Grocery shopping is a part of many families’ weekly routines and there’s plenty of work that goes into properly planning out an efficient and fruitful trip to the grocery store. What some may fail to realize though is that this weekly ritual can put a dent in our environment. Being greener shoppers can help us to reduce the carbon footprint our grocery shopping leaves behind. So, before you set out with your list in hand to your favorite supermarket, consider what you and your family can do to maximize your take home and minimize what you leave behind.

Consider, first, where you choose to do your grocery shopping. If your store of choice is on the opposite side of town or takes a considerable amount of time and fuel to get to, maybe it is time to switch to a grocery closer to home. Reducing the time spent driving, will reduce the amount of fuel you need to make each trip to the market. Shopping local is also a wonderful way to support your local grocer, rather than a more recognizable big box store. Ideally, we would be able to do all of our grocery shopping all in one place, but sometimes that just not the case, depending on selection, availability, and budget. If you do find yourself needing to take more than one stop, plan your route to go to the store furthest away first, then work your way back home. This will save time and fuel, as you’ll avoid backtracking.

You can also plan greener when you are making your grocery list. By selecting stores and items with the least amount of packaging, you’ll be able to reduce extra packaging that you’d end up throwing away. Buying in bulk non-perishable items and some stores may even allow customers to fill their own bulk containers by weight; allowing you to use the containers you want and helping the store to reduce its packaging waste. If you can’t use your own containers, look for items that use recycled packaging over those that use a larger amount of new production materials. Using your own reusable grocery bags is also a way to be a greener grocery shopper and further reduce waste.

Menu planning can also be very important in reducing the amount of energy and resources you use on grocery shopping. Make a weekly or even monthly menu and purchase your groceries accordingly. Stick to the list and menu and you’ll not only save on extra packaging you may not have needed, but you’ll also reduce the amount you will spend. Avoid impulse shopping. A well-planned trip to the grocery store will also make it less likely for you to forget items your household needs, and reduced the number of times you have to drive to and from the store. Create menus that make the most out of the least amount of grocery items. For example, rather than buying boneless, skinless chicken breast, from which you might be able to make two to four meals, buy a whole chicken. Using the whole animal versus select parts will make your menu and diet much more wholesome. From a single whole chicken, and depending on the size of your family, you may be able to get more meals and still have the carcass leftover for a homemade stock. Look for the best deals and sales in order to make the most of your budget and reduce the number of items you may need to purchase.

When using fresh produce, don’t forget to shop for organic. And once you’re finished with the vegetable’s first use, remember that some of the scrapes, like the outer layers of onion, celery tops and tails, and bits of leftover lettuce can also be reserved, frozen, and made into a vegetable stock. If you’re not one for making stocks, consider separating out your food scraps to be composted, rather than just tossing them in the trash.

So the next time you’ve got your grocery list going, think about these many ways you can be a greener shopper. Smart planning and a little thoughtful creativity can go a long way in reducing the waste we leave behind and the energy and natural resources we consume.

loading...