Welcome to week 4 of the Plastic Free Tips! This week, we’re looking at how you can reduce or minimise your waste when shopping for food.
Firstly, we want to take a moment to state that your health and safety are of paramount importance, especially while the world experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, it is important to do what you can for the environment, but please make sure you’re putting your health and safety, and the safety of others above all else.
What does a low-waste grocery shop look like? Here are some tips on how to minimise waste while shopping for your food:
- Always carry reusable bags
Say no to single-use plastic bags! 500 billion plastic bags are used every year. Leave a few reusable bags at your front door, in your car or at work so that you always have one handy. Reusable shopping bags are readily available and can be used over and over again.
- Choose reusable produce bags
You have made the first step to ditch single-use shopping bags (well done!) now it’s time to say goodbye to single-use plastic produce bags (the ones you find in the fresh fruit and vegetables section of supermarkets). Alternatively, you can ditch produce bags altogether and place fruit and vegetable straight into the basket or trolley. Just make sure you wash them prior to cooking or eating.
- Bring refillable jars and containers
Shop at bulk food stores and bring refillable jars and containers when you’re purchasing dry staples like rice, flour, nuts and pasta. If you forget your jars and containers or don’t have enough, opt for paper bags instead of single-use plastic produce bags.
- Support local farmers markets
Supporting local farmers is always a great option, however it often makes a waste free shop a lot easier. In most cases, fresh fruit and vegetables can be found without plastic packaging, and are usually organically grown. Better for the planet and your health.
- Search for plastic free alternatives
Choose items stored in metal, paper or glass if you can, as these materials are generally reusable or recyclable. If you can’t find a particular item without plastic packaging, try searching for alternatives online (or ask us!) and approach your local supermarket to request whether they can order that product for you to purchase in store.
- Shop in bulk
Bulk food stores and bulk sections in supermarkets are becoming more frequent. There are vast varieties of products at most major bulk food stores, so you can often find what you are looking for in bulk without the plastic packaging. Remember to always bring refillable jars and containers, or use paper bags if you forget.
- Plan your shop
Planning ahead by making a list of what you need will help prevent getting caught out. You can then determine how many reusable shopping and produce bags you need, and how many refillable jars and containers to bring with you. Better yet, if you have the option, keep extras in your car, just in case.