In a world of over consumption and convenience, shopping sustainably can sound like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to start try these simple tips to make your next shopping trip a little more eco-friendly.
Shop at a bulk store
Bulk buying dramatically reduces packaging and can also save you money. The concept is that the products are sold by weight so that you're only buying what you need and bringing your own containers from home helps to eliminate excess packaging. Using containers like glass jars for smaller quantities and cloth bags or Tupperware containers for heavier items are ideal (especially if you are using public transport).
Look for seasonal produce
Shopping seasonal produce at farmer shops or markets will ensure your food is local and harvested at the peak of ripeness. Not only will you food taste better, it will be more nutritious and better quality. Often the fruit and vegetables bought in supermarkets have been picked unripened then are shipped thousands of miles before reaching the store. Buying from local growers helps the environment and supports your community, the farmers and their families.
Bring reusable market bags
Many supermarkets pre-package their fresh produce in disposable plastic packaging and offer singular plastic bags for loose items, often when you reach home the food is put away and the plastic heads straight for the bin. A great way to reduce this unnecessary waste is to bring your own reusable market bags. Produce and bulk bags are ideal for transporting loose food then at home they can be used to store your items in a fridge or pantry.
At the checkout, using a handy reusable tote bag will save you money and stop you bringing additional plastic into home. Remember to keep your reusable shopping kit with you, there’s nothing worse than forgetting your reusables on those spontaneous shopping trips.
Opt for sustainable packing
Don't worry if you don't live near a bulk buy store or have access to fresh food markets there is plenty of thing you can do to reduce waste. Using reusable bags to buy unpackaged food in supermarkets or local stores is a good option and where this isn’t possible you can opt for food that is minimally packaged in sustainable materials. Always be aware to avoid unnecessary excess packaging in items that are individually packaged within a larger packet or fun-sized bars sold separately and perhaps give the promotions stand a miss if they are using small plastic cups or containers.
Say no to a receipt
Unfortunately store receipts can often be coated with BPA and other chemicals. So, if you don’t really need one it better to refuse, after all there is no point taking it just to throw it away later.
Lifestyle changes take time and everyone moves at their own pace but even small changes can drastically reduce your plastic consumption. Making the best choices where you can will help to reduce waste and protect the environment.