THE ULTIMATE ZERO WASTE GROCERY SHOPPING GUIDE
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
One of the most common questions I get asked is how can I reduce my plastic consumption when everything in my grocery store is wrapped in multiple layers of the nasty plastic? So I decided to write this guide to help you introduce some new zero waste habits.
This ultimate zero-waste grocery shopping guide will teach you how to shop package free in your local store, what to bring and how not to pay extra for bringing your own container. Because the truth is- all you need is a little bit of preparation and few things to be aware of. Please note that whilst there are products designed to make this experience easier- the truth is that a few repurposed jars and reusable shopping bag is probably enough to get you started.
WHERE TO SHOP
If you are lucky enough to have one in your area, then this should be definitely the place to go. Filled with fresh produce and endless choice of plastic-free goodies. Whilst most of these places offer paper bags, I strongly recommend investing in some good quality mesh bags instead. This will ensure that you get rid of that “single-use and throw out” habit. TIP: use mesh bags that have clear tare weight tag (like these) to avoid paying for product packaging.
I’ll recommend this option for anything else that you could not find at the local farmers market. Be prepared to bring your own containers/ bags/ jars/ mesh bags or whatever else would work for you. My tip would be to use a sharpie to write the tare weight on your containers/ jars. This will ensure that the cashier will be able to deduce it when weighting the products- so you don’t pay extra for the packaging. TIP: take the picture of the BIN# number code so there is no need to print the stickers for each product and the cashier will know which exact product you picked.
Unsure where to shop? Check out my free zero waste store finder map to find places to shop in your area.
HOW NOT TO PAY FOR THE PACKAGING
It is always a good practice to be prepared and this will also include making sure all your jars and containers have been previously weighted. You can do it at home, using kitchen scale, and simply writing the tare on the bottom of your jars. It will be used by the cashier to reduce it from the total weight, therefore you end up paying only for what you put inside. No extra costs.
WHAT TO BRING
Whilst there are many products designed to make this experience easier- the truth is that a few repurposed jars and reusable shopping bag is probably enough to get you started. I like to reuse any containers, starting from takeaway boxes to pickle jars. I don’t only use them for bulk shopping but also DIY beauty care and gifts. They are just so handy. What else?
Produce mesh bags- perfect alternative to poly bags. Use it for all my fruits and veggies
Bread bag- no need for anything fancy, simple tea towel will do the job too
Stainless steel container- great for any ready cooked foods as well as deli and all sorts of pastries
Glass jars- perfect for anything from sprout beans to freeze foods and liquids. Manson jars look cool but those old jam jars will do the job too
Silicone bags- a little investment but a real good alternative to glass. It is much lighter and found them to be equally hermetic. Use mine for anything that could leak but is not suitable for mesh bag. The silicone bags I use are from Yuggen (gifted).
The whole process really is this simple! Any questions? Feel free to ask below :)