Call me crazy, but I really like shopping for groceries! It’s like a fun excursion or very short holiday trip. Which is a good thing, for shopping is kind of inevitable. You have to eat, right?
But whether you like shopping or not, when doing it in a conscious and “green” way, you can at least feel good about that. There is no extra time or money needed for doing so, even I can manage shopping green on my tight student budget! Let me give you some tips on how to greenify your grocery shopping!
A Love for Grocery Shopping
I just love walking around the store, looking at all the delicious things and thinking of all the delicious meals and snacks you could make with it. For me, it’s a moment to relax and restore my energy. Strange as it may sound, cycling home from my local organic grocer is always one of my peak moments when it comes to inspiration. I often have to hold myself back from rushing off to the computer the moment I come home, so that I can first put my groceries in the fridge and cupboards.
But this post was not supposed to be about the therapeutic effect of shopping. Or maybe a little bit, indirectly. Because shopping green will not only make a difference to the world around you, it might also work positively on your conscience. So, basically, it’s good for everyone! Let’s get started on those tips!
- Green Transportation
First of all, how are you going to get to the store? Will you walk, cycle or drive in your car? I think we all know what the green choices would be here. So please keep that in mind! On the other hand, I do know that in some cases it is just not possible to go shopping by bike. When you live very remote, are physically not able to cycle, or just have to get a huge load of groceries, going by car might be your only option. In that case, try to reduce the environmental impact by combining your trip with some other errands. Or pick up groceries for your neighbour as well, to prevent two cars driving the same route when one would have been sufficient.
- Bring your own Bag
It has gotten a lot of attention lately, with plastic bags not freely being distributed at Dutch supermarkets anymore, but I think it is still worth mentioning. It is so easy to take with you your own shopping bag, so why wouldn’t you? It could save you the cost of having to pay for a plastic bag at the register, and it is a lot better for the environment. Plus, I have found that my own bag is a lot more convenient to carry! (And nicer-looking too!)
- Keep Fruits and Veggies Out of Plastic
Is it really necessary to put every single apple/banana/kiwi/leek in a separate plastic bag? I know it’s quite common in the Netherlands, but unnecessary nonetheless. Of course, when you are buying ten apples, you want something to keep them together (also for the weighing). But if it is just two of them, I think only a weighing label will be totally sufficient! Also, if you do need a bag and you have the choice between plastic and paper, always choose paper!
- Food Origin
Let’s move on to actually choosing what to buy. One of the main things where you can make a huge difference in environmental impact is the source of the food. In other words, where does it come from? I think it is quite easy to see that the less miles food has travelled, the better for the environment, right? I’m not going to tell you never to buy bananas again, I wouldn’t listen to that either. But when you have the choice between something from your area and something from a faraway country, then you can easily go for the green option. Note: The same goes for seasonal produce.
- Choosing Organic
I’m a big fan of organic products. I believe they are better for the environment, the animals in case those are involved, and your own health. Due to the lack of pesticides and the greater attention for soil and nature well-being, organic products tend to be a very green choice. Find out how to buy organic on a tight budget in this post.
- Buying in Bulk
I don’t eat a lot. So I don’t need that much groceries. But I still try to buy certain things in bulk and would certainly recommend that to larger households. Not only does it reduce packaging material (One sheet of plastic/carton around 250 grams, or one (slightly bigger) sheet of plastic around 1.5 kilograms, what would be the best choice?). But is also saves you from another trip to the grocer in the near future. This only works for things that can be easily stored (in cupboards or frozen) of course, otherwise you would only risk food waste.
I hope these tips can be of help to you. If you have any other ideas on how to greenify your grocery shopping, please leave a comment below!