The kitchen is one of the most wasteful rooms in the home. We grocery shop every week and eat three meals a day which can add up to a lot of trash.
While reducing your waste when grocery shopping might be overwhelming, with just a few simple swaps you'll be able to drastically cut down on the amount of plastic you bring into your home.
1. Bring the Bags!
We've talked pretty extensively about BYOB. Check out the article I did during our Earth Day Challenge.
2. Get Naked:
Not you - your produce! There's no reason to take a single orange and place it in a plastic produce bag. Just leave it naked.
If you're buying a lot of little items like spinach leaves, mushrooms, or lemons I could see how bagging the produce would be beneficial. If that's the case, bring a few reusable cotton produce bags with you.
It's just like bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store... except they're smaller.... and for produce. ;)
3. Shop from Bulk:
If you have a bulk section in your grocery store, make sure you're using it. You can bring your own cloth produce bags to fill up with all sorts of goodies like beans, grains, chocolate, etc.
This is one of the best ways to reduce packaging waste.
4. Shop in Bulk:
The food in the bulk bins didn't magically appear there. It came from a much larger bag. If you don't have access to bulk bins, consider being your own bulk section.
By buying a much larger bag like 20-30lbs, you can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you're consuming overall.
5. Be Material Mindful:
Instead of plastic opt for glass or aluminum which can be recycled infinitely without any loss of quality.
Or opt for products loose in paper like flour or sugar which can be recycled or composted.
6. Look Local:
Try and find produce that was grown near you. When you support local farms this not only keeps your tax dollars local, it also lowers the overall footprint of your meal.
Eating tomatoes from Mexico have a pretty high footprint vs. the ones grew a couple of towns over.
If you can't find a lot of local produce, consider signing up for a CSA.
7. Plant Forward:
Focus your meals around local and seasonal produce. Try to avoid overly processed and typically overly packaged foods by learning to make a few simple meals.
Another way to drastically reduce your foot print is to lower your consumption of animal products. Animal agriculture is a pretty big contributor to climate change so go for veg breakfasts and lunches.
8. Prevent Food Waste:
Before you leave the house, make sure you know what you have in your fridge! Make a mental note to plan meals around the older foods FIRST!
When keeping that in mind, you can prevent food waste. Also be mindful of how much you're buying. It's better to buy less upfront because you can always come back to the store if you need to.