September 21, 2007, Newsletter Issue #65: Being a Green Grocery Shopper

Tip of the Week

Love it or hate it, we all have to eat – and that usually means grocery shopping. While you're browsing the aisles and checking items off your list, though, think about a few ways you can be a “green” grocery shopper and, in turn, reduce your footprint on the environment.

*Avoid individually packaged items. We often have options as the supermarket to buy items that are “conveniently” packaged in individual units to make packing lunches and eating-on-the-go easier. Food such as yogurt, pudding, granola bars, soft drinks, juice, cereal, and snack foods may come in packages of multiple single-serving sizes in addition to larger, “bulk” sizes. Even though the individual sizes do seem more convenient, they also produce more waste with their packaging than the larger sizes. You can buy the larger sizes and then divide up the food at home in reusable containers to avoid the excess garbage.

*Bring your own bags Instead of allowing the bagger to bag your groceries in disposable plastic or paper bags, bring your own bags made of cloth, mesh, or other recycled material to reduce the garbage produced by grocery bags. Some specialty grocery stores even offer incentives in the form of discounts to people who bring their own bags.

*Avoid as much packaging as you can In the produce aisle, do you really need to put your bananas, head of lettuce, or bunch of carrots in a plastic bag? You'll probably end up throwing the bag away anyway, so bypass the plastic in the produce aisle and wait until you get home where you can store the food in a reusable container.

*Buy items in recycled packaging Many items today are packaged in recycled paper or plastic, which is labeled on the bag or box. Look for items that are labeled as such, and that have a high percentage of recycled content in their packaging. Also look for items that are packaged in recyclable containers – either ones that you can drop off at a designated point, or ones that you can use yourself at home to reduce your own garbage.

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