Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

by Jocelynn Anderson – MFC Owner & Owner of Well Earth Goods

Grocery hauls are frequently loaded with packaging, plastic, and waste. Learning to avoid this unnecessary trash is an important component of the zero waste lifestyle and helps protect your health and the beautiful planet we live on!

With the right items and mindset, reducing waste when grocery shopping can be a breeze! Here are a few tips to help get you started.

  1. Bring your own cotton produce bags and use them instead of the plastic ones offered in the produce department! You can make your own, repurpose bags from around the house, or purchase bags from a zero waste store, such as WellEarthGoods.com. Purchased bags have the tare weight (weight of the bag) written right on the tag, and it will be subtracted from the total weight so you don’t end up paying for the weight of the bag.

  2. Shop in bulk. Buy everything you can from the bulk section rather than it’s plastic packaged counterpart. (I’m talking about your pasta, rice, flours, granola, and nuts).

  3. Use your produce bags for bulk items. Your produce bags can be filled with oats, grains, pasta, chocolate chips, spices, etc. The tare weight works the same for bulk items with one extra step: You will need let your cashier know the four-digit code for the bulk items. You can do this by taking a picture of the code, adding it to your notes app on your phone, or writing it down with a pen and paper to help your cashier at checkout time! When you get home, transfer your goods to glass jars for storage.

  4. Bring your own jars. Your jars can be filled with any bulk items including liquids. The Co-op carries many wonderful liquids in bulk such as maple syrup, honey, olive oil, and more. To obtain the tare weight of the jar, the Co-op provides a scale in the bulk section. You can use a wax crayon, dry erase marker, or a sticker to write the tare weight and product code on the lid of your jar.

  5. If you forget your bags, try not using a produce bag at all. You can give your veggies a good wash when they get home! If a bag is really essential for something loose and small, use a paper bag provided for mushrooms. It can be thrown in your compost pile and will biodegrade.

  6. Make foods from scratch. Some foods only come packaged, BUT, you can avoid the plastic by making your own with ingredients from the bulk section! Make your own vegan cheese, popcorn, cookies, nutmilks, hummus, crackers, cooked beans, broth, etc.

  7. Purchase beverages in glass bottles. The Co-op carries glass bottles of water for guzzling on the go! If you drink kombucha, get a growler and use it for refills from their station.

  8. Bring baskets or reusable grocery totes made out of natural fibers. These bags can be used over and over, but at the end of their life they will biodegrade.

  9. Buy fresh produce and freeze it at home rather than buying frozen fruits and veggies in plastic bags.

These tips will all but eliminate unnecessary plastic and waste from your grocery shopping! We LOVE the Co-op because they make it easy! They provide a wide variety of bulk items, scales for customer access, and their cashiers are always prepped and ready to help with tare weights to make sure you don’t overpay for your groceries! Happy Shopping!