4 tips to be more sustainable when you go grocery shopping

sustainable grocery

This is how you shop consciously and environmentally-friendly

We all need food to eat and so we all pretty much depend on our local grocery store to buy whatever we need to get through the week. Whether that is nutritious food, snacks or some fast food options. But whenever we buy stuff, it usually comes in some sort of packaging material that we then throw out. But is there a way to shop more consciously and reduce the amount of waste we add to the landfill?

1. The three R’s

When you are shopping, you should always remember the three R’s. They stand for reduce, reuse and recycle. Katherine Huded, vice president of Circular Ventures, explained the three R’s to Well + Good. She said that the first R – reduce – is very important when you’re trying to decide what to buy. If you can save packaging by buying in bulk, then you should consider buying more than one. If you have the choice between an item that is wrapped or one that is not wrapped, you might want to choose the latter. Another tip given by Huded is: “…consider buying items packaged in common curbside recyclable materials, such as paper boxes, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles, jugs, and containers.”

2. Read the labels

On the labels of products is written whether the products are made of recyclable materials or if they have recycled content in them. And when you have found items that are recyclable, pay attention to how these items are supposed to be recycled. According to Huded, not everything can be recycled the same way. “The chasing arrows symbol denotes recyclability for most common household recyclables. For packaging that is not widely recyclable in residential recycling programs, instructions may be included, like ‘check locally’ or ‘return to the store.’” And if you see something that is made out of single-sourced materials, that is the best option to choose. When packaging is made from one kind of material, it makes recycling easier and more successful than when packaging that contains combined materials has to be separated during the recycling process.

3. Don’t buy single-use plastics

The best way to do reduce the use of single-use plastics is by bringing your own bags when you go grocery shopping. That way, you can significantly reduce waste. Huded explains: “Reusable bags are often more durable and made with more material than single-use bags, so it’s important to reuse them many times over. If you do use single-use plastic bags, reuse them wherever possible.”

4. Recycling might be different in your area

Even though the packaging of food might have clear instructions on them, these are still just guidelines. General instructions that might fit some areas and people, but not all. So the best way to make sure you are recycling properly, is to check with your own local guidelines. In the US alone, there are over nine-thousand recycling programs. That means that whatever works in one area, might not work in another. So look at the policies in your area and figure out whether al types of food packaging can be recycled in your area. If not, adjust your shopping accordingly.

Also read: True or false: Can you train yourself to like certain foods?

Source: Well and Good | Image: Unsplash, Cristiano Pinto

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