Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

In 2018, I’m hoping to gain mindfulness with my shopping habits.

After cleaning out my closet, for the 3rd time in 5 months, and watching The True Cost (highly recommend), I have broken up with fast fashion and have devised a plan for future shopping. I accepted less is more, and I’m totally okay with that.

Once I had a system of mindful shopping down with my closet, I started investigating other areas of my life and considering where else I can bring in more mindfulness. The first thing that popped into my mind was grocery shopping. In 2018, I’m working on experimenting with new foods and eating a bigger variety of fruits and vegetables. But when I went to Whole Foods right before the new year to stock up on apples, broccoli, and kale, I looked at my cart and noticed how many plastic bags were in there. Sure, I brought my reusable grocery bags in with me, but that didn’t cancel out all of the single use produce bags that I knew I would throw out when I got home. I asked myself, aren’t these just as bad, if not worse, than the cheap shirts I just got rid of from H&M that I wore only a handful of times? Both were unnecessary waste because I didn’t think it through.

I made it my mission in January to focus on reducing my waste at the grocery store. First, if you aren’t already, I can’t emphasize using reusable grocery bags. I have 3 in a variety of sizes, 2 of which were given to me. There are a ton of options out there. Something that’s cotton would be best. However, mine are all from Whole Foods and are made from recycled plastic. If/when I ever need to replace them though, I will be going for something like this string tote bag from Villagers, or one of the many cotton totes that I already own.

Since I already had reusable grocery bags, I focused on actually using them. The easiest way to do this is to keep them in your car at all times. From talking to others, it seems the hardest part is remembering to put them back after you use them, so I make sure to set them on top of my purse. Next time I go out, I bring them along and return them to my backseat. I used my bags every shopping trip in January, no matter the grocery store. And on the rare occasion I forgot to grab them in, I simply told the cashier I didn’t need a bag and carried everything back to my car. It can be a hard habit to get into, so I recommend trying out a monthly experiment and see if you can use them every time, or forgo a bag if you forget.

Next, I looked into solutions for the produce bag problem. From social media, I knew reusable muslin and mesh produce bags existed, I had just never put the effort into buying them. I looked at a couple websites, and settled on getting a set of each from The Wild Minimalist. The muslin ones are great for things like nuts, seeds, and grains in bulk. The mesh bags are perfect for apples, peppers, cucumbers, etc. Each set comes with 5, so like the grocery bags, I can keep a few of each type in my car and easily grab them before heading into the store. They are pretty big and machine washable. There was also a mix up with the delivery of my package, but the customer service at The Wild Minimalist was amazing. They were extremely patient with me and were planning to send me another set until my neighbor came back home from traveling to find my package had been delivered to him by mistake.

I already had a lot of mason jars at home for storing bulk foods, but if you don’t, I would look into getting a set. They are affordable and easy to throw in the dishwasher. Once I pick up things like oats, rice, and almonds in bulk, I transfer them to the jars when I get home so I can keep my produce bags accessible for another trip.

And last, but certainly not least, I discovered bee’s wrap. I don’t use plastic wrap that often, but I did want to look into a replacement. Low and behold, I stumbled upon bee’s wrap on Instagram. They are made of organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. I’ve used them to cover half eaten yogurt containers, and when I posted them to my stories, someone suggested I use them for cheese. Perfect! I ordered an assortment pack from Villagers, but you can also find them at The Wild Minimalist and Package Free Shop.

These are four simple things you can do this week to drastically reduce your waste at the grocery store. If you chose to accept, I challenge you to examine your grocery shopping habits and then make yourself a zero waste kit. After that, try a month of zero waste grocery shopping and see how it goes. It might feel daunting at first, but by the end of the month it will start to feel completely natural. And to make it even easier, The Wild Minimalist has a kit to help you out 😉

If you have any tips, please share them in the comments below! Happy shopping!

 

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February 6, 2018

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