We all want to do our part to help save the planet, but demanding jobs and busy social lives can leave us little time to overhaul our lifestyles. Luckily, it doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to make your trips to the grocery store more green — it may even save you money! Here are 8 simple ways to be a more eco-savvy consumer.
1. Shop with reusable bags.
Just one plastic grocery bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and the sacks often wind up floating in our oceans, putting marine life at risk. More bad news: Research shows paper bags are no friendlier to the environment than plastic ones. A simple way to shop green: BYOB — bring your own bag. Repurpose old grocery bags you have lying around and shop with chic reusable totes. Want to team up with brands that promote reusable bags? Check out www.JoinGreenLight.com!
2. Buy in bulk.
Not only are bulk products usually cheaper, they also require less packaging. Bonus: Food will look even more beautiful when stored in sustainable mason jars and porcelain canisters on your kitchen countertop.
3. Leave your car at home.
Biking, walking, or taking public transportation to your local market reduces your carbon footprint, helps you save on gas money and is great for your body. What’s not to love?
4. Plan out your meals for the week.
Whether you’re cooking for one person or a family of four, planning ahead is a must. Mapping out meals ensures you won’t resort to ordering unhealthy takeout on days when life gets too hectic. Plus, knowing exactly what you need at the store will help you avoid wasting food and your money.
5. Ditch paper.
Who wants to clip coupons or keep track of hand-written notes? Type your grocery lists and download coupons directly to your smartphone for hassle-free shopping. When offered paper receipts, politely decline or have them emailed to you instead.
6. Practice kindness.
Treat everyone you see at the grocery store with kindness. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is part of sustainability — plus, you may inspire others to go green too!
7. Buy in-season produce.
For a truly sustainable table, buy fruits and vegetables that are in peak season where you live. The produce is more likely to be fresh and grown closer to the store, which means it had to travel a shorter distance to your plate, reducing your carbon footprint. Tired of eating the same thing all the time? Shopping in-season can also inspire you to experiment with new foods and recipes.
8. Bring your recyclables.
Stores often provide a convenient place to recycle your glass, aluminum and plastic. Check Earth911’s recycling directory for your best neighborhood options. Bonus: Some locations even give money for each item you bring!