Zero Waste grocery shopping! I know what you’re thinking “HUH?! WHAT?!” Stay with me here. It’s a lot simpler than it seems.
Yes it takes planning and a bit of prep work, but it’s so worth it in the long run. The amount of plastic used in our everyday food packaging is outstanding. Landfills and recycling centers are full of it. And in fact, products once containing food will not be recycled into new packaging for more. This is because of possible cross-contaminants. It will be melted down and used to produce another form of plastic. This process is called “down-cycling”. Each turn at the recycling center sends it further down the down-cycled ladder and eventually will not be usable anymore. Therefore, it will ultimately end up in the landfill.
Not to mention the energy used to actually produce and transport this packaging. And for what? Ease? Sure. Does it look pretty and colorful? Maybe. But is it necessary? Absolutely not! There are many bulk grocery stores that allow you to bring empty and reusable jars, fill them up with what you need and go on your merry way. This has not only become a staple in our household, but it’s become a hobby.
I love finding new jars (mostly repurposed from old food jars). Fat jars, skinny jars, tall jars, tiny jars! They’re ALL good! I just love the principal behind this style of shopping so much! I find it really connects you to what you eat. You see exactly what you’re getting, and that you’re getting your money’s worth. It drives me crazy when I forget something in the back of my pantry and it goes bad. Food waste is such a huge issue already in North America. I just can’t handle the idea of being an even bigger part of the problem, instead of the solution. Insert Zero Waste shopping and you have your answer.
Start out with ideas for meals for the week (or for me, every 2 weeks since I live a bit far from my bulk store). Get an idea of what you want to eat and snack on; and how much you’ll need. Bring the amount of jars and/or cloth bags that you’ll be needing for your stock and VOILA! That’s it! Shopping this way allows you to only buy what you will need and throw away less in the long run.
This style is not only limited to bulk stores and dried goods. Try at your local farmer’s market. Insist on them putting the items you’re purchasing into your jars or reusable containers. My family has done this on multiple occasions for food like cheeses, meats, fresh produce and bread. If you go in with enough assertiveness and ya know… basic manners, it’s hard to be refused.
Now, shall I even comment on all the cash I’ve been saving? Every time we throw away a half-eaten box of crackers, we throw away half the cash we put into it. Since I started doing my groceries in this fashion, I can’t even tell you how much money I’ve saved! Or better yet, will be saving long term. How many times have you wanted to try a new recipe, only to find that it requires some new ingredient you’ve never heard of or don’t have in stock? It happens to me ALL THE TIME! With the option of shopping by weight, you can get exactly what you need. Only need a teaspoon of that exotic ingredient? Only buy a teaspoon! When we buy the product by the package, we are often left with so much. With new ingredients, we’re less likely to learn how to use them, causing them to be shuffled towards the back of our pantries or fridges. Sooner or later, it will be forgotten, and we’re left with the extra costs of food waste.
So let’s recap, Zero Waste grocery shopping is:
• good for the environment
• good for your household waste production
• and good for your wallet.
Now it’s time for you to get on the Zero Waste path. Enjoy!---- Dawn Francom ---- 2019-03-07 00:39:48