Want to reduce your plastic use especially when shopping for food?
A lot of plastic packaging can be avoided by buying fresh produce, shopping at farmers’ markets and making our own food at home. Packaging can also be avoided by shopping at bulk stores and bringing your own containers.
Bring these items when going low waste shopping:
Instead of using plastic bags, bring your own reusable bags. To avoid forgetting them at home, keep some in the trunk of your car and have a couple of foldable bags in your purse.
Replace those flimsy produce plastic bags at the supermarket with a reusable produce bag. These are usually made of fine mesh or cotton. Reuse clean cotton shoe bags and even the plastic mesh net that those lemons come in.
The reusable bulk bags can be used to buy flours, nuts and seeds too.
An alternative is to just get loose produce. Fruits or vegetables with hard peels, like bananas, lemons, even ginger or garlic, usually don’t even need to be bagged. Let them roll around in your shopping cart or basket.
Keep those pickle, jam or nut butter glass containers. Or get some mason jars from the thrift store or from friends.
Use the glass jars to shop at the bulk bins. There are plenty of stores now that allow customers to bring their own containers.
How does that work?
First, go to the cashier to get the tare weight of your clean empty container. Write it down on the cover, over a piece of tape, or with a wax crayon. Place the product in the jar. Then, when you checkout, the cashier will deduct the tare weight from your purchase so you only pay for the product.
This is a great way to just buy what you need, less waste overall and cheaper too.
An optional item, but useful when the bulk bin scooper is too big for the glass jar.
Take a baby step to reduce your plastic use. It takes time to change our habits.
The next time you go shopping, try to pay attention to the amount of plastic you are buying. Then think of a more sustainable alternative to that item. Little things add up and every small change matters to help our planet.