Decrease Your Plastic Packaging Consumption At The Grocery Store

Have you ever noticed that when you go to the grocery store, you can't walk out of there with a week's worth of food unless you buy a big pile of plastic along with it? Plastic pollution is a huge problem for the Earth, and grocery shopping doesn't help.

If you want to engage in the sustainability for life movement, thoughtfully reducing your plastic consumption can be a big way to reduce your impact on the Earth. Here are a few ways to get started with this goal on your next grocery trip.

Look for Compostable Packaging

Finding recyclable plastic and then recycling it may sound like a way around the plastic issue, but only a small fraction of plastic sent for recycling actually ends up being used again. However, if you choose compostable packaging, you can ensure that the materials get composted right there at your home, either in an outdoor compost pile or a countertop composter.

Look for Ways to Use Plastic Multiple Times

Some zero-waste advocates come up with creative plastic reuse solutions such as lining a wastebasket with a plastic bag previously used to package food. Since compostable trash bags likely don't biodegrade well in a landfill anyway, why go to the expense of buying them? Look for food that's packaged in bags you can reuse again as a trash bag or in some other way.

Bring Reusable Shopping Bags

You don't have to buy all new reusable bags to avoid getting more plastic ones. The thin plastic bags you got from your last shopping trip may still be in working order. You could bring these bags back to use them for your next batch of groceries. Or, use reusable bags you have around the house, such as a cooler bag, spare totes, or drawstring bags.

Don't forget to bring small bags along to use in place of produce bags. If you don't have any suitable mesh bags, no need to buy more; you can simply use a wrap or scarf and style it into a bag, with no sewing needed.

Look for Alternatives to Highly Packaged Items

In the produce section, you may be able to find loose vegetables that you can substitute for the ones in little bags. In other areas of the store, avoid individually packaged items and choose bulk items if possible (assuming you'll be able to finish the food before it goes bad), since bulk packaged items tend to have smaller amounts of plastic packaging.

These tips will help you think more critically about the plastic packaging you're bringing home from the store and what you're going to do with it once it gets to your house.