How to be More Eco-Friendly When Grocery Shopping


If you are worried about the state of the earth and wished that there was something more that you could do to improve the environment, then you are in luck. You have a power to reduce ecological damage that you may not even know that you possess, and it is no farther away than your pocketbook. You would be surprised how much influence you can exercise just by how you chose to shop for groceries. With careful consideration of your shopping methods and which items you chose to purchase you can do a great deal to improve the state of the earth.

There are three main things that you can do in order to make your grocery shopping more eco-friendly

Think About Transportation

The first thing that you should think of is how you are getting to and from the grocery store. Personal transportation accounts for the largest part of the carbon footprint of a shopping trip. If you are going by car on a daily basis, it may release a lot more carbon into the atmosphere than you would like. Some things that you can do include:

  • Shop daily, walk daily: Are you able to shop at a store within walking distance and carry a small amount of groceries home? If you are, you will get great exercise at the same time you help the earth.
  • Carpool or mass transit: you may be able to arrange joint shopping trips with a neighbor by car, or a train or bus may be available for your trip. Either will drastically reduce the carbon emissions of your shopping trip.
  • Make large purchases: If you do need to travel by car, purchase enough so that you can cover your family’s needs for a week or more, reducing the number of return trips.


Waste Not, Want Not

One of the biggest factors of environmental damage is overflowing landfills. You may feel that so many people throw so much away that nothing that you do can make a difference, but there are many decisions that you can make on your shopping trip to reduce your personal contribution to environmental waste:

  • Bring your own bags: When the cashier says paper or plastic, say “neither” and bring your own bags. Reusable bags made out of recycled materials are a cheap and easy solution to make your shopping trip less wasteful.
  • Buy items that are close to the use-by date: Although this flies in the face of traditional shopping wisdom, which states to get the freshest product on the shelf, this actually causes great ecological damage. Manufacturers often put sell-by dates on their products well in advance of the time they actually go bad, forcing grocery stores to throw them out and order more. You can reduce this waste by purchasing and using those that are close to their expiration date.
  • Buy fresh produce instead of packaged: Although you can buy produce in packages that can extend their shelf life, buying fresh produce for immediate use can reduce the amount of trash that you need to throw away after a meal. Most fresh produce leftovers can be composted instead of disposed of, making it a more sustainable choice. If you buy local produce over imported produce, you can even reduce the carbon footprint of your purchase even more.

Try to to buy  as many items as you can that are manufactured out of recycled materials, and recycle as much packaging as you are able to. If you follow these suggestions you can have a great amount of impact on the health of the earth with very little effort.

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