Create a Grocery Shopping Kit to Reduce Plastic Waste

When we go to the grocery store there are lots of items to choose from however, we don’t ususally get a choice in how these products are packaged.  Tons of products come with some type of plastic packaging.  Plastic has become our main form of preserving food ad keeping it from leaking.

But how long do you really need to preserve the food? Months? Weeks? No, probably just one week before it’s eaten and you go back to the store to buy more.  Let’s reduce the amount of plastic you’re collecting by creating a Grocery Shopping Kit to keep in your car. 

Here are the 3 main culprits of single use plastics at the grocery store

  1. The produce section
  2. The bulk bin section including pastry & bread
  3. The check-out/bagger area

 

Here is my grocery shopping kit. 
A basket with paper lunch sacs, a glass jar and two reusable bags laying in grass

Produce Section: Eliminate plastic produce bags

Using plastic bags to keep your produce clean is only wasting more plastic.  Bring reusable, washable produce bags.  Like these.

Another option is to put the produce in a reusable basket that sits in your cart.  Here is the one I use.  

Reusable fabric basket full of produce sitting the the conveyor belt of a check out stand.

Finally, you can just put the produce in the shopping cart or basket.  I rinse my produce with vinegar and water (1 part vinegar:3 parts water) to remove some types of bacteria and fungi that might have hitched a ride.

Bulk Bins (Bread, pastry and general bulk bins): Reuse the bag or bring your own

I know it’s always easier to use the provided plastic bags but it’s just another way using plastic can be easily reduced.  Try reusing the plastic bag from last week.  Bulk bin items are for the most part dry except for raisins and other dried fruit.  Dry goods are unlikely to grow things so reuse it a couple of times before tossing the plastic bag.

Bring your own washable and reusable bulk bin bags.  If you always buy the same items you can make a permanent label with the SKU number for the cashier to ring up or get a grease pen or pencil to write on the tag and erase it later.

I sometimes forget to bring my reusable bags or run out of the paper sacs I use for the bulk bins and in a pinch the stores will have small paper bags at the front.  I take a couple of those small paper bags at the front and use those instead of the plastic.  Otherwise you can bring your own small paper lunch sacs and use those instead of the other options listed.  Just remember to recycle or reuse those paper bags too.

Check-out: Bring your own grocery bags

The most popular (shouted from the rooftops) saying…Bring your own bags to carry all those groceries home.  You know all those free reusable bags with company logos on them that are stashed somewhere in your home.  Go get those and toss them in the car. This way you’ll always have some available. 

But…if you forget the reusable grocery bags in your car and don’t feel like making the trek out to the car with 3 kids in tow and a cart full of groceries, simply ask for paper bags when you check out.  I have so many more uses for paper bags than plastic bags.  So ask for what you will reuse.

How do you reduce plastic while grocery shopping? 

Create your own Grocery Shopping Kit and you’re on your way to reducing plastic each and every day!

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