Shopping “Green”

I’m just an ordinary person trying to do the best I can. I make choices on what I buy according to what I think is best for the planet and my family. Trying to make a small amount of negative impact isn’t always easy, but I believe it is worth it. It’s definitely not doing anyone any harm, so why not do our best? Here are some tips on how I shop and things to buy/not buy.

#1. Leave the car at home if you drive. Scary thought? Sure, if you’ve never had to go shopping without one. But think, how far is the grocery store from your house? If you’re like most people, it’s probably not that far and you’d be able to either walk or bus there. Just by not taking your vehicle your carbon footprint is considerably greener already!

#2. If you’re thinking that you won’t be able to carry all of your purchases home with you without your car, you are wrong! Part of society’s problem today is living in excess. Time to get back to basics and take only what you need. Also, when you’re eating a more whole foods, fresh produce diet you will be going shopping more frequently so can do smaller trips. Once I stopped buying meat and most processed foods that belong in the cupboards and freezer and started to make my own things from scratch, I started to lose weight, felt better and again, carbon footprint totally minimalized!

#3. If you don’t have a small child in a stroller (I love having one because my stroller is my shopping cart), bring a backpack with you and a rolling suitcase or metal collasable cart. You should be able to carry about 100$ worth of groceries home without much trouble at all. Also, never forget your re-useable bags and containers! You can avoid plastic so easily by bringing your own bulk bin bags, bread bags, cheese containers, etc. Don’t ever leave the house thinking that you don’t need them. Pretend it’s your phone, since that is what most people seem to be attached to, and you’ll be fine šŸ˜›

#4. Besides the “whole foods/organic isle”, if your grocery store has one, stick to the outer rim of your store. That’s usually where the most fresh foods will be. If you need to buy dried/frozen/canned goods, try to find BPA free cans but better yet, buy as much as you can in glass jars and cardboard boxes. Keep in mind that lots of things that come in boxes still have a non-recyclable plastic bag inside. I find that by shaking a box, I can usually tell. Things I have found with no bags insideĀ have been: noodles, baking ingredients like soda/powder, flour, salt, sugar, as well as beans and some kinds of crackers/cereals.

#5. Try going right to the deli for your cheeses, meat alternatives, etc. Bring your own container and they can print off the label of whatever youĀ are getting and give it to you for the checkout. You can also do the same with fabric bags and the bakery section. Some bakery areas have bulk bins as well. Keep an eye out for those as they are another great way to avoid plastic, pre-packaged breads. I’m sure a lot of you are thinking “my bread won’t keep if it’s not sealed in plastic”. Again, you are wrong. I keep my bread products in the freezer, either in just a closed fabric bag or a paper bag, or both, and it’s always fine once I defrost it!

#6. Read labels. Re-read them and then read them again! I can’t stress this enough. If it has more than 10 ingredients and you don’t know what half of them are, it’s probably bad for you. If you are buying something that has tomatoes in it, do NOT buy it in a can. Only buy them in glass as the acids from the tomatoes make the BPAs in the lining of the can leech out into your food. Avoid “diet” items as the fake sugars are much worse for you than the real ones. Avoid artificial flavors and colours… you don’t even want to know what’s in those!! Also, avoid MSG and Palm Oil. You’ll be doing the planet and yourself a huge favor by not supporting products that have those ingredients in them.

#7. Think to yourself always, do I need this, is it good for me and the planet, can the package be recycled? If the answer is YES to all of them, it’s probably ok. Mindless consumerism is completely what is wrong with the world. People need to remember that every time they spend money on a product, they are voting for what kind of world they want. Vote wisely!

#8. Ask yourself: Can I make this at home? Could I find this used at a thrift store or online? If the answer is YES then DON’T BUY IT! Remember that you have a computer at your disposal and can look up natural recipes for almost any beauty, healing or cleaning product. Making things yourself is totally eco-friendly as it saves on packaging, emissions and chemicals. Also, if you have to buy something that is not grocery related, you can most likely find it used. Buying used before new is EXTREMELY important in living green. Check out facebook for buy/sell pages locally as well as craigslist/kijiji and ebay!

OK that’s enough for today šŸ™‚ I hope some of the info is useful and if you have anything to add, please do! Suggestions and questions are always welcomed.

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