Lifestyle

How I Try to Reduce Shopping Waste

Plastic-free July just ended. I don’t do anything special in the month as it feels a bit false for me. No idea why that is…I am an odd duck so it is just me. I do try to live more sustainably but I am not perfect and will not pretend to be.

Today, I am going to talk about my shopping. Zero waste shopping is for me impossible but I do try. When I lived in Texas there were stores where I could get bulk dry foods and vegetables without packaging….this is not the case in the U.K. Here it is more challenging and frustrating. It takes more forethought and planning. It requires more driving which I question the wisdom of doing.

For produce I go to a nearby farm shop. I can get most of my wants for vegetables and fruits there except green leafy vegetables. I have to go to a regular store for those and that always means plastics. The farm shop provides my potatoes by way of a 25kg sack once every month or two along with cruciferous veg, salad veg, onions and fresh fruit. Most all of that is completely unpackaged and I carry it home in two boxes that the shop provided for me that I have been reusing for a year now.

Usually between the farm shop and other grocery stores I visit My Refill Market. There I can get dry goods like flours, pasta, rice, spices, nuts, beans and lentils. I can get soaps and other hygiene items; cleaning liquids and even masks. I have to take jars for the flours but the rest of the dry goods I can just use my reuseable produce bags. I haven’t gotten any of the cleaning products yet but I can have her refill my old, clean bottles or get the amber glass bottles she sells. You might be able to tell that I love this store. It is my only bulk buying option in the area but it is quite a drive being on the polar opposite side of town from me. I am not sure that the fuel costs balance out for this but I love shopping there.

For everything else I am at the usual high street grocery stores. Jarred and tinned goods are my first priority; however, many things only come in plastic or difficult to recycle options. A few of my problem items are:

  • Plant milks
  • Bread products
  • Frozen fruit (for smoothies and nice cream)
  • Meat alternatives (not often but I am human)
  • Meat items for the kids
  • Milk for the kids
  • Squash (soft drink in liquid concentrate)
  • Cat food and treats

I need to find ways of making things from scratch or find less packaged alternative. Reducing waste is not an overnight thing. It is not easy but it is worth it. I am not zero waste…it is an impossible feat for almost everyone. I just try to do better. We can all do better.

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