It seems like everyday a new zero waste grocery store or refillery is opening up–but nowhere near you. You may be feeling left out, watching people post photos on social media about their zero waste lifestyle. With their colour-coordinated mason jars of lentils and their bamboo everything, they make you feel like a lazy couch potato.
You want a piece of the eco-pie too, but all you have access to is the big chain supermarket. With rows of packaged processed foods and harsh cleaning products, they’re not exactly the image of sustainable living. Zero waste grocery shopping must only be for city dwellers, right?
Wrong! No matter how corporate your big-box store, zero waste grocery shopping is possible, if you have the right mindset. It starts with turning off your inner perfectionist. Why is it called “zero waste grocery shopping”?
You may be skeptical about the term “zero waste.” Waste is inevitable, and sometimes you’ll have no choice but to buy packaged goods. It’s virtually impossible to eliminate your waste if you live in North America. Instead of thinking of zero waste as an outcome, think of it as a journey. You’re on a journey to reduce your waste, with “zero” as your ideal. And, like most journeys, they should be enjoyed at every stage. Don’t try to adopt too many changes all at once. If you do, you’ll surely become discouraged and give up. Instead, take it in baby steps, and have fun with it!
Here are 7 tips for zero waste grocery shopping at supermarkets.
Reducing food waste won’t just save the planet–it’ll save your bank account!
Progress, not perfection.
Remember, some items will be impossible to get plastic-free. Lots of fruits, meats and vegetables will be wrapped in plastic or packed in styrofoam trays. The important thing is that you take imperfect action and begin your sustainability journey. Zero waste grocery shopping has other unexpected benefits, too. Because of its emphasis on simple bulk ingredients, you’ll introduce more whole foods into your life. Plus, you’ll save money and trash bin space. Look at you, zero hero!
written by Leslie Armstrong, an energetic and engaging, Toronto-based sustainability copywriter; Leslie Armstrong Copywriting