I don’t know what’s normal for most moms, but I go to the grocery store at least once a week. Whether it’s just to pick up a few things like milk, fruit and bread, or do shopping for an entire month, I find myself at the grocery store way more often than I’d like. You’d think I was the mother of sextuplets the way my husband and children eat! (Yeah, I’m guilty too, but let’s be honest- moms usually get the scraps of what’s left on the table after a meal.)
If we’re going to spend so much time grocery shopping, we can at least try to make the experience an eco-friendly one. It’s really not that difficult, and in the end, it helps us all. Here are just a few ways to make your next grocery shopping trip a little greener!
1. Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Instead of letting the grocery store pack up your food in plastic bags, bring your own reusable ones. (I’ve got to get myself a stash too!) You can get them for around $1.00 a piece, and you probably don’t need more than 10. Since you can use them over and over, that’s a great investment! More and more people are seeing the benefits of reusable shopping bags, and most grocery stores sell them for this very reason (and if you live in California, they no longer offer bags for free anyways!). When you check out, just let the grocery bagger know that you have bags to use, and you can take your groceries home in a way that is better for the environment.
2. Recycle Plastic Bags
When I get home from a grocery shopping trip, I always have a huge pile of plastic bags that ends up in my pantry. Once the pile has reached epic proportions, I usually take it to the grocery store and recycle the pile in the plastic bag recycling can. Many grocery stores have places to recycle your plastic bags, but if yours doesn’t, you can check with your nearest recycling center to see if you can take them there. If you haven’t started using reusable bags yet, it’s great to at least lessen the amount of plastic that fills up our landfills.
3. Don’t Bag All Of Your Items
A few times when I’ve been checking out at the grocery store, the cashier has asked me if I want my milk in a bag. I always thought this was common practice, but I realize now that some items don’t really need to be bagged. Milk, laundry detergent and other items that are easy to tote can easily forego being put in bags. This helps cut down on plastic waste and truly is unnecessary.
4. Use Digital Coupons
I’m all about coupons. I’m not an extreme couponer by any means, but I’m not afraid to pull out my coupons and lower my grocery bill. My local store sends me coupons in the mail, and I rip out the ones that I’ll use. But I also take advantage of the phone app for my grocery store, which lets me add digital coupons to my shopper’s card. Most grocery stores have similar apps or websites, and if your store doesn’t, you can often find digital coupons online. Not only do digital coupons help reduce paper waste, they also make the shopping experience easier. You don’t have to worry about carrying your coupon book around and can easily view coupons on your phone.
5. Buy Multi-Purpose Products
Not every product has this option, but for the ones that do, I say go for it. Some lunch meats are sold in plastic containers that can double as food storage. I have quite a few containers that came from former lunch meats, and now I use them to pack my children’s lunch sandwiches for school! You can also think of ways to use other types of packaging, like reusing a cereal box for a craft project or using a milk jug to water your plants. Whatever little ways you can find to make use out of products you buy at the grocery store, you’ll be helping our planet, and you’ll save money doing it!