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Zero Waste Grocery Shopping | The Ultimate Guide

When our founder Marina Qutab first transitioned to the zero waste lifestyle four years ago, she took a deep look at her lifestyle and discovered three areas of her life that she was creating the majority of her waste. They were:

  1. Food
  2. Personal care products
  3. Single-use plastics

Today we are going to tackle #1, food. Grocery shopping is a weekly activity that nearly everyone around the globe participates in, and due to the current structure of our linear economy, food is often sold to consumers in single-use plastics that will end up in the landfill or worse, in our oceans. There's good news, though. There are simple steps that you can take to make your grocery shopping trip a little less trashy.

Let's start with the tools of the trade.


Reusable Shopping Bags

On average we only recycle one plastic bag in every 200 we use. Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. This statistic doesn't account for the paper bags provided at checkout as well. Although paper bags are often viewed as the greener alternative to plastic bags, greenhouse gas emissions are still released during production and if one is to recycle them, this still requires energy to process. 

You best way to avoid the hidden environmental costs of using paper or plastic bags as checkout is to bring your own reusable tote bags to the store. Most grocery stores by now have incentivized shoppers to bring their own bags by providing a discount at checkout or by charging shoppers who use their bags. Check out our {Zero} Waste Kit organic tote bags here.

Reusable Produce Bags

Reusable produce bags are a true game changer for waste-free grocery shopping. Store your loose vegetables, fruits or even bulk items in them. 

Check out our {Zero} Waste Kit grocery store produce packs here.

Reusable Containers

 Reusable containers are great for storing bulk items that are more difficult to store in produce bags. Things like:

  • Wet ingredients, namely deli products
  • Bulk flour/powders/spice
  • Bulk wet foods, namely dried fruits

Feeling like you're ready to take on grocery shopping like a #ZeroWasteBadass yet? Keep reading for our suggestions on where to shop to have the best luck scoring your groceries package-free.

Grocery Stores with Bulk Options

Grocery stores with bulk options will allow you to put your produce bags and jar to good use whilst filling up your pantry with waste-free delights. If you have no grocery stores in your area with bulk options, consider meeting with a grocery store near you to start up a conversation and explore what it would take to offer bulk options.

The Farmer's Market

The farmer's market is a great place to not only find produce package-free, it is also a great place to connect with your community, support your local farmer, and buy produce that is fresh, local, organic, seasonal and non-GMO. 

Your Local Coop

Food co-ops are retail cooperatives that are owned by the people who shop there. This means that food co-ops are owned by members of the community – not outside investors. This is perfect for a zero waste shopper, as it gives them along with every other coop member a say in decisions that affect the co-op. Instead of paying outside investors, co-ops return their profits to their member-owners in the form of patronage refunds – dividends, cash, discounts, or store credit. In addition, food co-ops source products from more local farmers and producers, donate proportionally more dollars to charity, have better worker wages and benefits, and give back more to the local economy than traditional grocery stores. We'd like to think of coops as a win-win-win.

Thanks for tuning in for another blog post on the {Zero} Waste Kit blog! We hope these help you on your journey to reducing your ecological footprint. 

If you have any comments or questions, be sure to leave them below. Lastly, don't forget to share this blog post with someone who you think would appreciate it!

Until next time, badasses.


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