For many, grocery shopping is just another task to check off their to-do list. For most of us, it’s something we do last minute, especially when we forget an ingredient (or two). When we’re at the grocery store, we may not be paying attention to ways we can reduce our waste. We may think the only way we can be more sustainable is by going to a zero-waste store like Nada Grocery or to make sure the food we buy don’t go to waste.
However, here are 3 easy ways you can reduce your waste while shopping.
1. Bring reusable shopping bags
Nowadays, we’ve formed the habit of bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. But when we’re in a rush, or making a last-minute grocery run, we may forget our reusable bags at home. To avoid situations like these, keep a couple bags on you when you go out. Consider stashing a few away in your car, or folding a reusable bag so that it can fit in your purse.
Also, we find making a shopping list helps reduce the number of plastic bags we may need at the counter. Consider making a list and sticking to it or bring more reusable bags than you think you’d need. You never know if there’s a great deal at your local grocery store that you can’t leave without! This way, you won’t have to ask for extra plastic bags at the till or pay extra cents towards one.
2. Invest in a set of reusable produce bags
Another item we like to keep in our reusable shopping bags are reusable produce bags. Like these found on Amazon, reusable produce bags reduce the need to use the plastic ones provided by the store. The flimsy plastic bags can rip and tear. They are also often single use, thrown away in the garbage immediately upon coming home. Why not reduce this unnecessary waste by simply using reusable produce bags? Depending on the reusable produce bags you get, some are cloth based and biodegradable. You can wash most of them and reuse many times over.
3. Say no to receipts
Asking for a receipt or accepting one can be a force of habit. We like to keep track of the items we buy. We also like to make sure we’re charged correctly. Or, we want to keep receipts on hand in case we want to return an item. However, when was the last time you returned an item at a grocery store?
A side benefit of saying no to grocery store receipts is that you can reduce the temptation to return food items. Many stores will accept grocery items on return, but because of potential contamination, they throw the items away. It becomes easier to ask yourself – do you really need to buy it – when you can’t return the item later.
If you still prefer a receipt, ask for an e-receipt if it’s available. If you want to check the points on your account, consider signing up for an account online if the store offers it. This way, you can get updates often sent to your email address. If you’re concerned about the line items as the cashier scans your items, consider watching the screen while they scan. That way, you can catch mistakes early before paying.
These are the best ways you can reduce your waste while shopping for groceries at any store. Outside the common suggestions to avoid plastic-wrapped produce, our three suggestions will make you realize how easy it is to reduce your waste at the grocery store. Bring extra reusable bags, invest in a set of cloth produce bags, or even just say no to receipts at the counter.
What are your #zerowaste grocery store shopping tips? Share them with us on Twitter (@cdnmattrecycler)!