Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. It has been a really chilly few weeks, I can’t believe all of the snow we had a few weeks ago! We had so much fun playing in the snow with our dog, Lady. She loved chasing her ball and trying to find it buried in the snow!
Every month I am talking about a different area of zero waste living. This way, it is cut down into easy chunks to make it easier to make changes in your lifestyle. Lots of little changes add up to make a huge difference.
Today I am talking about sustainable shopping and how to make changes in your buying habits. You might know that I own and run The Little Green Larder, Dundee’s first 100% zero waste shop. One of the main reasons I opened was that I wanted to shop in a shop like this, however there were no options in Dundee. I found myself growing frustrated when trying to find food without plastic.
Here are my top tips for shopping sustainably:
Although initially it can seem a little confusing to shop in a bulk or zero waste shop, I promise it is so easy. All you have to do is bring your containers, bags and jars with you and fill up on loose goods. At The Little Green Larder we have hundreds of products available for you to refill.
Shopping this way means that you have no plastic waste when you come home with your shopping. It is fun, easy to do and helps protect our environment.
Think local first
If you need to buy something new or go shopping then think locally before going to a big supermarket or online to Amazon etc. When you shop locally you won’t create carbon emissions from overseas deliveries and you can often get the products with little or no packaging.
Another great thing about shopping locally is that it supports small independent businesses and puts money back into your local economy. It creates jobs locally and often helps with community organisations and charities.
Take your own bags
I always carry a few reusable bags with me wherever I go so that I don’t need to buy single use ones. In this day and age, I find single use bags so unnecessary. I am sure we all have a pile of them at home. Pop one in your handbag so that you are never caught short.
I love my #TLGL ‘Bee Kind’ tote bag! It is sunshine yellow to bring some light and cheer into your day and has such lovely illustrations on the front by Jacqueline Jade Art. Click here to buy one.
Buy your drinks in cans instead of plastic bottles
If you are out and about and need a drink to go then opt for a drink in a can rather than a takeaway cup or plastic bottle. Cans are really easy to recycle and according to Recycle Now, “Aluminium is the most cost-effective material to recycle, because of the huge energy savings – up to 95%.”
Always make sure you put all of your tins and cans into the correct recycling bin so that we can continue to reuse this amazing resource.
At The Little Green Larder we only sell loose fruit and veg. It never comes in any kind of plastic packaging, because it just goes against what we believe in. Fruit and veg already come with their own natural packaging, their skins and peel. They don’t need plastic. Take along your own produce bags and use them instead. You can click here to order a veg box to click and collect.
If you aren’t near a greengrocer or zero waste shop then you can still get some fruit and veg loose at supermarkets, it is just limited. Before I opened The Little Green Larder I started having to get creative with my cooking as I refused to buy any fruit and veg in that came in plastic. You may not always be able to get the produce you are looking for loose at a supermarket, but you will be able to get some things.
Buy products in glass jars
Avoid buying anything that comes in a plastic container. Yes plastic can be recycled, but if it even gets recycled it won’t be turned back into a container.
If I buy a jar of chutney or sauce, I always keep the jar. These are great for making up individual portions of overnight oats, putting leftover sauces into, or for when you make jam. Any jars that you don’t use can be recycled.
Buy canned products
Our points about canned food are the same as a can of juice. Cans are really easy and eco friendly to recycle and can be made back into another can. Cans also have really long expiration dates, so this can help to eliminate food waste.
Buy only what you need
When doing your food shopping, it can be easy to indulge and overbuy, especially if you are shopping when you are hungry. I find it useful to write a rough meal plan for the week, then I know all the ingredients I will need. That way I stick to my list and don’t end up buying extra food that isn’t needed and may end up getting wasted.
Don’t be tempted by deals and discounts unless it is food that you know you will eat in the next few days. If I see a really good deal on discounted fruit and veg I tend to batch cook with it and freeze it.
I hope that this blog post has made you think a little bit about how sustainable your shopping basket is, and inspires you to make some changes. It isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making changes that add up and have a bigger impact.
Jillian, The Little Green Blogger