Did you know 43% of food waste occurs right at home? By being a savvy shopper, you can reduce waste and save the earth before you even bring groceries or other products home.
In 2018, over 292 million tons of waste was thrown into landfills with food, plastics, glass, and paper equating to over 61% of the total waste tossed. These are items that can easily be reduced from landfills by simply being more aware of what you’re buying.
Here are 7 easy shopping tips to help you be a more savvy and sustainable shopper!
1. Buy the "Ugly" Produce
Did you know that “ugly” fruits and vegetables aren’t actually worse quality compared to their “prettier” counterparts? Most fruits and vegetables have color additives to look more appealing to consumers, but these bright and colorful foods don’t have enhanced flavor, nor are they of worse quality compared to the bright colored ones!
So when you’re out shopping, give those imperfect fruits and veggies a chance. Maybe consider throwing it into a stew or soup, like this recipe! As long as they don't look or smell spoiled or rotten, consider buying the not-so-pretty foods and help reduce landfill waste.
2. Purchase Sustainable Packaging
When shopping for groceries, choose items packaged in reusable, resealable, or recyclable packaging! By being conscientious about purchasing foods with non eco-friendly packaging, you’re helping take a stand against plastics and the harmful effects they have on our planet and bodies.
For example, spaghetti sauce and other types of sauces come in various types of packaging. By purchasing brands that put their products in glass jars instead of plastic, you can reduce plastic waste from landfills.
According to the EPA, in 2018 alone plastic put into landfills totaled 27 million tons, which is almost 25% of all waste in municipal solid waste.
Glass jars can also be reused and repurposed as mason jars for drinking glasses or creative projects at home!
3. Fill up those re-usable bottles!
It’s so easy to go to the gas station or grocery store and purchase water bottles in plastic bottles, but this ease of convenience for humans becomes life or death for sea animals and creatures across the globe. According to the The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), over 1,000,000 marine animals, including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds, are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. And according to the Sea Turtle conservatory, it is estimated that there are 100,000,000 tons of plastic in oceans around the globe, and it is expected that another 60 billion pounds will be produced this year alone with the rate that plastic is disposed of in the oceans.
Instead of using plastic water bottles, consider investing in a filtration system, like Brita or Pur, and using refillable water bottles that you can purchase right here on Amazon! If you fill up several water bottles and throw them in your fridge, you can take them on the go and have water on hand without harming the planet.
This simple switch from plastic to glass or aluminum can reduce waste, save money, and save lives. Just because it might be more convenient to buy single-use plastics, the short amount of time saved for you will negatively impact the earth for a long time.
4. Being clean doesn't require plastic
When you’re shopping for body wash and hand soap, be aware of the packaging you're purchasing. If you religiously buy liquid body or hand soap in plastic bottles, consider swapping to bar soap instead to reduce waste.
If you can’t commit to bar soaps or have allergies to certain ingredients, buy liquid soap in bulk and refill hand soap containers instead of buying new soap dispensers every time you run out.
5. Paper or plastic? how about neither.
When going grocery shopping, bring your own reusable shopping bags or cardboard boxes to transfer food from the store to your cabinets! This helps save on plastic bag waste which ends up in landfills and in the oceans.
In times when you forget your reusable bags, you can use your leftover plastic bags as garbage bags in small trash containers or use them as a trash bag in your car instead of throwing your on-the-go garbage in the backseat or the floor.
6. Save money at retailers while being sustainable
Did you know that you can get discounts when bringing reusable coffee cups to certain coffee retailers? For example, at Starbucks, if you bring in a reusable Starbucks coffee cup you’ll receive a $0.10 discount on your drink and earn 25 stars through the Starbucks Reward program to be used for discounts on future purchases! Pretty cool, right?!
Local coffee shops often offer discounts if you bring in your own washed and cleaned coffee cups. Next time you get your morning coffee, bring in your own coffee cup and ask the barista if there are any discounts for bringing in your own clean mug!
7. Invest in quality the first time you buy
When shopping and looking to purchase items you will be frequently using - whether it be clothes, electronics, decorations, shoes, or other utility items - consider spending more money initially for a better quality product. For example, phone chargers can be bought for cheap, but if you would have bought one at a higher price it may have lasted longer due to more durable materials.
Buying cheaply made items tends to be easier on your bank account, but when it becomes time to repurchase those items or they are breaking repeatedly, it may be smarter to invest more money into products to ensure more longevity of the product.
Want to find out more ways to reduce food waste and be sustainable? Check out our Take Action page and other blogs like 8 Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Reusing Food Waste, Scraps, and Leftovers.