Eco Home Living

Published on April 16th, 2019 | by Sarah Dephillips


Zero Waste Living – 6 Ways to Quit Single Use Plastic in Your Grocery Shopping Routine

We all know that plastic waste is becoming an acute problem on land and in our oceans. While many people aspire to a zero-waste lifestyle, suddenly removing every morsel of single use plastic from your daily routine isn’t easy! One of the toughest places to kick the single use plastic habit is the grocery store, because plastic is such a convenient way to package our food… and everybody needs food. While some people have the time and energy to do true zero waste grocery shopping, many of us are busy, tired, on a slim budget, or don’t have a zero waste grocery store in our neighborhood. That’s real life! But don’t despair – here’s a list of ways you can reduce single use plastic in your very own local grocery store on your very own shopping routine. Every little bit matters!

  1. Pick produce that’s not pre-bagged.

    What do apples, potatoes, carrots, and onions have in common? They often come in pre-bagged or loose options. Go for the loose ones instead of the ones that come already in a single use plastic bag. The apples in neat little rows don’t taste any different from the apples in the bags, and you can pick the ones you want rather than just grabbing a bag full. Easy!

  2. Bring produce bags.

    This goes along with #1 – you can buy or make your own produce bags, but once you get some and remember to bring them to the store, it’s no extra trouble to use your own. Besides, nobody likes trying to figure out which end you’re supposed to open those thin plastic ones from. Am I right?

  3. Buy non-perishables in larger quantities.

    This one often saves money, too! Think about things like vinegar, rice, or paper towels. Yes the larger quantity packages are bigger, but when you weigh out the plastic on larger bulk quantities, it’s usually a lot less than buying the same quantity in smaller packages. Just don’t use this method on food that risks going to waste.

  4. Choose paper-wrapped bar soaps or other cleaners.

    Sure, we may like our gel body washes and spray cleaners, but they nearly all come in single use plastic. Choose a nice bar soap or powdered cleaner that comes in paper or cardboard instead. Besides, these liquid products are mostly water and use a lot of fossil fuel in shipping – bar and powder form soaps are more cleaning bang for your buck.

  5. Opt for glass over plastic.

    Many products have glass and plastic packaged brands side by side next to each other. Reach for the glass – it’s not made from petroleum, doesn’t downgrade in quality when recycled, and doesn’t leach toxic chemicals at any point in its life.

  6. Finally, don’t forget your reusable grocery bags!

    They’re sturdier, better looking, and so much better for the environment.

For more tips on zero waste living, check out some of our other articles like How to Pack a Healthy, Zero Waste Lunch, How to Throw a Zero Waste, Eco Chic Birthday Party, Trash-Free Living with Lauren Singer, and Zero Waste Future – The What, Why, and How to Get There

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