If you’re like most Americans, then you go grocery shopping at least once on a weekly basis, spending thousands of dollars on food each and every year. Of course, when you do your grocery shopping, you’re not just bringing home yummy snacks and the ingredients for delicious meals. You’re also bringing home lots of packaging, from produce baggies to cardboard containers.
It’s inevitable that you’re going to bring home some product packaging, but there are some simple steps you can take to shop sustainably and minimize your waste. In fact, the decisions you make in the grocery store can have an outsized impact on your overall environmental footprint.
Tips to Reduce Waste While You Do Your Grocery Shopping
Consider a few strategies:
- Remember the three Rs. Reduce, reuse, recycle. This simple mantra provides a helpful framework for evaluating your grocery shopping decisions. Start by looking for ways to reduce the packaging you bring home, whether by buying in bulk or by seeking products that don’t come with extra or individualized packaging. Seek reusable or refillable products whenever you can. And be on the lookout for products that boast recycled or recyclable packaging.
- Seek single-source packaging. It’s always good to look for packaging that’s made from recyclable content, but if that doesn’t work out, you can also seek single-source products. Basically, look for packaging that includes just a single type of material (like plastic or tin) as opposed to multiple materials that commingle. Commingled materials tend to place a greater burden on the recycling system.
- Avoid single-use plastics. Plastic bags, especially those designed for one-time use, are treacherous to the environment. Most stores now let you bring in your own reusable bags, which is something we highly recommend. Finding a store that lets you bring your own produce jars and containers is even better!
- Shop at local farmer’s markets. Though this may depend on the season, farmer’s markets can be great places to get locally sourced foods…and much of the time, these local products don’t come with nearly as much extra packaging.
There’s plenty you can do to decrease your landfill contributions… and that includes making smart, sustainable decisions each time you visit the grocery store.
Curious for more tips to minimize your environmental footprint? Make sure you follow along with the WasteXperts blog, and contact us if you have any questions.