“Bus or car?”
“Publix or Trader Joe’s?”
“Chicken or beef?”
“Organic or imported?”
“Paper or plastic?” isn’t the only choice at the grocery store. In fact, it’s only the beginning, and like all of the questions above, none of these scenarios are black and white. Thinking outside of the
box bag gives you more options and more opportunities to flex your brain and put those newly learned green-minded skills to use.
Here are some simple tips to save you time, money and plastic at the grocery store:
- Making good choices at the store goes far beyond simply using reusable bags, but they are certainly a great start. Cloth bags hold more than a plastic or paper bag, and using them prevents your would-be disposable bag from entering the waste stream. But if you’re in a pinch, paper is a (slightly) wiser choice than plastic. For an in-depth analysis of that debate, check out this excellent Treehugger piece.
- If you’re only buying one or two things of produce, don’t use a plastic bag. Just rest the item gently in your bag or cart. This was the biggest revelation for me, because most people use a plastic bag even for something as simple as a single apple. Skip that and buy your snack plastic-free!
- However, if you are buying enough produce that it would look silly rolling around in your cart, try paper bags. Some stores have them near the mushrooms, or you can always bring some from home. They can be recycled or thrown into a compost pile when you’re done.
- Whenever you can, buy products in bulk. Bulk products, which include things like nuts, grains and flours, can be purchased as some stores in great quantities. The larger the quantity, the less plastic you use to bring it all home. Pro tip: avoid single-serve anything whenever you can. It’s a complete waste of plastic.
- Try carpooling with friends, or making your grocery run just one stop on your errands. The most economical use of your car or bus trip means less fossil fuels wasted for your trip to stock up on snacks.
- And as always, remember to be on the lookout for The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 and to be seasonal!
Some of these steps can be accomplished by choosing to source your products as locally as possible whether it be at farmers markets or independent grocery stores (hint: Ward’s is a great Gainesville choice!)
Good luck grocery shopping!