Groceries: My first big leap to Zero-Waste
*This post is part of a collaboration with greenUP box, learn more
about this specific collaboration here*
When you think of zero-waste essentials I’m sure a coffee cup, straws, and a tote bag are all on that list. This month's greenUP box helps give you the tools you need to reduce waste in the most common areas of your life: coffee and groceries (because you really can’t survive without caffeine or food). This box is not only meant to help you go waste-free at the store, it’s also a sort of zero-waste starter kit. But for the purposes of this post, we'll be focusing just on zero-waste grocery shopping.
Over one million plastic bags are used every minute around the world. And since plastic bags are so hard to recycle only one in every 200 are ever recycled (which is honestly a lot more than I would have thought...but still not great)! The convenience of plastic bags has become a huge issue for our world. But why are we so dependent on plastic bags? The truth is, we didn’t even have plastic bags until 1979...so what did we do before them? It’s simple really, just bring your own bags. Frida Kahlo probably used her own bag when she went shopping, so you should too.
As an average person shops, they’ll probably use five or six small plastic bags for produce and then another two or three bags as they check out. That’s nine bags per trip to the grocery store! And on top of that, these bags are only going to be used for maybe 30 minutes before they get thrown away.
Reusable bags are seriously such an easy switch. I would suggest even buying a few, this way you can keep some back up ones in your car for those last minute grocery trips. I have two small tote bags that I keep in my apartment for when I walk to the store, and now I am going to keep my bag from greenUp box in my car (since it’s on the larger side)!
I have found that tote bags are easier to bring myself to buy since I use them for more than just groceries. However, I have yet to invest in some produce bags. Every single time I go to the store I lecture myself for not yet buying those produce bags, and then I promise myself I’ll do it when I get home. But have I done it yet? Nope.
That’s why I am so glad greenUP box has come into my life, I mean, I’m not sure I ever would have bought produce bags on my own! But now I finally have some and I am so stoked! Considering the amount of vegetables I eat, I use way more plastic produce bags than I would like to admit (and that’s with still trying to avoid them as often as possible). Fruits and vegetables are one of the easiest things to buy with no waste, and these produce bags make it so much easier!
But what if you’re trying to buy other foods without packaging? The answer, my friend, is mason jars. Now, I’ve never done this before (yet another thing I keep telling myself I’ll do but I always forget) so I’m going to try this out along with you.
The process really isn’t too hard, I would say the hardest part is, of course, remembering to bring your jars with you. The first step to this process is one you hopefully only have to do once: tarre your jars. You can weigh them on a kitchen scale at home and write the weight in permanent marker on the lid so you don’t have to remember. When you go to the store all you have to do is fill your jars and write the item number in the lid (I did this with a chalk marker since it will rub off for the next time, you can also keep track of them on a piece of paper or on your phone), then the cashier can weigh your jar and subtract the weight of your jar to determine how much it will cost.
This is way more simple than I would have thought it would be, honestly. It just takes time to weigh your jars initially, the rest of the process is just the same as if you were to use a plastic bag to buy something in the bulk section.
Shopping zero waste is seriously so much easier than I would have thought, all it takes is a bit more planning, but after a few weeks of consistently remembering to bring all your bags and jars it will start to become a habit!