You, as a grocery shopper, have the ability to cut down waste products and lower the impact of such on the environment. These habits play a major role.
The US sees 30-40% of its food wasted every year and a major portion of it is due to the grocery department. Packagings and food containers add up to 23% of the wastes in landfills and the stores are responsible for 10% of the same. The average grocery shopper spends $118 every week on groceries.
The wastes linked with a grocery shopper are baggings, packaging, the choices of alternatives, and the food itself.
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You can be a smart grocery shopper by reducing your waste and shopping greener. These small choices will play a significant role to reduce the environmental impact.
1: Carry Your Own Bags For Shopping
Plastics are non-biodegradable and tend to break down into microplastics. This can take centuries in large landfills.
Over 100 billion such plastic bags are used by people each year and these are difficult to recycle. They can find themselves in the channels of water, where it is consumed by fishes and can transfer the microplastics into the food chain.
You can easily avoid this wastage by collecting some reusable bags and keeping them handy for grocery shopping. Be a smart grocery shopper and keep some in your car in case of emergencies. You can also keep the packable ones in your purse or pockets.
Avoid putting your food in plastics and use reusable produce bags. These can be bought easily and hold your fruits, vegetables, and other herbs.
2: Opt For Bulk Buying
The packaging and containers add to 23% of the wastes found in landfills. These plastics are a major constituent of waste.
Avoid adding to this huge heap of plastic waste by shopping in the bulk section of the grocery stores. You can fill your bags or containers with unpackaged goods and pay for these items by weight. As a smart grocery shopper, you can completely avoid using plastic bags.
You can choose to buy in bulk to avoid its plastic wrappings. These are commonly found in products like coffee, beans, and nuts. You can also reduce the amount of waste generated at home by purchasing the exact amount you require. The predetermined quantities will make you purchase more than what you really need.
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You can be a smarter grocery shopper by looking for filleries, where they sell food in bulk without external packaging. You can purchase spices, butter, oils, pasta, and even eggs from these grocery stores.
3: Be A Smart Grocery Shopper And Ask About Taring
Some stores are seen to support the act of taring. It weighs your containers and fills them with bulk products. It can also include liquids or other items that can not be placed in a bag.
You can also fill up your vessels, for example, glass jars, Tupperware, etc. The grocery shops will ask you to pre-weigh the containers and note their weight. The weight will be subtracted after you weigh your total purchase at the checkout.
Even if this is not supported, you can ask a support executive for assistance and take the total weight of your container.
4: Shop Locally
The food that we consume, travel from long distances via cars, trucks, ships, etc. They emit carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into the air.
You can be a smart grocery shopper by shopping locally. You can reduce the distance of the traveled food and also help your local farmers out. All the areas might not have local farms associated with them but you can research the nearby farmlands that sell such products. You can also visit your nearest farmer’s market to know more.
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Some farms sell their products as a whole to larger grocery stores. You can choose to buy it directly from their hands, directly.
Be a smarter grocery shopper and buy the food while its season is on. If you buy something out of season, it would likely have been stored in cold storage for months, adding to the emissions.
5: Be A Smart Grocery Shopper And Research Your Food
It is not possible to purchase food from local markets, but you can undergo research to know more.
Be smart and look for the manufacturer’s name and their practices. Look for signs of ethical practices like pesticide-free crops or ethical standards for raising meat.
Look for USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certificates. Such certifications are guaranteed to express the safety of the product and also about the standards that the farm follows.
Select your seafood properly as they have devastating effects on the food cycle in the ocean. Look for the BAP seals on the seafood to know if the food was obtained responsibly.
6: Opt For Less Processing
If you leave aside the packaging, the fresh foods are said to have a lower impact on the environment.
The food will be highly sustainable if the processing, preservation, and refrigeration take as little time as possible. If you act like a smart grocery shopper and buy fewer canned products, you will produce fewer emissions than the average.
7: Ugly Shopping
You can look for ugly products from the grocers. Such products are left on the shelves and rejected by several customers. You can avoid the wastage caused by such products by purchasing them. The nutrients that you receive will be the same, it is just that the apple might not be spherical.
8: Be Smart With Planned Meals
Always travel to the store with a list and plan your week. You can avoid impulse buying which leads to wastage. The average person wastes 21% of the purchased food. This amounts to $1,800 in 365 days.
Be a smart grocery shopper and check your fridges and cabinets before you go out shopping.
9: Check For Plastics
You will not be able to stop using plastic entirely but you can check out the labels on such. HDPE and PETE labeled products are easier to recycle and have a higher chance to reach the recycling plant.