exactly the amount you need.
Bring some reusable containers like mason jars or cloth bags so that you aren’t using the store’s plastic bags - have them weighed before you fill them so you’ll only be charged for the weight you buy. You can even use these containers in other sections, like the deli!
3. Look for eco-friendly packaging
If you’re buying packaged goods, look for products with packaging that’s made from recyclable materials like cardboard, metal, or glass. Think outside the box about how you might be able to reuse the packaging of the things you buy!
Mother Raw proudly uses glass bottles that you can recycle or reuse when you’re finished with them. Check out these four fun ideas to give your Mother Raw bottles a new life!
4. Shop the perimeter
Sticking to the border aisles of the grocery store will help you focus on fresh foods, which typically have less packaging, if any at all. The central aisles house many processed products, some of which can be heavily packaged and don’t necessarily use recyclable materials.
Beware of products with excess packaging, such as pre-portioned items that have packaging hidden inside other packaging. Shopping the perimeter of the store will help you make your trip waste-free and benefit your health as an extra bonus!
5. Plan ahead
This tip is great for Mother Earth AND your wallet! Plan your meals for the week before you make your shopping list! This will give you a better idea of what you really need to buy and will stop you from over-buying and potentially leading to food waste. Food waste emits more greenhouse gas than most countries in the world, and when food is thrown away, it’s also a waste of all the resources used to produce it (CEC). Making a list and sticking to it will help you buy less and ultimately create less food waste.
With these tips in your back pocket, you’ll be all set to take on your first waste-free shopping trip. We all start somewhere, and reducing waste when you shop is a great first step towards reducing your eco-footprint. What’s your favourite way to show your love for Mother Earth?
Written By: Victoria Ehgoetz
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Reusable produce bags from Credobags
- UCLA Sustainability
- Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)