If you have ever strayed into the grocery store on an empty stomach, you may have experienced a devastatingly high grocery bill and more food than you can fit in your refrigerator a time or two. Shopping hungry is never advisable since our hungry selves rarely consider budget, health, or logic when they shop. Besides putting a strain on your waistline and wallet, hungry shopping can also do damage to the planet, since many impulse buy foods come in excessive and wasteful packaging.
Hunger isn’t the only reason for wasteful grocery store practices. Many individuals struggle to shop efficiently, often ending up with more food than they need, unnecessarily bulky/over-packaged items, and spending more than they have to. This problem isn’t entirely the fault of the consumer, either. Grocery stores are made to entice you into buying more than you need, giving more money to the stores, but ultimately wasting valuable resources that could be used more productively.
If you have found yourself wishing you hadn’t bought that extra $20 worth of groceries every time you shop. If you have found yourself throwing away more food than you should. If you have found yourself heading to the recycling or garbage can too often, keep reading.
Wowe Lifestyle is committed to the improvement of daily life for individuals everywhere, and to the conservation of Earth’s natural resources. Food waste is a global concern, with over 1.3 billion tons of consumable food being wasted each and every year. Making up over a third of global food produced, this incredible amount of waste could easily be avoided with a little more care. Food waste could be avoided with improvements to consumer shopping and buying habits, changes to corporate policies, and a plethora of other socio-economic changes, but we cannot get into all of that here.
For now, we want to focus on the things you can do at home to improve how you shop for food. In this guide, we will share a few super simple tricks that can help you live more environmentally friendly, and help you to be more gentle on your wallet.
Bring Reusable Bags
Yes, yes, we know, you’ve all heard it before: bring a reusable bag, but this simple practice still stands as one of the best ways to save on plastic and money at the grocery store. Since the recent bans on plastic bags, more and more cities are imposing a plastic bag tax to incentivize consumers to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store. Though most of us have begun to catch on to the idea of bringing our own grocery bags, few people have taken this to heart and begun bringing their own produce bags.
Produce and bulk product bags are made from plastic, and are just as harmful to the environment as plastic grocery bags are. Rather than wasting more plastic, take your reusable bag habits a step further and buy Reusable Certified Organic Cotton Produce Bags from Wowe! These bags come in solid and mesh varieties, perfect for carrying bulk items like grains and nuts, or for protecting produce like veggies, fruits, and herbs on the trip from the store to your home.
Bringing your own produce bags can also help you save money. Prepackaged items typically cost more, and are made with more wasteful practices than their bulk versions. By buying in bulk, you have control over the amount of the product you buy. Why spend $18 on a bag of walnuts when you need less than a cup? Buying in bulk helps you save money, save the environment, and avoid unnecessary food waste.
Avoid The Middle
The middle of the grocery store is typically where all the pre-packaged goodies are kept, and though these tasty treats can be too tempting to pass up some of the time, resisting these processed items is a good practice if you are trying to save money and the environment. Packaged foods like sugary cereals, chips, canned foods, frozen items, shelf-stable products, candy, etc. are typically packaged excessively in plastic, making them bad for the environment and your health.
Though individually pre-packaged foods may seem inexpensive, buying a few processed treats can wrack up your bill considerably. Rather than venturing into the center aisles, stick to the perimeter of the store. Here you will find produce, fresh products, protein, and healthier minimally packaged items to save you money and health.
As we mentioned, sticking to the outer limits of the grocery store is a great way to save a little money and prevent yourself from buying junk-food, but we want to drive home how much more affordable these options are! If you want to save a few bucks at the grocery store, try to plan for veggie-heavy meals. Vegetables are healthy, filling, inexpensive, and typically not pre-packaged, making them one of the best options for sustainable shoppers looking to save on, well, everything.
Buy Local and Seasonal
If you want to take your efforts to eat more veggies to the next level, try to buy only local and seasonal ingredients. Local and seasonal fruits and veggies are often times less expensive and more environmentally friendly than non-local off-season produce. Off-season produce has to be shipped, stored, and handled in order to remain edible and get to consumers in off-season areas, which can wrack up considerable energy and resource waste.
Between growing, temperature controlling, transporting, and storing off-season fruits and veggies, they may be doing more harm than good. It should also be noted that growers often use high-levels of pesticides when growing off-season produce. Though some produce can be stored during off-seasons for continued sale, others continue to be grown under harsh conditions with the use of pesticides and other environmentally harmful techniques in order to keep up with demand.
Buy Less, Spend Less
Though it can be tempting to go with the old ‘better too much than too little’ adage, in reality, it is better to practice frugal and reserved spending habits. Having slightly too little of an ingredient is always better than having too much and being forced to put it to waste. Take the time to learn more about portions, ratios, and how much of an ingredient you actually need. By learning to gauge how much of a product you need, you can avoid the messy business of food waste, and not waste money buying too much of a single product.
Here again, we want to remind you to buy in bulk! Wowe’s produce bags are perfect for this. By buying in bulk, you can get exactly the amount you need without being forced to pay for (or carry) any excess.
Be Mindful of Material
In this modern world, it is nearly impossible to avoid packaged food altogether, which is why we urge you to simply be mindful of material. Though you may not be able to avoid buying packaged or processed food, you should be able to choose products with less wasteful packaging. Paper, cardboard, glass and similar packaging are more environmentally friendly than plastic and are often more readily recyclable.
Not sure what kinds of packaging you should be looking for? Check out our recent article on the kinds of materials you can and cannot recycle.
Say ‘No’ to Receipts
We understand wanting to track finances, but in this day and age, seeing every transaction you have made is as easy as checking an app on your phone. Paper receipts have begun to phase out, but most major stores still offer paper receipts to their customers, and many print them automatically.
If possible, try saying ‘no’ to your grocery clerk next time they ask if you would like a receipt. Paper receipts are wasteful, and often contain BPA and BPS, chemicals that have been linked with certain cancers, hormone receptor disruption, and other health conditions. By electing to not have a receipt, or to instead have one emailed to you, you can save a tree or two at the grocery store.
Have a Snack Before You Shop
Last but not least, we recommend having a small snack before you set foot in a grocery store. Having a snack before you go to the store can help you avoid those pesky impulse buys that cost you more than extra dollars from your wallet. Eating before you shop can help you stay on track, keep a clear mind, and make better decisions when it comes to your purchases.
With all these efforts combined, you should be well on your way to shopping green and saving money. Hunger and food waste are serious problems impacting our world today, but with a little extra effort, you can make a difference. Commit to reducing your environmental impact by exploring ways to reduce waste at the grocery store, and by exploring more ways to live green with Wowe Lifestyle.
Visit the Wowe Lifestyle website today to discover tons of amazing eco-friendly lifestyle products made to make your life easier and the planet greener.