Tips to Make Your Grocery Shopping More Eco-Friendly
If you’re looking to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, reflecting on your shopping habits is an excellent place to start. Every dollar we spend is a vote for the type of future Australians will share, so shopping consciously and being eco-aware is a meaningful decision each of us can make. We’ve compiled five easy tips to help make your regular grocery shopping more eco-friendly:
1. Bring your own bags
The first step towards a more eco-friendly grocery shop is to BYO bags. Plastic bags have been banned in most Australian states for some time now, but did you know that so-called ‘green’ bags on sale in major supermarkets are actually made with a plastic that can take hundreds of years to decompose?
At Here & After, we’re proud to offer a range of shopping bags that have bona fide sustainability credentials. You’ll find bags that are made from organic cotton and are specifically designed to pack and store fruit, vegetables, and other fresh foods. Our sustainable produce bags are highly durable and are even machine washable, meaning they’ll be your grocery go-to for years to come.
2. Shop the perimeter
It’s probably a slogan you’ve heard before, but ‘shopping the perimeter’ can help you and your family avoid overly processed packaged foods that are typically displayed within the central aisles of a grocery store. Processed foods can have a heavy carbon footprint, whether that’s due to involving imported ingredients, using plastic packaging, or the inclusion of environmentally damaging components such as palm oil.
By sticking to the perimeter of your local grocery store, your shop can concentrate on seasonal fruits and vegetables, responsibly sourced meat and seafood, whole grains, legumes, nuts and other nutrient-rich fresh foods. Eating less meat and opting for plant-based ingredients is also one of the most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact.
3. Understand labeling
Shopping sustainably means knowing what type of practices your money supports. By becoming familiar with food labels, you can look for appropriate certifications and logos that may indicate whether a product is organic, non-GMO, fair trade, safe-catch, Australian made, and so forth. Understanding labels is an important part of making more conscious choices as a consumer. Check out Food Standards Australia New Zealand if you’d like to learn more about product labeling.
4. Avoid food wastage
Every year, Australians waste a whopping 7.3 million tonnes of food! This wastage equates to about 300kg per person, and food accounts for a large volume of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions. By planning our meals in advance, we can each do our part to prevent food wastage. Having a weekly meal plan in mind also takes the guesswork out of writing your grocery list.
It sounds simple, but checking your fridge and pantry to see what ingredients you already have on hand will mean you avoid unnecessary purchases. Buying nuts, oats, legumes and other such ingredients in bulk is another great way to avoid waste and save money. Many local health food stores will even let you bring your own jars and containers from home, for you to shop in bulk your way! Not only will the planet thank you - your wallet will too!
5. Cost isn’t just price
Remember that cost doesn’t only relate to the price you’ll pay at the check-out. If the environmental cost of our groceries were taken into account, what purchases would you feel comfortable making? When comparing brands, it’s worthwhile evaluating factors such as where your product was made and how it was packaged.
For example, choosing boxed pasta made from Australian wheat would be more of an eco-friendly choice, when compared to a plastic packed pasta made abroad. Choose locally produced, seasonal foods wherever possible. While it’s important to strive for progress rather than perfection, our small everyday decisions can really make a positive difference for the planet!
How does your family choose to shop sustainably? Share your thoughts with the community online at Here & After 🌿