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Braving the supermarket can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to live a little greener! Luckily, our contributor, Chelsea Jackson of Hazel + Scout, is here with nine tips for eco-smart shopping.
The trap of wasteful, thoughtless grocery store shopping is one that’s so easy to fall into. With eye-catching store displays, the convenience of plastic bags and busy lives, we typically forgo greener options simply because we don’t know where to start. As I move into a greener, more eco-conscious place, I wanted to share my tips for smart shopping in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to embrace the green grocery life.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bags)
While passing on plastic is becoming the norm in a lot of places, we’re not all there yet. One of the biggest sources of supermarket waste is disposable, single-use plastics (used for corralling produce or bagging it all up at checkout) and bringing your own gear is the easiest way to combat that waste. I’ve found versatile net bags to be a life-saver and they’re super cute, too. I suggest that you keep them in your car or close to the front door so that you don’t forget to grab ‘em on the way out. Bonus: Some stores even provide a discount for customers who come prepared!
Buy it in Bulk
Cutting down on pointless packaging by buying in bulk is a great way to go green at the market. Consider subbing out the pre-packaged foods you would usually purchase (rice, grains, nuts, etc.) for the bulk version offered in a lot of stores. Simply tote along your own bulk containers (think: Mason jars, growlers and stasher bags) and fill them up!
Pay Attention to Ingredients
Reading food labels might seem like a daunting task but it’s both important for your health to understand what goes into your food AND it saves the environment. See an unrecognizable chemical on the list? That food item probably isn’t great for you or the environment. On to the next!
Stay Away From the Middle Aisles
Speaking of label reading, the best, healthiest and greenest foods are usually kept on the perimeter of the store. This is where you’ll find produce, diary and meat. Fill up your cart here and either shop the middle aisles sparingly or skip them altogether.
How often do you toss the grocery receipt without even glancing at it? Me too! Lately, I’ve been asking the cashier to avoid printing it altogether and I haven’t missed my receipt once. Unless you think you’ll need to return something, opt out of the super long receipt and save the store a little paper.
Make a Plan
Mindless wandering often causes me to buy a whole bunch of things I don’t need. You know what they say, “Never shop hungry.” I would like to add “Never shop without a list!” to that sentiment. Simply sitting down to make a meal plan (try our tips for effortless planning here), keeping a detailed list of what you need (and how much!) and shopping for only those things will cut way back on waste.
No More Bottled Water
Water is good for the soul, and hair, and skin, and mind…you get it. While it’s true that we should all be consuming more H2O, there’s no need to continuously purchase disposable water bottles. Instead, switch to a refillable bottle that you love and invest in a water filter for your home. The planet will thank you!
Try the Farmers’ Market Instead
Whenever possible, I like to make a day of it and visit the farmers’ market for fresher produce, artisanal items I can’t find in the store and a greener mindset when it comes to shopping. Try implementing a weekly trip to your local outdoor market to stock up on farm fresh food (in your reusable bags) and enjoy the atmosphere. Super fun!
Buy Only What You Need
Ultimately, it all comes down to buying only the things that you need and will use. Try to steer clear of impulse purchases, don’t overbuy (this way you won’t overspend) and watch how quickly you cut back on wastefulness.
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