5 Habits to Adopt for Sustainable Grocery Shopping

5 Habits to Adopt for Sustainable Grocery Shopping

Plastic Free July is almost over, but the war on plastic most certainly is not!

With almost everything wrapped in plastic these days, grocery shopping can become tricky business when you are trying to be more sustainable.  In fact, it’s probably impossible to avoid plastic completely unless you are buying from Zero Waste stores.

But even if you cannot avoid it completely, there are still habits you can adopt to make your carbon footprint lighter when shopping.

Here are some changes you can make this month (if you haven’t already):

1.Avoid Processed and Packaged Foods

This can be hard, but a good place to start is to make sure that you buy your produce loose and then use your own boxes or bags to carry them in.  Places like Food Lover’s Market offer a very wide range of produce that you can buy loose.  In cases where you cannot avoid packaging (like condiments) you can opt for recyclable containers, like glass, where possible.

2.Buy in Bulk

Not only will this save you constant trips to the grocery store, you will also be reducing the amount of packaging you use as you are avoiding small, wrapped portions.  Another benefit is that it minimizes transport pollution as larger packages allow trucks to be packed more efficiently.  Having more control over the amount of product you use because you are not relying on pre-packed smaller portions, can also result in less food wastage.  If produce spoiling is a concern to you, here are 30 excellent tips to make your produce last longer.

3.Avoid Plastic Bags

There are so many alternatives to plastic bags that I am not even sure why we use them anymore.  Re-usable fabric bags, cardboard boxes or even paper bags are all great alternatives.  Keep one in your car for small trips here and there and when doing your big monthly shopping, make sure to take as many as you think you will need.

4.Shop Seasonal

Avoiding out of season produce can help reduce air pollution.  Getting the produce to your local grocery store means thousands of miles of air and ground transport that could have been avoided.  Local, seasonal produce is usually also cheaper (and tastes better!).  If you are not sure what’s in season and what’s not in SA, here’s a handy chart to help you.

5.Support Zero Waste Stores and Farmer’s Markets

Zero Waste stores are becoming a thing abroad, and SA is slowly catching on with places like the Zero Waste Store in Cape Town leading the way.  Supporting places like this, can have a positive impact on the environment and the community!

Do you have any advice for sustainable shopping?  Let us know in the comments below.

Have a happy Plastic Free August!


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