Many of the most impactful changes you can make involve tiny tweaks to what you are already doing. It could be as simple as choosing not to bag your veggies, buying in bulk and skipping certain types of plastic. Here are our top hacks to eco-fy your groceries.
1 Plan and then stick to it
Often, planning what you want to eat in advance allows you to shop accordingly. Mindless aisle surfing leads adding more things to your trolley than you really need. Make a shopping list and shop with intent. You'll be amazed at how much you save and how much less you end up wasting!
2 Eat seasonally
There are a few good reasons to shop and eat seasonally, including the fact that seasonal food costs less and is more environmentally conscious because it requires less artificial energy to grow.
3 Shop local
This often goes hand in hand with eating seasonally. Food that comes from across the world often ends up costing more and due to the complex supply chains and long-haul transportation that means lower sustainability. Plus supporting local can also help boost the local economy and small businesses.
4 Keep things unwrapped
Most fruit and veggies need washing before being used, so there is no need to bag them when you buy them or buy ones that are already bagged. Not only will you cut back on pointless plastic but you will end up buying less (i.e. grabbing two tomatoes vs a punnet full in plastic wrapping) and wasting less.
5 Skip the meat aisle
Meat is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting down on your weekly meat consumption will not only have a significant impact on your grocery bill but also on our planet. According to recent studies by the University of Stockholm, the water consumption needed for the production of 1 kg of meat is 15,500 litres, while 1 kg of veggies requires only a 100 litres. Think about that…
6 Check your plastics
This might sound like a tedious task, but checking what type of plastic is used to package the food before you buy it is really important for recycling. Ideally the plastics you do end up spending on should be 1 PETE and 2 HDPE, which are most likely to be recycled in South Africa.
7 Look out for the baddies
Packaged and convenience foods often contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and palm oil, best avoided because of their terrible environmental impact. It'll take a bit of label reading but most processed foods contain one or both. Skip them where possible.
8 Buy in bulk
If you can, buying bulk is a clever way of cutting back on individually wrapped items and saving you some money. Bulk products often have special offers and discounts, plus it saves on trips to the grocery store saving you time.
9 Reusable shopping bags
Lastly and certainly not the least, skipping not only plastic but paper bags too is a very impactful way to help our pollution problem. We know it might take a bit of time to get into the habit of remembering your reusable bags, so pop them in your handbag or car so they are always at hand. The Earth will thank you in the future.