Shopping waste free (almost completely) for your weekly groceries isn’t as hard as it sounds – there is a few items that we haven’t figured out how to avoid plastic waste but only a few! There is a few small tips that really help make it a smooth and seamless process. We’ve put together a little step-by-step process here if you are really eager to make waste-free shopping your reality. It’s not for everyone we know, but for those who do a weekly, or a couple of shops per week this method works great – and you’ll always have what you need in an organised and efficient manner.
Basically, the lack of success to shop waste-free is often caused by “I forgot my bag”, “I forgot what I needed”,” I didn’t know I was doing the shopping” or “my dog needs a hip replacement” – actually the last one not so often – but in essence it all comes down to a system of organisation. So we thought we’d put together a few tips from some of our inhouse specialists who make shopping waste free look like a walk on Wategoes Beach.
What you’ll need:
1. A sturdy reliable and large shopping basket, bag or box that lives either next to your kitchen fridge or at your front door.
2. Herbs, spices, grains in labelled jars that remain for the product inside only.
3. Some reusable produce bags (5 or 6 will do) – cotton is best, hemp works, plastic works but we’d recommend the others first.
4. Cut up pieces of paper and a pen that sit on the top of your fridge and one piece is stuck onto you fridge stuck there with a magnet.
• For wet goods, dairy, f&v, home care & personal care products write items on your list.
• For everything else i.e grains, spices, nuts etc your shopping basket/box/bag becomes your extended shopping list. You know what you need by seeing what jars are in there. So to make this happen, basically whenever you need a refill simply place the labelled jar in the bag/box/basket. When you visit the store for the first time you’ll write the weight of the jar on the bottom (using permanent marker) and then fill the jar. You’ll only pay for the ingredients and when you return you won’t need to weigh it again.
• A mug of some sort so you don’t need to use a disposable cup for your cheeky shopping cuppa!
When you go to do your shopping:
• Grab your list and grab your bags/basket/box – it will have everything you need in there as per list above.
When you are at the shop:
• For fruit and vege’s just put them straight into the box or bag – don’t use individual bags – it is wasteful. For loose greens, grapes, beans and other small items use one of your produce bags.
• Dry goods, simply fill up the jars that are in your basket/box/bag.
• There are a few products that can be hard to obtain waste-free but if those few are the only ones you buy with a waste element you will be seriously reducing your plastic/waste footprint. Usually dairy is pretty hard, but most yoguhrt and milk containers are recyclable, cold liquids are also quite a challenge but we are looking into cold room bulk items in the future and maybe there will be some great solutions out there.
When you get home:
• Remove the produce from the produce bags and return it to your shopping bag/box/basket. Every once in a while or when necessary give them a wash.
• Place f&v in fruit bowl or cooler as necessary. For greens, have a storage container in your fridge that is specifically for greens and half used pieces of vege’s that you will use first. This storage container remains as your bits and pieces container that you go to first always.
• Place your now full jars back on your shelf.
• Place your basket/bag/box back next to the fridge or next to the door ready to go again and you’ll have your system down pat.
Hope you enjoyed the tips here everyone – share this article with others if you feel they might benefit from it too. Together we can reduce our waste and treat this beautiful earth with the respect and love it deserves.