Sustainable Shopping: Groceries without the Guilt

We are a nation of consumers, that’s a fact. Gone are the times that families provided their own food from their farms or gardens. Done are the days that hunting and fishing were means of survival rather than sports or hobbies. Virtually all of the 300 million+ citizens of the United States rely on grocery shopping as a means of acquiring food, and with that population rising each year the matter of sustainable practices is no light matter. Keep reading for tips on making your trips to the grocery store green and guilt free ♻️🌎💚

Reusable Bags
Not only are they fashionable, they’re earth friendly! Many grocery stores have begun to keep these bags right up front at the checkout. Plastic bags take valuable resources to produce and wreak havoc on the environment when they are pitched, so ditch the practice of wasting plastic and invest in reusable grocery bags. Bonus: less likely to rip and spill your groceries all over the ground. Speaking from experience, not a good time.
Many stores will have these available for a few dollars, and here are some online options.
3 pack – $21.99
10 pack – $18.00
5 pack (w/ designs) – $32.00

Recycle or Donate Plastic Bags
If you find yourself at the checkout with no reusable bag, don’t get down on yourself just yet. There are definitely ways to turn this around and keep the environment from taking a complete L. Many food pantries will use these bags and appreciate the donation of un-torn plastic bags. A quick Google search will also tell you of recycling centers in your area that may accept plastic bags.

Fewer Trips to Reduce Gas
Make the most of your trips by planning ahead of time and reducing the risk of having to make second or third runs back to the store to grab forgotten items. Keep a list on your phone’s notes or on the fridge so that you can add as you go about your day. Try to plan days that you will have time and will not feel rushed while shopping so that you can focus on completing all of your tasks. Try coordinating with friends or family nearby so that you can carpool – and the added company is nice, too!

Consider Packaging When Purchasing
While perusing the aisles, look out for products that have the least amount of packaging, especially plastic. Produce will often have the option of being bought as single items. Instead of buying one-use water bottles, buy reusable and a water filter for the whole family to use time and time again. This personal tip that I learned from my gran gives away my southern roots, but I also consider tubs (cool whip containers, yogurt containers, etc) when I am purchasing. These are very convenient as tupperware later on. You can write dates with permanent marker directly on them to make sure leftovers do not go past their safe-for-consumption date, and they can be given away to guests without a second thought of having them returned.

Reduce Meat
Reducing your meat intake, especially beef, is the single most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint – even more than giving up cars. Instead of red meats, consider purchasing plant based items that can be paired to create complete protein meals (complementary proteins such as rice and beans provide all of the essential amino acids the body needs)

This list would not be complete without this most obvious tip, but stay vigilant! It is easy to overlook items that could potentially be recycled. Try keeping a separate trash can in your kitchen with a Recycling logo on the top to keep you reminded and motivated at all times.

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