Waste-free Wednesday: Grocery Shopping

One place that we often see a lot of unnecessary waste is when we are grocery shopping! This has been a topic for a long time and there are many easy steps you can take to reduce your waste at the grocery store, from how you buy to what you buy.

  • Use reusable shopping bags and sturdy bins. This one is one of the easiest steps to follow, but make sure to always bring several large tote bags or bins with you. If you ever forget your totes, ask one of the store workers if there are any cardboard boxes lying around, as anything is better than plastic. 
How can you resist using a tote,    especially one like this!!
  • Take advantage of the mushroom paper bags or bring reusable cotton produce bags. You can find reusable cotton bags anywhere online, and be sure to choose multiple sizes.You can try sewing your own, not only is it easy but it can be a good way to repurpose old fabric. If you happen to run out of bags, you can either opt for the paper bags usually located by the mushrooms or simply place the produce loosely in your shopping cart.
  • Reduce the number of things you buy with packaging that can’t be reused or recycled. This includes packaging made of out glass, metal, or paper over plastic. And if you are looking for a way to eat healthier, this tip will make it much easier.
  • Bring jars or any sort of clean reusable container to the store. These are especially handy for foods that need to be weighed. Get an employee to weigh the jar before you fill it up. Not only can they be used for dry bulk foods, but also wet foods like olives, cheese, deli etc.
Use jars of various sizes, to fill with different types of foods. Big ones for staples like rice, flour. Smaller ones for snack or seeds.
  • Buy dried goods in bulk. You can either visit your local grocery store or take a trip to a bulk foods store and stalk up on some dry goods. This includes things like rice, beans, oats, nuts, flour, snacks, even dog treats. (I mean who doesn’t love endless bins of snacks 😍)
  • Find local and fresh foods. This can be done by visiting your local farmers market or better yet, buy directly from a local farmer. Smaller grocery shops are usually more flexible than chain stores.  If you are in Ontario, think about becoming part of a CSA farm. Farmers will bring their produce directly to you.
  • Limit processed foods, learn to cook and bake. This tip may go along with #3, but learning to cook/bake will force you to use less packaged, and more fresh produce! Yay!
  • Bike, walk, take the bus and plan your shopping trips. If you are like me, grocery shopping may actually be a fun activity for you (I know I’m lame). Make it a fun weekly trip with your friends or family. You can carpool, bike or just go on a adventurous walk together to the store. Also plan your trips depending on what you need to buy weekly/monthly. Weekly would be fresh produce, bread, etc and monthly includes bulk and frozen foods.
Find some amazing eco shopping totes on this website.. http://www.ecobags.com/
Your jars definitely don’t need to be decorated, but these just model well 😉


Place these delicious local veggies…
…into here


If you want to go a little bit farther towards zero waste, here are a few links to some cool blog posts with some great information!



Check out amazon, lifewithoutplastic or even just google to find some cotton produce bags or jars online. You can always reuse old marinara, salsa or jam jars. As for cotton bags, cotton pillow cases are easily repurposed with a little sewing.

If you are from Ontario, check out this link. You’ll be able to find a farmers market near you!


Life can get busy and you may forget your tote bag one day, or just be really craving a bag of chips. Go for it! Its not about being perfect, its about doing the most you can, with what you have. A small change is better than no change at all!

Just know that with a little planning, anyone can reduce their waste. (Trust me, it gets kinda fun!)  Good Luck and Happy Shopping! 🙂

There is no such thing as away. When you throw something away, it must go somewhere. – Annie Leonard

Love ❤ ,

Ladies of Sustainability



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