Things to Consider at the Grocery Store – Being Environmentally Aware
You might have already heard that Sobey’s is eliminating the use of plastic bags from all stores by 2020. When we heard this, we literally jumped for joy at the thought of a large corporation changing the way we shop and paving the way for other corporations to follow suit and start a plastic bag free shopping experience.
Can you even imagine a life without plastic bags? We can, and this is how we are getting a kick start to many other ways in which we can be environmentally aware at the grocery store.
Here are 10 tips to being eco-friendly at the grocery store, and saving the planet while doing so.
1. Reusable bag/bin
Starting with the obvious, bringing your own reusable bags or bins. Have you ever been in the checkout line and the cashier asks you “Do you need bags?”… how good does it feel to say, “No thanks, I brought my own”. That feeling of satisfaction knowing that you made a small difference, that will make a big impact (and save you some money too).
2. Reusable produce bags
Eliminating plastic grocery bags are one thing, but have you ever looked inside your reusable grocery bag full of groceries to see a bunch of plastic produce bags? On average a person might use up to five plastic produce bags in one shopping trip. This can be avoided by bringing your own mesh produce bags to avoid using one-use plastic bags (that will probably end up ripping or getting a hole before you even get home).
3. Look for the cardboard berry cartons and avoid the plastic
Something as simple as picking up a carton of berries rather than the plastic clamshells for your berries might seem like a small consideration, however, these plastic clamshells cost cities hundreds of thousands of dollars to recycle. In Calgary, 2,000 tonnes of plastic containers went to a landfill costing them $460,000 over 2 years. Make the conscious decision to avoid the plastic containers at the grocery store, which will, in turn, save your tax dollars from being thrown into a landfill as well.
4. Avoid bread clips
Those tiny little bread clips, as much as they seem to be a small issue, are not. Bread clips are not always recyclable as they are classified as a #6 plastic which is not accepted by some reclying programs. Sometimes bread clips are hard to avoid but they can be reused multiple ties. If you wanted to take another approach, you could also collect them and donate them to purchase a wheelchair. It takes 260,000 bread clips to purchase a wheelchair.
5. Avoid pre-packaged meat, go to deli instead
Meat is often packaged on styrofoam and wrapped in plastic wrap. Both styrofoam and plastic wrap are substances that are not recyclable and must be placed in the garbage. A great alternative is to purchase your meat from the deli which will be wrapped in a recyclable paper.
6. Avoid pre-packaged bread
Usually, in the bakery section of the grocery store, you will see an entire section of bread that is wrapped in plastic bags and a section of freshly made bread that is unpackaged. All that one-use plastic is going into the recycling anyway so it is best to avoid and bring your own bread bag from home to carry your bread and put in a bread box when you get home to keep it fresh for longer.
7. Milk carton vs bags
There are many opinions as to which is is the better option for milk, a carton or bags. Cartons are recyclable whereas milk bags are not. However, some people have found clever ways on how to reuse a milk bag and expand their lifetime longer than just one use. Here is a list of 11 ways in which you can reuse your milk bags.
8. Items like bananas do not need a bag
Fruits and vegetables with thick skin, or skin that you peel off anyway, do not need bags. Their skin is the natural barrier which protects the fruit inside. Bagging these fruits and vegetables is a waste of plastic and can easily be avoided. These produce items include avocados, bananas, oranges, mangos, melons, onions, cabbage and the list goes on.
9. Buy in bulk, less packaging
Buying in bulk not only saves you money but it also saves the amount of packaging. Instead of buying multiple bottles of handsoap, buy a larger bottle and refill as needed into a reusable container. This will reduce the amount of packaging used.
10. Bring your own jars for nuts and bulk items
When purchasing nuts or dried fruits in the bulk aisle, bring your own jars or reusable bags to avoid the plastic ones provided. This will cut down on time as well when you are unpacking groceries as you have one less thing to unpack and you can just put the jar on the shelf.
Once again, here is our list of 10 ways to reduce your impact in the grocery store:
- Reusable bag/bin
- Reusable produce bags
- Look for the cardboard berry cartons and avoid the plastic
- Avoid bread clips
- Avoid pre-packaged meat, go to deli instead
- Avoid pre-packaged bread
- Milk carton vs bags
- Items like bananas do not need a bag
- Buy in bulk, less packaging
- Bring your own jars for nuts and bulk items